State officials, the de Blasio administration and local community groups have wrangled a deal with Forest City Ratner to accelerate the delivery of affordable housing at Atlantic Yards or pay a fine as high as $5 million, The New York Times reported. The agreement calls for all 2,250 affordable apartments to be built by 2025, and for the second and third buildings — a total of 600 units — to be 100 percent affordable. The old timetable was 2035, according to the Times.
“We are determined to jump-start affordable housing at Atlantic Yards,” said Mayor de Blasio. “And what’s remarkable is that we’ve secured nearly twice as many affordable units for our city investment,” he said.
Progress on the first apartment building, B2, pictured above, which is being built with modular methods that were supposed to speed things up, “has been painfully slow,” said the Times. (It started in December 2012 and will wrap in late 2015.)
The Times outlined a new construction schedule: The second building, at Dean and Carlton, must start by December 30. Then another tower next to the arena is planned. In addition, FCR said, it will start two luxury condos by July and December.
FCR is going to get a cash subsidy from the city of $11.75 million for each of the affordable towers. (The city paid $11.6 million to secure B2’s 182 affordable units.)
The agreement also spells out the income levels the subsidized apartments are aimed at. We find the definitions quite interesting. “The new agreement specifies that a portion of affordable units would be for low-income families of four that make $48,000 or less, moderate-income families earning up to $88,000 a year, and middle-income families earning up to $104,000,” said the Times.
Atlantic Yards Report took issue with the Times’ claim that 2035 was the “schedule.” AYR said 2035 would be permitted by state documents, but a “ten-year buildout” was always the plan:
As the project approvals were pending in 2006 and 2009, Forest City long pledged a ten-year buildout, and project benefits were always calculated on that timetable. Company CEO/Chairman Bruce Ratner later claimed that ten years “was never supposed to be” the timetable, as the buildout was market-dependent.
So if AYR is correct, the latest agreement just resets the timetable. What do you think of the announcement? Are you impressed with what de Blasio has accomplished?
Plan Expedited for Affordable Units at Atlantic Yards Near Downtown Brooklyn [NY Times]
Forest City Agrees to Accelerate Affordable Housing to 2025 [AYR]
Photo by Colin Miller for NY YIMBY