Thursday, June 21, 2007

$100 million (?) for Ratner as Assembly passes 421-a bill

The Times, on the City Room blog, reports that the 421-reform bill with the Atlantic Yards carve-out has passed the Assembly.

To the Times, Brad Lander of the Pratt Center for Community Development estimates that the tax break, which could exempt four buildings with condos from including onsite affordable housing. would cost taxpayers $100 million. (The other 12 Atlantic Yards towers would have mixed-income housing.)

That's just an estimate, however, and a closer accounting would be worthwhile. Developer Forest City Ratner saves by not having to provide another 380-plus units of very affordable housing. (The 1930 condos would have to be matched by 20 percent affordable housing.)

Moreover, the state law--though not the carve-out--requires affordable housing at 60 percent of Area Median Income, or AMI, while less than half of the Atlantic Yards affordable housing would meet that qualification.)

There's another benefit for the developer. Condo owners won't have to share their buildings with their poorer brethren. The condo buildings at Atlantic Yards, like other ones under construction (or recently opened) in the Brooklyn "renaissance," are for one-class only. (That should help with pricing, right?) That might seem to be market capitalism, except they all get a tax break too.

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