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

About that health center: beyond generalities, nobody can say how it fulfills Atlantic Yards CBA

This is the seventh of several articles based on discussion at the 1/22/19 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting. The first concerned timing for the B15 tower, with school, and the B4 tower. The second concerned questions about the affordability of future income-restricted housing. The third concerned plans to constrict streets around the B15 tower. The fourth concerned plans for the railyard, demolition, and Times Plaza. The fifth concerned an absurdist dialogue about the definition of construction. The sixth covered NYPD parking, post-event enforcement, and more.

So, how exactly does the new health center at 38 Sixth, the tower at the southeast corner of the arena block, fulfill the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), a question I raised in this blog?

I tried to raise it at the meeting. The CBA, I noted, says only that the developer should provide space for the health center to be built out, and that the program, funding and who it is serves would be determined later: "So do you have anything to add about that health center, any more details?"

"It's been built, NewYork-Presbyterian is there," responded Tobi Jaiyesimi, Project Manager for Empire State Development (ESD), which oversees and shepherds the project.

"It’s a medical office," I responded. "The question is, to what degree does it fulfill the mandates of the Community Benefits Agreement?"

"I don't know about the Community Benefits Agreement, but the project requirement has been met," Jaiyesimi responded. "ESD is not party to the CBA, but it’s met the project requirement to have a health facility there."

More questions, no real answers

I asked Scott Solish, project manager for developer Greenland USA, if he could elaborate on how it meets the CBA.

"Because it's a world-class medical facility providing world-class care to the community," he responded, in full. (My translation: The CBA was never that enforceable, and whatever obligations were transferred were kind of vague.)

I sent a query to the hospital: "besides opening up a medical group office as described, how does this facility help low-income households and otherwise fulfill the Community Benefits Agreement?"

A spokesperson for NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital responded: "We are committed to continuing to expand access to excellent clinical care and community-based health programs in Downtown Brooklyn and all of the communities we serve."

That's pretty vague, too. The hospital was not a signatory of the CBA, of course, but it did issue a press release stating, "The medical office was built in fulfillment of the historic 2005 Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement."

I also sent a query to the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA), which is said to partner with the hospital and appeared at the ribbon-cutting. No response.

(The DBNA is the main CBA signatory to remain active with the project, given that it also facilitates regular ticket giveaways and helps distribute funds from a community foundation.)