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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Flashback 2008: "Rent is too damn high. But it won't be at Atlantic Yards" (actually, no)

"Apartments renting for $3,700 a month are part of the city's affordable housing program, but can't find tenants," the New York Times Metro section tweeted, promoting columnist Ginia Bellafante's critical look at "100% affordable" 535 Carlton (my summary of the backstory).

Scrolling through the replies, I found the one below, which I'm screenshotting and not linking to because of additional NSFW elements.

That reminded me of remarks by Bertha Lewis, then leading New York ACORN, at the June 2008 "Brooklyn Day" rally in support of Atlantic Yards.

"Rent is too damn high"

“No other developer,” she said in a familiar refrain, is doing what Forest City had promised. 

That’s true, I wrote at the time, but the plan for affordable housing is based in part on a zoning override that trades off "extreme density" for the developer, and it was hardly clear that the promises will come to fruition, because there was then no deadline for Phase 2 of the project.

“Rent is too damn high,” she said, channeling a one-issue political party.

“But it won’t be at Atlantic Yards,” she continued. “No, baby.”

Well, that was debatable, I wrote at the time. Many of the people who'd attended an affordable housing information session sponsored by developer Forest City Ratner and ACORN in July 2006 thought the rent would, in fact, be too high.

Now we know, as described in my backstory, that the rent is far higher than promised in the plan ACORN negotiated with Forest City Ratner in 2005.

Part of that, obviously, is correlated with rising Area Median Income (AMI).

But the most significant difference is that only 20% of the 2,250 below-market units were supposed to go to the highest-income "affordable" cohort (earning up to 160% of AMI).

However, in "100% affordable" 535 Carlton (and 38 Sixth) 50% of the units--about 300 of 600--go to the highest-income cohort (earning up to 165% of AMI). That wasn't the plan. Yet Lewis and others have offered ritual praise for this housing, albeit not in the last week after Bellafante's column.


So New York Communities for Change, essentially the successor to ACORN, posted on its Facebook page dismay about those $3,700 apartments.

It should be noted, though, that at the December 2014 groundbreaking for 535 Carlton, as I've pointed out more than once, New York Communities for Change was in favor. From the press release:
“This is a testament to what’s possible, in terms of real affordability for New Yorkers. Pacific Park Brooklyn is a model for the shared vision of a New York that works for all,” said Jonathan Westin, Director of NY Communities for Change.
I have to think Westin regrets that quote.