Skip to main content

Commenters say Atlantic Yards should have larger apartments, as pledged; state says it's up to subsidy programs

Those who've looked closely at Atlantic Yards know that the first tower, now under construction, departs significantly from Forest City Ratner's promises to build family-size units with two and three bedrooms.

Several commenters on the Draft Scope for a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) brought this up, but were essentially smacked down in the Response to Comments document (bottom) that accompanied the Final Scope for a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Phase 2 of Atlantic Yards.

In other words,  Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards, will not require family-sized apartments, despite developer Forest City Ratner's earlier promises.

But it's certainly possible that the mayor and governor will stretch/direct subsidy programs to help Forest City fulfill those promises.

(The Final Scope was issued 2/7/14 by ESD, but the actual court-ordered SEIS will not arrive until sometime in the spring. I'm excerpting the Response to Comments document in several posts.)

Delay in larger apartments criticized

The concern was expressed both by project critics, including BrooklynSpeaks, and supporters, like Amelia Adams, then of New York Communities for Change, the ACORN successor, and now a senior advisor for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito:
Comment 27: The number of total units, levels of affordability and number of bedrooms must be studied in the SEIS in conjunction with the timing of when those particular units are expected to be built in Phase II of the project. Providing a majority of 2- and 3-bedroom units later in the project's development, for instance, will impact on the socio-economic make-up of the community in meaningful ways. (Brooklyn Speaks, George, Fifth Avenue Committee)
This Phase II needs to happen expeditiously because affordable housing is scarce. This won’t solve the problem that the city has, it will put a small dent in it, but the city just has an issue with actually finding affordable housing for working families or for low income families. And on that note, we really need to push the tiered income and mix up the apartments. We really need to push for two and three bedrooms so that actual families can call downtown Brooklyn their neighborhood. (Adams)
State says it's not required

The ESD essentially said that it depends on available subsidy programs:
Response: Project commitments related to the proportion of on-site housing that will be affordable, the size of the affordable units, and the income tiers qualifying applicants for affordable housing, remain unchanged since the FEIS, and, as described in the FEIS, the inclusion of larger 2- and 3-bedroom units is subject to the terms and conditions of the City and State affordable housing programs that are being utilized for this housing. The SEIS will summarize the requirements of the project documents with respect to the phasing in of affordable housing in the Phase II program. With respect to the existing scarcity of affordable housing, please see the response to Comment 28. Neither the project documents nor the SEIS preclude a more rapid project completion, which was analyzed in the 2006 FEIS.
Unmentioned is the gap between the definition of affordable housing as used by city funders and Forest City Ratner's pledge in the much-hyped Community Benefits Agreement to ensure that 50% of the subsidized units, in floor area, would be family-sized units.

The Community Benefits Agreement was not signed by the state or city and is thus irrelevant to the project as approved, ESD has said.

Atlantic Yards, Response to Comments on Draft Scope for Supplementary EIS, Feb. 7, 2014

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…

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…

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…

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…

"There is no alternative": DM Glen on de Blasio's affordable housing strategy

As I've written, Mayor Bill de Blasio sure knows how to steer and spin coverage of his affordable housing initiatives.

Indeed, his latest announcement, claiming significant progress, came with a pre-press release op-ed in the New York Daily News and then a friendly photo-op press conference with an understandably grateful--and very lucky--winner of an affordable housing lottery.

To me, though, the most significant quote came from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
said public housing had been “starved” of federal support for years now, leaving the city with fewer ways of creating affordable housing. “Are we relying too heavily on the private sector?” she said. “There is no alternative.” Though Glen was using what she surely sees as a common-sense phrase, it recalls the slogan of a politician with whom I doubt de Blasio identifies: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative who believed in free markets.

It suggests the limits to …