Thursday, April 14, 2016

No, NY Times, Atlantic Yards developer did not "initially" pledge housing buildout by 2035

From a New York Times article today, headlined Segregation Issue Complicates de Blasio’s Housing Push:
In 2014, community groups in Downtown Brooklyn, citing gentrification concerns, won an accelerated schedule for the Atlantic Yards megaproject, whose developers had initially pledged to create 2,250 affordable apartments by 2035. By then, the groups argued, the black population would have dropped to 15 percent from 40 percent, according to demographic projections, which showed the number of white people almost doubling over the same period. The groups said soaring rents would force most low-income tenants out of the area, denying them a shot at the new units.
The community groups, which support preferences for local residents in housing lotteries, succeeded in securing promises that the units would be finished 10 years earlier.
(Emphases added)

That needs a thorough correction. Actually, the initial pledge was to finish by 2013! After the project was delayed, the deadline was extended, and then a timetable somewhat closer to the original elapsed buildout was accepted.

More precisely, the new 11-year buildout (from 2014-2025) agreed to in 2014 was a significant improvement over the 25-year buildout allowed in 2010, but it represents a 15- or 16-year buildout from the previous project approval, in 2009.

Looking at the Times

The June 2014 Times article linked in the last sentence excerpted above said that the new timetable was "10 years ahead of the current schedule" and that the groups had pushed for change in the "old timetable, by 2035."

That's not the same as saying the initial pledge was 2035. And "10 years ahead of the current schedule" isn't correct either, though it's closer.

Unmentioned today: the print article, as shown in the image at right, claimed that the 2,250 units would be "10 Years Early." Not so. (I criticized the Times for letting itself be used. Now the clip file becomes fodder for future coverage.)

Looking at the history

In December 2003, when the project was announced, the developer estimated it would "take approximately 10 years to complete."

In December 2006, when Empire State Development, the state authority overseeing/shepherding the project, first approved Atlantic Yards, it said, in the 2006 General Project Plan, that the project was "anticipated to be completed by 2016."

In a May 2008, Daily News op-ed, Bruce Ratner wrote that "We anticipate finishing all of Atlantic Yards by 2018."

In June 2009, when ESD revised the project and issued a new Modified General Project Plan, it stated that the project was "anticipated to be completed by 2019."

An associated Technical Memorandum did assess the possibility of a delayed buildout until 2024 (15 years), and concluded that such a delay would not have significant adverse impacts.

But, as of the last approval, ten years was the schedule. But the developer and the state sought more flexibility.

After that, contracts signed in December 2009 provided a 25-year outside date--i.e., that 2035 building. This is something I discovered, and the Times ignored at the time--to its peril, apparently.

1 comment:

  1. Daniel Goldstein12:23 PM

    Please let us know if the Paper of Record makes a correction.