Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On Brian Lehrer, HPD Commissioner says FCR's request for additional housing subsidy "was not a good public investment"

Today on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, the host asked Rafael Cestero, who's leaving his post as Commissioner of the Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development (HPD), about the report that HPD had declined Forest City Ratner's recent request for an additional $10 million in additional subsidies--beyond the $14 million for 150 units--for the first residential building.

"One is, we have a set of programs that we use across the city... that fall within certain subsidy parameters that make sense for taxpayers and make sense for the city," Cestero responded. "We felt that the additional subsidy that Forest City was requesting... didn't meet those parameters and, frankly, that we felt was not a good public investment to go beyond what we have already committed."

"We want to see housing built there. We're all deeply committed to seeing not just the arena built, but to see... the affordable housing built," he added, "but we think the parameters that we've laid out, the program that we've laid out, allows that project to go forward."

Clearly, for Forest City Ratner, it doesn't. They want a better deal than other developers.

Modular means recalculation?

Lehrer asked if Ratner's costs would be much less, perhaps cut in half, would the city recalculate and withdraw some public subsidy?

"We would evaluate it at the right time," Cestero responded. "Our subsidy numbers are constantly re-evaluated in any deal we're negotiating, until the deal closes. If costs come down, and we're able to shift resources, then we'll do that... At this point, we don't have specific numbers on Tower 2, in the Forest City plan, to make that determination."

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