Sunday, February 24, 2008

HDC head curiously unconcerned about AY funding availability

From yesterday's New York Post, an article headlined ATLANTIC YARD$TICK FOR POOR HOUSING, in its entirety:
A federal-funding shortfall that could hamper affordable housing projects in the city likely won't affect the Atlantic Yards project, a top official said yesterday.

"Given the scale of the project . . . we're not concerned that the money won't be there," said Marc Jahr, president of the city's Housing Development Corporation.


That's curious.

Less than two weeks ago, Jahr wrote in City Hall News, as I reported Friday:
It is only February, but over $960 million in private activity bonds are required for affordable housing deals in HDC’s 2008 pipeline alone, while New York State overall has a pipeline of more than $6 billion. Unfortunately, however, New York State’s yearly allocation of cap is only around $1.6 billion.


And, as I reported, he earlier this month told the Bond Buyer, "It's a pity to have good affordable housing projects in a city that desperately needs affordable housing for virtually all income levels, to have them sitting at the starting line with their engines idling.”

Simple physics suggests that the scale of Atlantic Yards, which would require $1.4 billion in bonds, should make it harder, not easier to find the funds--even if the scale makes AY "too big to fail."

Until and unless additional volume cap is found, thus allowing the city and state to issue more bonds, a lot of projects are going to be at the starting line.

That's not to say it can't happen, if Congress acts. But it hasn't happened yet. And maybe a project that's supposed to take a decade--and might take two decades--could have its housing bonds doled out in many, many stages.

Still, there's a major shortfall right now. Whatever he told the Post, Jahr can't be unconcerned about Atlantic Yards.

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