Skip to main content

Featured Post

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

From The City: doubts that affordable housing timetable will be met (my take: it's possible, but more transparency needed)

Questions about the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park affordable housing timetable get an airing in GAME CLOCK TICKING ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING AT BROOKLYN’S PACIFIC PARK, by Claudia Irizarry Aponte and Rachel Holliday Smith.

There's not much new (and some gaps) for dedicated readers of this blog, but a key quote is new: “I don’t think they’ll meet the benchmark by 2025,” Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon said of the requirement to build 2,250 affordable (aka "below-market" or "income-linked") units.

“I don’t think that’s possible,” added Simon, whose district includes the project. “That hasn’t been publicly acknowledged.”

I think it may be possible to meet the gap of some 916 units, given plans that I've described--see below--but neither developer Greenland Forest City Partners nor representatives of Empire State Development, which oversees/shepherds the project, have been willing to offer details on preliminary progress toward those plans. But they still insist the deadline will be met.

How many units?

From the article:
So far, 782 have been completed. Another 94 will come online in a building now under construction, while approximately 200 units will be housed in two buildings set to rise early next year, minutes from a March presentation to the project’s oversight board show.
That deserves an update.

[Update: Indeed, the City added this line: "Additionally, 258 units at a tower that broke ground in April are slated to be affordable."]

As I wrote in my coverage of that March presentation, there are 94 affordable units in B15 (664 Pacific Street) and 258 in B4 (18 Sixth Avenue), for a total of 352 affordable units. That's a total of 1,134 affordable units, slightly more than half of the required 2,250. Then add the 200 units expected in B12 and B13, to reach a total of 1,334, thus leaving the gap of 916.

From March 2019 Atlantic Yards CDC presentation.

Will leasing slow affordability?

From the article:
Simon and other local officials worry that ESD’s seemingly simple vow could be complicated by Greenland’s leasing of three of its parcels to other developers, the Brodsky Organization and TF Cornerstone, over the last year.
In May, Simon, state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblymember Walter Mosley (D-Brooklyn) wrote to Empire State Development President Howard Zemsky asking how the terms of the affordable housing agreement would be enforced for developers other than Greenland. That letter was first reported by Oder.
Empire State Development indicated in a memo to the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation that it has the power to hold the two new developers to the affordable housing targets, corporation board member Gib Veconi noted at a July 22 meeting.
It had not yet produced documentation proving that, he indicated.
I do think the letter from the elected officials, which Simon told me last month has not gotten a response, deserves a response, and perhaps even a legislative oversight hearing, given that there may not be any other way to pry answers out.

However, I don't think the leasing of the three current parcels is the key issue. Presumably the amount of affordability will be locked into the financing of each building.

If so, the question then is the affordability of future parcels.

What about the platform?

The article's closing:
Greenland recently demolished a large storage warehouse that had been located inside the railyard trench — clearing the way for the platform that will enable full construction.
Still, [Atlantic Yards CDC member Gib] Veconi expressed skepticism about whether the foundation over the railyard will be finished in time for the remaining affordable apartments to be finished on schedule.
“No serious observer of the project believes they can get the railyard done and these buildings completed,” he said.
It's a little more complicated than that. It's fairly clear they won't finish the full project, including the six towers over the railyard, by 2025. But they might get enough affordable units done.

The railyard is now two blocks between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue: one segment (Block 1120) is between Sixth and Carlton avenues; the other (Block 1121) is between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues. 


Three buildings are planned for each block: B5/B6/B7 on Block 1120, and B8/B9/B10 on Block 1121. The platform is scheduled to be built in three stages: for B5, for B6/B7, and for B8/B9/B10

The latter three buildings will start last, given the requirement for a much larger platform.

So, is it possible for the developer to get to 2,250 units by 2025? As I wrote for City Limits in April:
The solution–to build three additional towers, including an “100 percent affordable” rental building, likely with 450-plus units—has not been described publicly by developer Greenland Forest City Partners nor Empire State Development, the state authority overseeing the project. They’ve both resisted explaining how the 2,250 total would be reached, despite requests from some members of a new body aimed to increase project transparency.
The new details about Greenland Forest City’s plan were made available not in Brooklyn but half a world away in China, as part of a document discussing unbuilt project sites, treated as collateral for immigrant investors seeking green cards under the federal government’s EB-5 program.
That was not confirmed. Nor are there any details about the affordability of a "100 percent affordable" building, which could, as with two previous Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park towers, skew toward middle-income households.

Nor have they confirmed details about the cost, and partial progress, of the platform needed to build B5, the tower currently under design, as well as the second platform stage, for B6 and B7. I reported on the platform issues here.

But Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park is a "never-say-never project," so stay tuned.

Comments