Skip to main content

From the NYT on de Blasio's housing policy: "the gauzy promise of an affordable neighborhood" around Barclays Center "has not *yet* been fulfilled"

From the optimistic Times editorial yesterday, Can New York Be Affordable Again?:
It is a timely and exciting mission. Too-slow growth and gentrification have shrunk the supply of affordable housing while greatly increasing New Yorkers’ anxiety about what their city is becoming. Mr. de Blasio’s answer is this: Build aggressively and densely, and demand that a significant portion of new units be permanently affordable. Use all means possible to protect what’s there, including strengthening rent regulations and tripling, to $36 million a year, the amount the city spends to protect tenants from greedy landlords in housing court.
The skeptics hit back almost instantly. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office pronounced one of the mayor’s ideas — a plan to create 200 buildable acres from thin air on a deck over the Sunnyside rail yards in Queens — dead on arrival. And residents in some neighborhoods where Mr. de Blasio hopes to build, worried that they were doomed to be overwhelmed by a tide of soaring rents and evictions, asked the million-dollar affordable-housing question: affordable for whom?
The success of the plan, laid out by the administration in a 116-page book of policy prescriptions, will depend on several factors. One is toughness: mandatory inclusionary zoning, stronger rent laws, an army of Legal Aid lawyers, stricter code enforcement against landlords who let properties decay.
Another is persuasion. Mr. de Blasio will have to convince New Yorkers that the huge construction binge he wants — including 160,000 new market-rate units plus 80,000 affordable ones — and years of noise and inconvenience will be for their benefit. And this, in turn, involves making the difficult argument that even though only a fraction of the new units will be affordable — 20 percent or 30 percent or more, depending — this will be enough to build a city within the city that is within a regular New Yorker’s financial reach.
That's hardly all that needs to be done. The increase in units will not be offset significantly unless the steady conversion of below-market and rent-regulated units stops or slows. Nor does de Blasio's plan project nearly enough units for poor New Yorkers.

Nor does it address a full reform of tax policy, including but hardly limited to a tax on pied a terre units. And, of course, housing would become more affordable if there are more middle-class jobs. Also, while de Blasio does plan some transit improvements, far more needs to be done; here's YIMBY's proposal re eastern Queens.

More from the editorial

It continues:
That is one reason the mayor has been talking openly about gentrification and promising to help batten down neighborhoods’ affordability before the wave hits. It is also why his administration has been dispatching officials to community meetings across the city where neighbors have been up in arms— for good reason. Brooklyn’s Barclays Center project gave developers and corporate tenants the tax breaks and profits they wanted, but the gauzy promise of an affordable neighborhood around it has not yet been fulfilled. In Manhattan, giant luxury towers still sprout skyward, while rich foreigners park their money in luxe apartments that stay empty.
By taking on affordable housing, Mr. de Blasio is making a full, multiyear commitment to a mission that, like “cleaning up Albany,” sounds vague and impossible. But Mr. de Blasio seems to mean it.
Cynicism is easy. Idealism is hard when you’re a politician who is making a huge promise, is expected to deliver and could lose his job if he fails. For the salvation of New York as a diverse, mixed-income city that is there for everybody, it’s essential that Mr. de Blasio gets this right. He needs to get hammering, starting now.
(Emphasis added)

Note that corporate tenants, unless you count the Brooklyn Nets and associated sponsors, haven't gotten tax breaks. And note that the language about "affordable neighborhood" suggests it might yet be fulfilled. It won't.

There will be 2,250 below-market units, but they will overall fuel gentrification, given the overall increase in household income, because 1) the Area Median Income (AMI) floats ever higher and 2) de Blasio has allowed the percentage of AMI in the next two all-affordable towers to exceed that promised in the Community Benefits Agreement and Affordable Housing Memorandum of Understanding.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

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…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

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…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…