Tuesday, November 18, 2014

At hearing on bonds for new tower, Forest City executive speaks "with great excitement for the future of affordable housing in New York"

There was nothing new beyond rhetoric at the very brief hearing segment yesterday devoted to tax-exempt bonds for 535 Carlton Avenue, the next building in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park to break ground.

After all, a fact sheet (below) had already been distributed with details about the project, including the request for up to $73 million in tax-exempt bonds, which save the builder significant sums compared to conventional financing, and are part of the financing for affordable units.

Forest City Ratner VP Melissa Burch, representing Greenland Forest City Partners, led off her brief statement but saying, "It is with great excitement for the future of affordable housing in New York that I present 535 Carlton Avenue at Pacific Park."

It's curious that Forest City is flogging this tower--in which half the units would go to middle-income households who'd pay some $3,000 for a two-bedroom unit--as "the future of affordable housing."

Also, Burch noted that, after Greenland USA and Forest City Ratner closed on a joint venture for the project, they also reached an agreement with New York State and New York City "to accelerate the buildout of Pacific Park Brooklyn."

That's a bit of a tweak to history.

Actually, the agreement was more precisely to accelerate the buildout of Atlantic Yards (as noted in the screenshot at right), since it took more than a month to change the project name to Pacific Park Brooklyn.

The agreement requires that all 2250 units of subsidized housing be completed by 2025 and requires that least 590 units be started by June 2015. The 590 units will be in 535 Carlton and 30 6th Avenue, the latter at the southeast corner of the arena block.

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No one besides Burch offered comment on this application, unlike the more contentious hearing in 2012 regarding the first tower, B2.

After all, it's not that easy to attend such hearings during the day time. And it was not exactly promoted particularly vigorously. While HDC now does announce such hearings on its website--a contrast with 2012--I had to ask for material regarding this project.

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