Skip to main content

Decoding first Atlantic Yards tower: "affordable" 2-BR rents from $726 to $3,112, murky financing plan, 20K square feet of "arena storage"

The New York City Housing Development Corporation (NYC HDC) has passed along some cursory information regarding plans for the first Atlantic Yards residential tower, aka B2, the 32-story, 363-unit subject of a public hearing tomorrow at 1 pm.

There's no information on the agency web site. I was told I would have to file a Freedom of Information Law request for underlying documents, which will not be available for perusal tomorrow.

However, the agency did send a two-page fact sheet, which bears significant similarity to two previous fact sheets (below) prepared by consultants for Forest City Ratner, but don't necessarily provide useful information to those who may wish to comment publicly tomorrow.

The agency may provide up to $92 million in bonds, part of a financing plan that includes Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HDC Second Mortgage & Developer Equity. But it's not clear what the mix would be.

Here are the highlights:
  • There's no mention if the building will be modular.
  • A subsidized 2-BR unit in the lowest range of affordability should rent for $726,25.
  • A subsidized 2-BR unit in the midrange of affordability should rent for $1,660/mo.
  • A subsidized 2-BR unit in the highest range of affordability should rent for $3,112.50/mo.
  • Of the affordable units, 20% will be 2-BR units, though developer Forest City Ratner's agreement with ACORN pledged 50% (in floor space) devoted to family-size units.
  • The building is heavily weighted to smaller units, perhaps because more transient singles/couples would agree the location trumps living over an arena.
  • The building will offer 20,000 square feet of "arena storage."
Where's the market?

Those least-affordable subsidized units are clearly within the range of market rent. A search on Streeteasy for two-bedroom apartments in Fort Greene and Park Slope showed the median rent at $2,987.

Similarly, a search on Streeteasy for two-bedroom apartments in Fort Greene and Park Slope showed the median rent at $2,450, below the $2,490 rent of the least-affordable subsidized units.

Unit mix

The building would contain approximately 150 studios (41%), 165 1-BR (46%) and 48 2-BR (13%).

If 20% of the 181 affordable units will be 2-BR/2-BA apartments, that means 36 of the 48 2-BR units will be subsidized, with approximately seven units for each of five income "bands," from low-income to middle-income.

In March, Forest City executive Jane Marshall said there'd be 35, an increase from the previous pledge of 20, but still well below the pledge in the Memorandum of Understanding signed with ACORN. The developer's partner is now Mutual Housing Association of New York (MHANY), an ACORN successor.

Tenants will be selected through a City-administered lottery process, according to the fact sheet. Unmentioned, but previously pledged, is that residents of the three adjoining community districts will get a preference.


As in previous announcements, the building will offer a 24-hour doorman, fitness center, secure bike storage, resident lounge, and roof terrace. Added in the latest announcement are a game room, yoga/dance studio.

Also, each apartment will have a washer and dryer.

Retail & storage

As mentioned previously, there will be approximately 4,000 sf of retail on the ground floor, enough for several small stores.

Unmentioned previously is a plan to offer 20,000 sf of arena storage in the cellar and base of B2. The purpose isn't clear.

Monthly rents

Rent is based on Area Median Income (AMI), which encompasses not just New York City but affluent suburban counties. The current AMI is $83,000 for a family of four.

As indicated in the graphic at right, some 40% of the affordable units (and 20% of the building) would be low-income, up to 50% of AMI.

The rest would be evenly divided among three moderate- and middle-income bands.

"Affordable" simply means a household pays 30% of its income in rent. Based on previous documents, I've calculated rent at the midpoint of the band, not the top. So, for example, rent in Band 3 is calculated at 80% of AMI. These are unofficial calculations.

For a four-member household in a 2-Bedroom, these are the rents:
  • Band 1: $726.25
  • Band 2: $933.75
  • Band 3: $1,660
  • Band 4: $2,490
  • Band 5: $3,112.50
For a four-member household, these are the income ranges:
  • Band 1: $24,900 / $33,200
  • Band 2: $33,200 / $41,500
  • Band 3: $49,800 / $83,000
  • Band 4: $83,000 / $116,200
  • Band 5: $116,200 / $132,800
One-bedroom units

For a two-member household in a 1-Bedroom, the rent/income, as per a 2006 Forest City Ratner document, was adjusted at 80% of a four-person household:
  • Band 1: $581
  • Band 2: $795
  • Band 3: $1328
  • Band 4: $1992
  • Band 5: $2490
For a two-member household in a 1-Bedroom, these are the income ranges:
  • Band 1: $19,920 / $26,560
  • Band 2: $26,560 / $33,200
  • Band 3: $39,840 / $66,400
  • Band 4: $66,400 / $92,960
  • Band 5: $92,960 / $106,240

Atlantic Yards B2 Fact Sheet July 2012
B2FactSheetNov2011 B2 Fact Sheet May 2008


Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…