Skip to main content

In governors' request for federal infrastructure aid, only a hint of (indirect) help for Atlantic Yards

So New York State Gov. David Paterson, along with governors from other large states, has asked the federal government for a total of $1 trillion in emergency aid over two years for all 50 states.

Could any of that be directed to Atlantic Yards? The news coverage wasn't clear, summarizing the request as including $350 billion for infrastructure; $250 billion for anti-poverty programs; and $250 billion in flexible education spending to maintain funding for programs from pre-kindergarten to higher education; and middle-class tax cuts.

Given that the "ready-to-go" projects are the focus, Atlantic Yards could not be directly affected. However, it's possible that a change in rules regarding the Low Income Housing Credit Program could make it easier to fund affordable housing destined for the project.

Apparently the challenge regarding Atlantic Yards will fall on Mayor Mike Bloomberg; Crain's writes in an editorial that "he has to explain how he will keep such crucial projects as the redevelopment of the West Side rail yards, Atlantic Yards and Willets Point on track."

Overall picture

Paterson's letter sketches the outline:
New York State alone has at least 1,922 infrastructure projects, totaling $11.7 billion that can be “ready-to-go” (i.e., federal funds can be obligated within 180 days). Of these “ready-to-go” projects, 481 are traditional infrastructure projects (i.e., transportation and water), totaling $5.0 billion. Using the broad definition of infrastructure that you have proposed, New York has an additional 1,231 “ready-to-go” projects for school modernization, affordable housing, state parks, rural broadband, and health information technology, totaling $5.3 billion. Finally, as I set forth in greater detail the following section, New York has at least 210 energy-related projects and programs totaling $1.4 billion that are “ready to go.” The economic recovery package must provide a flexible source of funds for these latter two broader categories of infrastructure projects.

Transportation details

Regarding transportation, Paterson writes:
After a comprehensive review of statewide transportation priorities, the State of New York has at least 382 projects totaling more than $3.65 billion that can be obligated within 180 days. These projects are all consistent with our Statewide Transportation Plan:

* Highways & Bridges: 334 projects, totaling $1.83 billion
* Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Transit: 33 projects, totaling $1.5 billion
* Non-MTA transit systems: 12 projects, totaling $220 million for bus replacements
* Rail: 2 projects, totaling $41 million
* Aviation: $110 million in Airport Improvement Program (AIP)-eligible projects

New York State has additional “ready-to-go” transportation needs that extend beyond those funded by traditional federal trust fund programs, such as improvements on Amtrak’s Empire Corridor, at the Port of Albany, and in our State Parks system; development of the Farley Post Office as Moynihan Station; and construction of the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) tunnel.


Affordable housing details

Regarding affordable housing, Paterson writes:
New York State has long been a leader in affordable housing policy. Our State has a well-established network of affordable housing developers and community-based organizations which will insure that any additional capital funds are efficiently directed to those neighborhoods and communities that will benefit most from an infusion of capital. New York has 202 “ready-to-go” housing infrastructure projects totaling $193 million.

The NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) has an unfunded capital projects pipeline approaching $639 million, comprised of 52 proposed multi-dwelling construction or rehabilitation projects, offering 2740 units of housing. The pipeline includes 14 projects at an advanced stage of readiness, with a total development cost of $117 million. If funded, these projects would commence construction or rehabilitation within 180 days. These projects would construct, rehabilitate and preserve 603 units of affordable rental housing, provide construction and permanent jobs, and stimulate local economies across New York State.

I also urge you to provide our state housing agencies with much-needed relief on low-income housing tax credit regulations. The Low Income Housing Credit Program (LIHC) is the primary tool for leveraging private investment in affordable housing by helping to match private investment with other state and federal resources. To make the LIHC program more appealing to investors, the economic recovery package could:

* Temporarily reduce the credit period from ten to five years
* Permit “carry-back” of the Housing Credit for up to five years and allow these Housing Credits to be used to offset Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) liability during that period
* Expand Community Reinvestment Act footprints by 25% for two to three years to encourage financial institutions (typically the largest LIHC purchasers) to invest in areas where they do not currently have CRA need
* Waive the “at-risk” rules for Closely Held C Corporations for two to three years so they can fully utilize the LIHC benefits

The Community Development Block Grant program is an effective way to provide funding directly to cities and counties for community and economic development. Our municipalities have “ready-to-go” projects to create jobs and make much needed investments in our communities and we support funding on the federal level to expand this program. The NYS CDBG program provides financing for eligible non-entitlement communities, which are units of local government with populations less than 50,000, and certain counties with populations of less than 200,000. There are 1,272 non-entitlement communities in New York State. Larger entitlement communities in New York receive direct allocations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to administer their own CDBG programs. We fully support a reversal of recent trends by a restoration to full funding levels and we advocate for major increases in both entitlement and non-entitlement CDBG funding as part of the federal economic recovery efforts. There are 108 NYS CDBG-eligible projects, totaling $46.7 million, “ready to go” within 180 days. Communities throughout New York, particularly Upstate, also require funding for economic development projects to attract industry and provide infrastructure and access improvements to industrial sites.

New York also operates an innovative Main Streets grant program that provides funding for building renovations, fa├žades and streetscape improvements and, in limited cases, capital funding for projects to anchor downtown districts. The program provides technical assistance and other resources to support community revitalization efforts, including housing. With $29.2 million in federal funds, New York could proceed to construction within 180 days on eighty projects.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…