Skip to main content

Remember how Markowitz said that "the jobs and the housing will go to those that need them the most"? That meme's changing.

We should expect the discussion around the Atlantic Yards affordable housing--in which 20% of the rental units are low-income, 10% moderate-income, and 20% middle-income, all keyed to an Area Median Income (AMI) much higher than that of Brooklyn--to expand.

After all, the average subsidized 2BR apartment in the first tower would rent for $1946, with the largest cohort renting for $2740, according to 2012 figures that should rise when the tower opens in late 2014.

"Workforce housing"

Former New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky wrote in the Daily News 12/2/13:
However, there are two ways in which Mayor-elect de Blasio can improve upon this approach. First, we must ensure that, in creating affordable housing, we are not only focused on our most vulnerable, but also on our economic backbone, including teachers, nurses, firefighters, and young people starting their careers. For this critical population, our next mayor should invest in revitalization and development around transit nodes to expand the options they have for living and working in the city.
This is the "workforce housing" that is being stressed in the Atlantic Yards project, the more-affordable-than-market but not-necessarily-so-affordable housing. And it's true that many people in New York can't afford market-rate housing.

But the people marching behind ACORN for the Atlantic Yards affordable housing were, in the main, low-income residents, not the middle- and moderate-income residents who will be served more in the 50/30/20 Atlantic Yards towers, with 20% low-income units.

Room for negotiation

So this leaves significant wiggle room if and when Forest City Ratner, with its expected Chinese government-owned partner, the Greenland Group, negotiates with city agencies as future towers are built.

Consider how Forest City, which pledged in its agreement with ACORN that 50% of the units, in floor area, would be devoted to family-sized (2BR + 3BR) units, but doesn't meet that standard in the first tower.

The New York City Housing Development Corporation did push Forest City to include more 2BR units, but far fewer than the developer's pledge, and agreed to let the developer skew the configuration toward the most-expensive middle-income units.

Markowitz's pledge

This departs from the rhetoric as the project was being promoted before official approval. Consider Borough President Marty Markowitz's testimony at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing on Atlantic Yards.


(Video via Battle for Brooklyn producers)

"So, this was crafted in a way that really I think provides a fair allocation, fair allocation, because the fingers should be pointed to the federal and state government's failure to realize that housing is a right and not a privilege," Markowitz said.

Note how Council Member Charles Barron nodded skeptically. Committee Chair James Sanders murmured to Council Speaker Gifford Miller.

"But we have to deal with the best situation we have and to maximize the amount -- I don't expect you to agree, it's okay," Markowitz continued. "The jobs and the housing will go to those that need them the most."

That doesn't seem true of the housing, nor the jobs.

After all, the vaunted job-training program organized by Community Benefits Agreement signatory BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development) not only led to very few jobs in the construction field, it provoked an ongoing lawsuit regarding false promises. And BUILD has since dissolved, not to be replaced.

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…

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.

The previous graphic, from August 2017 (without the ghost B1)

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…

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…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …