Skip to main content

If rental buildings getting 421-a benefits must house the homeless, does that include Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park?

The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has a new priority: getting developers of buildings with affordable units to house the homeless.

According to reports, the city is focusing on 80/20 buildings, with 80% market-rate and 20% low-income housing, which receive the 421-a tax break.

There are no Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park 80/20 buildings, but rather (so far) one 50/50 market-rate/affordable building, which has 20% low-income housing and two 100% affordable buildings, each with 30% low-income housing. There's also a market-rate condo tower.

All get the 421-a tax break. So I wonder if de Blasio's administration might push to house some homeless households in (some of) the three Atlantic Yards buildings with low-income units.

There may be a (slight) political advantage. After all, these buildings have a lower-percentage of market-rate housing than do the 80/20 buildings.

That suggests there would be a relatively smaller percentage of wealthier households, some of whom might balk at previously homeless neighbors, at least if they perceive "homeless" to mean "street people not getting supportive services," rather than (as the city apparently plans) "poor people dealt a bad hand in a brutal housing market."

Real estate developers, understandably, are divided on de Blasio's program and, presumably, so to are those who'd pay market-rate--or close to it for a middle-income "affordable" units.  For the developers of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, I speculate it might cut both ways: cooperation with the mayor might alienate some paying higher rents, while it also might maintain a relationship for future subsidies.

Community preference units

The pool of new 421-a units to house house low-income households is way smaller than the demand. There's a desperate need to house the homeless, but there's also a desperate competition--among those who presumably have more stable shelter--within affordable housing lotteries to gain access to the relatively few low-income units made available.

The Times reported Saturday, Builders That Got Tax Breaks Must Set Aside Some Units for Homeless, City Says, noting that half the affordable units--10% in an 80/20 building--are assigned under a community preferences policy:
The de Blasio administration now wants up to half of all community-preference units to be reserved for people living in homeless shelters. In a 300-unit building, that could mean up to 15 apartments for tenants who were previously homeless.
Some developers, according to the Times, are "freaked out," while others are more accepting:
City officials have tried to allay those fears, saying the apartments would not go to people who needed extensive social services, but to those who had simply been priced out of New York’s housing market.
Community preference goes partly retroactive

City Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been suggested that the community preference would be used to assign units to the homeless. Surely there are many former residents within Community Boards 2, 3, 6, and 8--the four community districts for which the Atlantic Yards preference is operative--who are in the shelter system.

Then again, surely there were tens of thousands of applications for the low-income units from people who have better credit and whose situation, however housed, is precarious.

If this policy does get applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, ironically enough it could represent the partial version of a policy proposed by the community negotiators who in 2014 got a new 2025 deadline for the affordable housing: retroactive community preference for those displaced since the 2006 Atlantic Yards project approval.

The city has not acted on that proposal, which presumably would consider all households who left since 2006, not simply those who left because they had to enter the shelter system.

Story surfaces

The news of the new policy emerged in a 10/21/16 article in The Real Deal, City could require developers to reserve units for the homeless:
Units subject to redesignation include “community preference units,” “mobility disability set-aside units,” “hearing/vision disability set-aside units,” and any other housing set aside for prioritized groups. But under the new guidelines, those units could be “set aside as housing for households then residing in emergency shelter and referred by the City,” as long as they meet certain requirements.
Crain's New York Business on 10/27/16  reported the administration's justification:
"This is the latest reform in our effort to address the homeless crisis we face," said an HPD spokeswoman in a statement. "Addressing homelessness is a moral imperative. These new marketing procedures are another new tool we are using to help reduce the burden for families who are being forced out of their homes."

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 …

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…

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

Click on graphic to enlarge. This is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change, and the project is already well behind that tentative timetable.


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 …

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…