The Wall Street Journal reports today that 2 years after the Atlantic Yards groundbreaking not a single unit of the promised "affordable" housing is under construction. From the article:
"They should do the affordable housing up front, now," said Assemblyman James Brennan of Brooklyn, who said the low- and middle-income housing aspects should be accelerated. "The only legitimate selling point for the entire project was the affordable housing."
Funny, all these many years we didn't just warn that Atlantic Yards wouldn't easily fulfill its promises, but rather it would be impossible to fulfill this promises. Shame they didn't listen to us before they demolished 22 acres.
At Atlantic Yards, the large number of affordable units—more than one-third—helped Forest City Ratner sell the project to elected officials and some community groups.
"That is of course what we're committed to doing at Atlantic Yards," MaryAnne Gilmartin, executive vice president at Forest City Ratner, said in an interview. "But it turns out not to be so easy."
The article continues:
Unlike many low- and moderate-income housing developments, Atlantic Yards plans to use union labor, is being built in high rises, and has hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to acquire land, all of which make the development more expensive and challenging."
Oh really? But New York State, on behalf of Forest City Ratner, approved exactly that: a highrise housing project utilizing union labor to construction some low- and moderate-incoming housing in ten years. Over the approval years neither Ms. Gilmartin nor the ESDC ever said that the project may not result in affordable housing because they were trying "to do something that isn't something that's been done."
Forest City Ratner executive MaryAnne Gilmartin claims, "We're really trying to do something that isn't something that's been done on a large scale in the city before."
Until further notice the Atlantic Yards slogan of "Jobs, Housing and Hoops" will continue to ring hollow...so Hoops it is!
More here from Norman Oder.