Does Atlantic Yards serve as a good example of union-built affordable housing? Not quite, given history and changes
An increasing percentage of residential construction projects are being built by nonunion companies. Dismayed by their declining dominance, the city’s construction unions have sought to require any projects with government tax breaks or other subsidies be built by companies paying “middle class,” or union wages.Atlantic Yards, of course, is hardly the simplest example.
Developers and builders, in turn, have told city officials that they can either build affordable housing or hire union contractors, but they cannot do both. They argue that taxes and land and construction costs in New York are the highest in the country.
Union officials say there are a number of affordable housing developments using union labor, including the huge Pacific Park (formerly Atlantic Yards) project in Brooklyn. Construction jobs, [Paul] Fernandes [executive director of the New York City and Vicinity Carpenters Labor Management Corporation] said, are one of the last avenues into the middle class for poor people.
Then, in 2011, developer Bruce Ratner told the Wall Street Journal that "existing incentives" don't work for high-rise, union-built affordable housing--even though that's what he proposed and the state approved.
- Greenland, eager to make a splash in New York, requires less profit
- the cross subsidy from the market-rate rentals and the condos is greater than previously assumed, given the market
- the de Blasio administration has allowed the target incomes and rents for the affordable housing to rise significantly