Skip to main content

As Forest City presents affordable housing info on B2 at CB2/CB8, some details (few family-size units, estimated rents, modular troubles)

Update: there's also a presentation tonight at 6 pm before Community Board 2. See below left.

Brooklyn Community Board 8 holds its monthly General Meeting tomorrow at 7 pm at Calvary Community Church, 1575 St. John's Place (corner of Buffalo Avenue) and, as shown on the agenda, Forest City Ratner Companies will make a presentation on the affordable housing lottery at 461 Dean Street.

That's the long-delayed 32-story modular tower (aka B2) still under construction at the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue flanking the Barclays Center, and the lottery, which usually lasts two months, hasn't been announced yet. (Here's the HPD list of lotteries.)

However, given the significant paperwork, it pays to plan ahead.

Some details

While the details of the lottery haven't been released, let me share what we know so far. There will be 181 affordable units, and 181 market-rate units.

First, remember that "affordable housing" does not mean "low-income housing" but rather "income-linked housing," with households paying 30% of their income in rent. In the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park plan, 50% of the rental units are supposed to be "affordable," with five "bands," two of them low-income, one moderate-income, and two middle-income.

The relative lack of affordability in the building was criticized in 2012 by BrooklynSpeaks and various coalition members. “By using up the available subsidies to finance smaller apartments for tenants in higher income brackets, FCRC is making it harder to build truly affordable units elsewhere in the City," said Michelle de la uz of the Fifth Avenue Committee.

Note that the charts below are based on 2012 Area Median Income (which itself includes some wealthy suburbs) of $83,000 for a family of four. Today, the most recently available AMI, according to the NYC HDC, is $86,300 for a four-person household. So add approximately 4% to the numbers.

The chart above, from Forest City, does not describe the configuration of units, however. The chart below, from New York City Housing Development Corporation, does show the configuration, and the rents, again as of 2012.

One thing to remember is that, while the affordable housing was promised as 50% family-sized units--in floor area, though that was often fudged as unit count--this building falls short.

Of the 181 affordable units, only 36, or 20%, are two-bedroom apartments. And those are not distributed evenly among the five affordable "bands." Rather, there are 10 low-income two-bedroom units, in the first two bands, 5 in the moderate-income "band," and 21 in the two middle-income bands, which themselves are not distributed evenly.

Instead, there are 16 units in the higher middle-income band--with rents estimated in 2012 at $2,740 and today likely closer to $2,850.

Why the configuration? Well, as I reported in 2012, the number of two-bedroom units was increased only under pressure from the city, which then acceded to Forest City Ratner's request that they be limited to the highest-income "affordable" cohort, thus generating higher rents.

So the building is 1) not so family friendly and 2) to the extent it does serve families, it skews toward higher-income ones. Note that the next two affordable buildings under construction do have a higher percentage of family-sized apartments--but also skew toward higher-income households.

Other things to consider

Also, note that, while the rest of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project (excepting the Barclays Center) is now owned by the Greenland Forest City Partners joint venture, this building is owned solely by Forest City.

It's the first, and likely only, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park tower built via cutting-/bleeding-edge modular construction, which was supposed to save time but instead has taken twice as long to construct.

As I reported, water damage, including mold, led to the gutting of several lower floors of the building--which completely went against the notion of delivering the modules as finished pieces of the tower.

Also, several exterior panels have flapped in the wind, and have required repair.

Some questions

What will the rents be?

Will the affordable and market-rate units be distributed evenly throughout the building?

Will the different bands of affordable units be distributed evenly throughout the building?

How is the building's integrity being guaranteed? By the Department of Buildings? An insurance company?

What will be the impact of the adjacent arena entrance and loading dock? How will building managers be able to coordinate and communicate with arena managers?


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 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 …