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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)

Did move-ins at 595 Dean's middle-income "affordable" units start in mid-October? Evidence suggests no, but faster process than typical. Still, many await word.

As I wrote in August (link), regarding a discussion at the Aug. 2 meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), Empire State Development (ESD) executive Joel Kolkmann told the group that the affordable housing lottery for the two-tower 595 Dean complex (B12/B13) had been extended through August 15.
Once the lottery is closed, Kolkmann told the (purportedly) advisory body, residents of the affordable units should be ready to move in within about two months, or the middle of October.

I suggested that was unlikely, since typically it may take two to ten months to hear back, according to the city, which is followed by an interview and evaluation process, and the Citizens Housing and Planning Council reported that, on average it takes 371 days--more than a year--to fill all the units in a NYC housing lottery.

The lottery extension allowed higher income limits
For a complex like this,  it's apparently faster--though the available evidence suggests that even relatively fast approvals haven't led to the building filling up.

In other words, the process is likely smoother when "affordable" units are limited to middle-income households earning 130% of Area Middle Income (AMI), in most cases likely six figures.

Compared to market-rate units in the building, they're a bargain--$2,290 for studios, $2,690 for one-bedrooms, and $3,360 for two-bedrooms--but of course those are not the low rents that followers of the advocacy group ACORN were seeking when they rallied for the project 2004-06 before its first approval.

What's going on?

As I've written, the slowdown in construction activities and the departure of longtime representatives of both master developer Greenland USA and also ESD, the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project, has coincided with a slacking of transparency.

The most recent Quality of Life meeting, for years a bi-monthly opportunity to hear updates and ask questions, was last held 2/7/23, itself more than four months after the previous meeting. The AY CDC is supposed to meet quarterly, but no meeting has been scheduled for early November.

(Before the August meeting, it had previously met April 11, which itself was nine months after the previous meeting.)

As I reported, while the AY CDC requested that the parent ESD prepare, by Oct. 3. a financial analysis of Pacific Park's future, an ESD rep has said the report was still in process. We deserve an update on that, as well as the move-ins at 595 Dean.

Note that market-rate move-ins started May 1, before even the affordable housing lottery launched, though there's no reason--other than presumably correctable bureaucratic and/or developer sloth--for the discrepancy. (Though market-rate units initially came with one month free on a lease, now, according to StreetEasy, they some with 1.5 months free.)

Affordable lottery progress?

For an outside observer, the best source, albeit limited, is the commentary on the City-Data Forum devoted to the 595 Dean affordable housing lottery, which suggests a faster-moving process than many, but still one very unresolved.

One commenter noted that developer TF Cornerstone is usually "very fast with responding and helpful"--again it works with middle-income households, not a more complex mix.

One respondent said, on Oct. 11, that they got approved after two rounds of documents and an employment verification letter. "I’ve signed the lease and will be moving in soon. You’ll be given a free month upon signing." 

(Note: a free month as incentive is more typical for market-rate units, and suggests the challenge faced by developer's of middle-income units.)

But another, who posted on Nov. 3, wrote, "Last time I spoke to them on the phone, all units were still available. That was about a week or so ago." 

Note: if that seems to contradict what a previous poster had said about gaining approval, well, that suggests that both TF Cornerstone and Empire State Development should be more transparent.

Another, who posted on Nov. 4, said they'd been waiting for review for six weeks and was told, in a generic message, that it might take weeks more for that to be completed.

Another, who posted yesterday, stated they were initially contacted on Sept. 18 and received a request for additional documents on Oct. 30.