Sunday, January 11, 2015

If de Blasio "Wages a War on Inequality," how does latest Atlantic Yards tower fit?

New York Times columnist Ginia Bellafante's column today, Outside the Spotlight, Bill de Blasio Wages a War on Inequality, makes some good points, but then doesn't drill down:
By the end of November, the city had financed the construction of nearly 3,900 units of affordable housing and the preservation of more than 7,500 others. By the end of December, it reached its goal of 16,000 units. The city has doubled the capital budget of its Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Of the 200,000 units of affordable housing it plans to create over the next decade, 20 percent would go to families with household incomes of $40,000 a year or less. In recent years much has been made of the fact that affordability in the context of housing is a euphemistic and relative term and that affordable housing initiatives skew in favor of the middle class. In fact, only 11 percent of units in the city’s plan are designated for families with household incomes of $97,000 to $138,000.
(Emphasis added)

Well, "much has been made" because much should be made.

First, de Blasio very much claimed the spotlight for the 12/15/14 groundbreaking for the latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park tower, the first to be built by his campaign supporter Bruce Ratner in concert with Forest City Ratner's new Shanghai government-owned partner/overseer, the Greenland Group.

Skewing toward middle-income

Also, as I and some others reported--but the Times ignored--65% of the units in this and the next "100% affordable" tower will go to middle-income households: 15% earning up to 145% of Area Median Income, and 50% up to 165% of AMI.

(That's nearly 65% according to the income guidelines in the column.)

The mayor didn't acknowledge the difference between the configuration he was promoting and the configuration--with only 20% of the affordable units for the upper middle-income cohort--in the original Atlantic Yards promise.

Nor did he acknowledge the contrast with his overall housing plan. "There are very few phrases I like better than 100% affordable housing, so this program is off to a good start," he declared.

"At 535 Carlton, to me this is exactly what we came here to do: 298 units, all affordable," he added. "This is a symbol of what we intend to do with our affordable housing plan over and over and over and over."

Looking at it whole

Except not only will the affordable housing be skewed to middle-income households, two market-rate condo buildings will be built at the same time. The overall impact is hardly to fight gentrification, as pledged in the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement.

In fact, as shown in the potential--and so far accurate--chart below, the next two "100% affordable" buildings will be twinned with condo buildings, then followed by two more market-rate buildings, one a rental, one a condo. That's four 100% "unaffordable" buildings.

Then, after another 50/50 (or 50/30/20) building, there would be two more market-rate buildings, one a condo, one a rentals. Finally, there'd be three more very larger towers split between "affordable" and market-rate rentals.

No comments:

Post a Comment