Skip to main content

AY snug or stingy? 575 sf for 1BR, 775 sf for 2BR

The Atlantic Yards web site now offers some details that might have further frustrated attendees at the affordable housing information session Tuesday. Half the affordable rentals would contain two and three bedrooms (unlike some other affordable housing programs), but the apartment sizes would be comparatively small. In fact, the minimum size projected for a two-bedroom rental would be nearly nine percent smaller than the standard size for a two-bedroom unit in city public housing.

[Note 7/21/06: I should acknowledge that the sizes are those mandated by city guidelines, not that Forest City Ratner explained that.]

Developer Forest City Ratner and ACORN, the housing advocacy group that has partnered on the affordable housing program, have emphasized that the range of units is aimed to better accommodate families, But the number of bedrooms does not mean a particularly large apartment. Indeed, the small size suggests that affordable housing would occupy an even smaller share of the total housing component than previously thought.

Apartment Sizes:
Studios 400 Square Feet or larger
One bedroom 575 Square Feet or larger
Two bedrooms 775 Square Feet or larger
Three bedrooms 950 Square Feet or larger

By contrast, a 10/04 article in the NYC Housing Authority Journal on the Whitman/Ingersoll Houses in Brooklyn states that "some two-bedroom apartments are less than 500 square feet, compared to the present-day standard of 850 square feet."
(Emphasis added)

A 2005 Report to the New York City Public Advocate: Affordable Housing in New York City, describes (p. 109) two-bedroom apartments as occupying larger spaces: 800 square feet, 875 square feet, and 950 square feet.

Affordable housing percentage shrinks

Atlantic Yards was originally touted as an innovative plan in which half of the residential units--at that point all rentals--would be affordable. (See October 2004 flier at right. Click to enlarge.) When the Housing Memorandum of Understanding was signed in May 2005, Forest City Ratner had accomplished a crucial switch: the 50 percent affordable goal would apply only to the rentals, thus leaving the developer free to soon add market-rate condos, initially 2800, now 2360. (Borough President Marty Markowitz got it wrong at the MOU press conference, claiming "a commitment to build a full 50 percent of Atlantic Yards housing as affordable.")

So, of 6860 total units, 2250 affordable units would represent just under 33 percent. The decrease gets more dramatic if you look at the square footage involved. The average affordable apartment would contain 675 square feet. It's hard to imagine that the average market-rate unit would be that small--Forest City Ratner would have to compete with other developers offering much larger two-bedroom units, for example.

At an average of 675 square feet, the 2250 affordable apartments would take up 1.52 million square feet. The entire housing component would be 6.79 million gross square feet, according to the ESDC's Final Scope of Analysis. That suggests that affordable housing might occupy a little more than 22 percent of the total housing square footage.

22 percent? That number does not mean that the market-rate housing would occupy 78 percent of the space, since the housing square footage invariably includes common spaces not assigned to any apartment. Still, because the affordable units would be smaller than the market-rate units, the percentage of space devoted to affordable housing would not be commensurate with the percentage of units (33 percent of total). In other words, 50/50 has shrunk to 67/33, and then even further.

Note: Forest City Ratner does plan to build 600-1000 for-sale affordable units, which could bring the percentage of affordable units up over 40 percent, but FCR's Jim Stuckey was rather vague about that Tuesday. Faced with a crowd that already thought that several tiers of apartments were geared to those wealthier than them, Stuckey did not mention the language in the MOU: "It is currently contemplated that a majority of the for-sale units will be sold to families in the upper affordable income tiers."

More in the market

The typical market-rate rental unit in congested Manhattan is larger than the minimum affordable housing unit announced by Forest City Ratner. For example, firm Citi Habitats used the following in its 2004 analysis of rentals in Manhattan:

Studios 500 square feet (or 450 square feet in certain neighborhoods)
One bedroom 680 square feet (or 620 square feet in certain neighborhoods)
Two bedrooms 1050 square feet
Three bedrooms 1350 square feet

Across Atlantic Avenue from the proposed Atlantic Yards footprint, the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank, now known as One Hanson Place, is offering, for some hefty market-rate prices, one-bedroom units ranging from 722 to 937 square feet and two-bedroom units from 1054 to 1475 square feet.

Other subsidized housing

Other buildings in subsidized housing programs also offer more space, according to a quick literature search. A 2001 New York Times article on Ruppert Yorkville Towers, a middle-income complex on the Upper East Side in the Mitchell-Lama program, cited "studios with 439 square feet to... three-bedroom apartments with 1,253 square feet."

A March 2000 article on Mitchell-Lama housing in Brooklyn Heights cited studio apartments "ranging from 350 to 600 square feet." The upper limit would be larger than an affordable Atlantic Yards one-bedroom unit.


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…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in November 2017, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won't be so cheap.


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 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…

The passing of David Sheets, Dean Street renter, former Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality

David Sheets, longtime Dean Street renter, Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality, died 1/17/18 in HCA Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green, KY. He was 56.

There are obituary notices in the Bowling Green Daily News and the Wichita Eagle, which state:
He was born in Wichita, KS where he attended public Schools and Wichita State University. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was employed as a legal assistant. David's hobby was cartography and had an avid interest in Mass Transit Systems of the world. David was predeceased by his father, Kenneth E. Sheets. He is survived by his mother, Wilma Smith, step-brother, Billy Ray Smith and his wife, Jane all of Bowling Green; step-sister, Ellen Smith Alexander and her husband, Jerry of Bella Vista, AR; several cousins and step-nieces and step-nephews also survive. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm with visitation from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday at Johnson-Vaughn-Phe…

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…