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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming/what's missing, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

Though huge numbers sought low-income housing, middle-income affordable units go empty, now open to new applicants

Guess what--there are affordable units still available at Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, and you don't have to apply through a lottery. You just can't be poor.

Yesterday, a message from Forest City New York and Greenland Forest City Partners indicated that an unspecified number middle-income affordable units in both 535 Carlton and 461 Dean (50% affordable) can be rented by anyone who meets income minimums and limits, generally around six figures:
  • 461 Dean, 2 BR: $3,012 (original total: 16)
  • 535 Carlton Stu: $2,137 (original total: 36)
  • 535 Carlton, 1BR: $2,680 (original total: 61)
  • 535 Carlton, 2BR: $3,223 (original total: 44)
  • 535 Carlton, 3 BR: $3,716 (original total: 7)
Market-rate units at 461 Dean
Lottery numbers don't add up

Those units are rent-stabilized, which means tenure of occupancy and limited annual increases, and they're below-market, but not by a ton.

That $2,680 1BR at 535 Carlton  is just 13% below the least-expensive current market-rate 1BR at 461 Dean, advertised at $3,081 "net effective rent."

What this shows is that, despite, huge numbers of applicants in the housing lotteries (84,000+ for 461 Dean's 181 units and 92,000+ for 535 Carlton's 297 units), there still weren't enough takers for the middle-income units.

As I reported in April for City Limits, only 2,203 households made the first cut for the 148 upper-middle-income units at 535 Carlton, which implied a pretty good chance to win an apartment. Apparently some of them either didn't qualify or turned down the units. (Why? Some may not want to go through such an examination of their finances. Others may seek alternatives.)

Despite the rhetoric about affordability, the key, of course, is "affordable for whom." And most of the people who marched for Atlantic Yards affordable housing, and who applied for the lottery, were hoping for far less costly apartments.

More two-bedrooms at 461 Dean, but for whom?

The 16 middle-income two-bedrooms at 461 Dean, by the way, are far more than the ten low-income units renting at $737 and $931, plus the five moderate-income units, at $1,584. (There are also five middle-income units at $2,400.)

Those with long memories may recall that city housing officials, upon learning of the paltry numbers of two-bedroom units in the building, far fewer than earlier promised, pushed the state and the developer to increase the number, but--after the developer cried poor--accepted the increase only in the highest "band" of middle-income units, as I reported for City Limits in 2012.

461 Dean

Below, the handout from Forest City New York, touting "endless views, affordable rents." I think it depends on where exactly the unit is located.

The New York City Housing Development Corporation (NYC HDC), which is in charge of marketing the affordable units, also produced a 461 Dean ad.

535 Carlton

Note, in the handout below, the claim of a "modern, serene setting"--neighbors would disagree, especially since years more construction on adjacent sites is expected.

"The serenity of the adjacent Pacific Park is woven into the building's fabric"? Only if you're practicing time travel.

NYC HDC also produced a 535 Carlton ad.

A new advertising tack

If you search on "535 Carlton," the results lead to the text ad below, promoting "rent stabilized home available- New Construction." In this case, perhaps, "luxury amenities" trump "affordable."