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

Will de Blasio's "Save Our City" plan include Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park housing? Probably not.

In his 2/6/20 State of the City speech, Mayor de Blasio Unveils Blueprint to Save Our City, Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined several initiatives boosting affordable housing, under the rubric of Your Home NYC.

From the press release:

  • Keep New Yorkers in their Homes: We have already kept 255,000 New Yorkers in their affordable homes, and in the next two years, we will protect 78,000 more New Yorkers.
  • Build New Homes for the Lowest-Income New Yorkers: Your Home NYC will prioritize building new homes for our lowest-income New Yorkers. Half of all City financed newly-built homes will be for families making under $50,000 per year, and at least half of those will be for families making less than $30,000 per year. In total, this will mean 2,000 more units for low-income New Yorkers over the course of the plan.
  • Rent Without a Security Deposit: Too many New Yorkers work hard to afford rent, but don’t have enough cash upfront for a security deposit. Starting with up to 60,000 City-financed homes, we will offer renters a choice to pay a security deposit or to sign up for renter security insurance that allows small monthly payments or a smaller single upfront payment in lieu of the full month deposit. We will also pursue local and state legislation to expand these alternative options citywide to all of New York’s 2.2 million rental households.
  • Advocate for Universal Renter Protection: We are advocating for the State Legislature to pass new tenant protections for the 2.5 million New Yorkers who live in our nearly 900,000 unregulated homes. We are committed to protections that will help shield those renters from steep rent shocks and arbitrarily losing their leases.
  • Expand Community Land Trusts to Build Neighborhood Wealth: We will support the use of Community Land Trusts and new neighborhood wealth-building tools to support community ownership and development that allows community residents to share in the wealth generation. The opportunities, offered for organizations to propose community ownership models, will include enough City owned land to gain over 3,000 units of community owned or shared equity housing.
  • Legalize Basement Apartments: We will take the first steps to legalize basement apartments and accessory units by updating our zoning laws, introducing legislation to cut through red tape and helping homeowners pay for it. We will set aside capital funds to finance low interest loans to homeowners hoping to create safe and legal affordable apartments on their property. These measures will add approximately 10,000 more affordable homes for New Yorkers within the next decade.

 (Emphases added)

But will these initiatives, under the hashtag #saveourcity, make a huge difference? Likely not. After all, the 255,000 number refers to units both created and preserved, and the latter, while welcome, protects against a worse outcome rather than adding new supply.

As to devoting half of city-financed homes to low-income households, keep in mind that city financing is only one avenue to affordable housing (aka below-market, or income-linked).

Gothamist/WNYC reported:
Shortly after the mayor concluded his address, the city’s Public Advocate Jumaane Williams delivered rebuttal remarks that were live-streamed, the first time an elected official has so explicitly seized on what is traditionally the mayor’s moment to reshape the debate. While he offered some praise for the mayor’s agenda, particularly around creating and preserving affordable housing, Williams also said the latest proposals should have come sooner.
What about Atlantic Yards?

The two towers under construction in the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project, B4 and B15, rely on private financing and the state 421-a tax break.

They will deliver a minimum of 25% and a maximum of 30% of below-market units, but most if not all of those units likely will be middle-income. Only one of three options includes a majority of low-income units.

Going forward, it's not likely (though not impossible) that a future tower--such as B5 over the Vanderbilt Yards--will be finalized and financed by the time de Blasio leaves office at the end of 2021.

That said, this is a "never-say-never" project, and it's always possible that a wild card will emerge, such as a one-off 50% affordable or 100% affordable tower will emerge, both delivering the mayor a headline and allowing the developer to get closer to the crucial 2025 affordable housing deadline.

Of course, the devil will be in the deails.


  1. Again disregarding people who earn 50 000 a year, this income is also lowincome, what the hell is going on here,, we don't need affordable housing? Make affordable housing for all lowincome, I wonder how hard is that


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