Friday, February 07, 2014

From the Real Deal: "Ratner yanks big event at Barclays due to planned protests"

The Real Deal reported this afternoon, Ratner yanks big event at Barclays due to planned protests:
Barclay’s Center builder Forest City Ratner has informed LandlordsNY, an organization comprising property owners and managers, that it can no longer host its property management symposium at the Brooklyn stadium. The reason? Tenant related groups planned to stage a protest against the symposium’s keynote speaker Bruce Ratner, the chairman of Forest City.
LandlordsNY informed those scheduled to speak at the event, including Massey Knakal Realty Services broker James Nelson and The Real Deal’s publisher Amir Korangy, of the cancellation of the symposium in an email earlier this week, just six days before the February 11 conference.
“Barclays Center has called to let us know they can no longer host our event due to threats by one or two tenant related groups protesting Mr. Ratner, whom was slated to be our keynote speaker,” said J’Nell Simmons, executive director of LandlordsNY, in the note. “They are concerned of the negative press it will bring them and Mr. Ratner, and thus feel they can no longer host the property management symposium.”
Tenant groups including the Fifth Avenue Committee, Make the Road and Met Council on Housing were slated to protest outside the Barclay’s Center on the day of the event, Fifth Avenue Committee director of organizing and advocacy Jackie Del Valle told The Real Deal.
The protesters’ gripe: They disputed the idea that Ratner could be considered a “role model for landlords,” sources said, and wanted to draw attention to the lack of affordable housing built in accordance with Ratner’s mammoth Altantic Yards development in Prospect Heights.
...“The building of [Atlantic Yards] has caused extreme displacement and rising rents in the neighborhoods around it,” Del Valle said. “There’s been a ton of public money given to this but no government oversight and the promised affordable housing has not been built.”
Project defenders might say that the affordable housing is coming, eventually, with the first tower under construction, and that there's lots of luxury housing being built without any subsidized units. 

Then again, Forest City made very big promises about affordable housing and, in the first building, is delivering far less than promised, with no three-bedroom units and few two-bedroom ones, and with the subsidized 2BR units skewing toward the middle-class.

Note that though the Fifth Avenue Committee has been involved in Atlantic Yards advocacy as a member of BrooklynSpeaks, the other groups have not.

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