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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)

No agenda for tonight's meeting, or promised notes from past one. New renderings of southeast block towers (B12/B13), but caginess on affordability.

A week after I first wrote this, no change: There's no agenda (however typically limited) for the bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting (on Zoom at 6 pm tonight), nor notes from the previous meeting, despite a goal to deliver them within three weeks, as I wrote.

That's the responsibility of Empire State Development (ESD), the gubernatorially-controlled state authority that oversees/shepherds the project.

The biggest question, among several, the reason for the delayed start of the platform over the first block of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard, crucial to the development of three towers and future income-targeted ("affordable") housing. 

We had been told in May--by master developer Greenland Forest City Partners, dominated by Greenland USA--that the start was coming up, with announced MPT (maintenance and preservation of traffic) pending, constricting local streets.

Since then, we've been told that the work would start, pending permits. But it looks like there have been questions from the Department of Buildings.

New p.r. push

595 Dean playground; Patch via BerlinRosen
Yesterday, with curious timing, Patch published New Renderings Of Prospect Heights Towers Released, crediting p.r. firm BerlinRosen with images showing "hints of public and private amenities, as the towers get ready for an anticipated opening early next year."

Early? The goal has been mid-2023, as stated by the developer of these towers, TF Cornerstone.

Why do I consider the timing curious? Because it make sense for Greenland and its allies to get some positive buzz circulating to distract from the failure to move ahead on the platform.

Note that the two-tower complex is apparently being tagged 595 Dean St. (see TF Cornerstone's in-progress website, which lacks the new renderings), rather than 595 Dean and 615 Dean, as per previous.

Affordable housing

Regarding affordable housing, note this passage:
The two apartment towers will contain nearly 800 units between them, with 240 units designated as affordable.
Income requirements are not available at this time, according to a representative, but the metrics for the lottery will be released at the end of the year.
The "representative" is being a little disingenuous. Under the 421-a tax break, the developer has two options with 30% affordability: one with 10% low-income units, and one with only middle-income units.

Clearly, the latter option, Option C, is more lucrative, given higher rents for households at 130% of Area Median Income, or AMI.

So that's why the two most recent Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park buildings to open, 662 Pacific St. (B15) and 18 Sixth Ave. (B4), contain 30% affordable units under Option C, aimed at middle-income renters.

TF Cornerstone, while being cagey, has refused to deny that they're choosing Option C.

Note that, due to some significant adjustment in the formula, yet unexplained, the potential rent for a unit at 130% of AMI has boomed in 2022, compared to 2021.

As shown in the chart below, the allowable 2022 rent for a studio could exceed $3,035, which in 2021 it maxed at $2,263.

In reality, developers often don't seek the maximum, as shown in the most recent Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park towers, because they won't lease up. The 2023 figures should be even higher.