Sunday, November 24, 2013

Today, at Brown Memorial, meeting to "block the sale of land our tax dollars paid for to a foreign company with no stake in producing Affordable Housing for Brooklyn"

So, how might elected officials get leverage for their effort to block the planned sale of 70% of the remaining Atlantic Yards project to the Chinese government-owned Greenland Group unless a new schedule for affordable housing is instituted?

A meeting today at Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Clinton Hill on the "Affordable Housing Crisis," sponsored by the Fifth Avenue Committee and Brown Community Development Corporation CDC, focuses on Atlantic Yards, with a petition to "block the sale of land our tax dollars paid for to a foreign company with no stake in producing Affordable Housing for Brooklyn."

The meeting is at 1:30 pm at the church's Fellowship Hall, 52 Gates Avenue, between Waverly and Washington avenues. (Full poster is at bottom.)

"Join the campaign to force them to build housing sooner rather than a generation later," states the meeting announcement, below, which also notes "Participate in your local Community Boards and Block Associations and "Learn about housing already available."

Affordable housing is and was, understandably, the strongest selling point for Atlantic Yards. Still, as constituted (4500 rentals, with 50% market, 30% moderate- and middle-income, and 20% low-income, plus 1930 condos, a portion of which will be subsidized), it's a question as to how much the project would truly fight gentrification.
Income "bands" for B2, first Atlantic Yards tower under construction
See the income eligibility "bands" for the first building, above, and note that the Fifth Avenue Committee, as part of the BrooklynSpeaks coalition, has called for a greater degree of affordability as well as a reduction in scale for the project.

Both of those would impact developer Forest City Ratner's bottom line, as would the main "ask," which is that the housing be delivered in the original ten-year timetable rather than the 25 years that Empire State Development, the state agency, gave Forest City in 2009 renegotiations.

As Forest City reduces its risk and likely takes some profit, say elected officials, it's time to enforce a new timetable. The developer surely doesn't want that, since it cuts into the bottom line, but it's a victory of sorts for Forest City if the main ask regards the timetable without adding the issue of greater affordability and a reduction in scale.

Note that the elected officials also asked that the sale be deferred until "after a study of alternatives to expedite construction and that "the Governor, ESDC and Forest City Ratner publicly commit to improving the accountability of the Atlantic Yards project to the public, stating their support of legislation to create a dedicated local development corporation to oversee the project."

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