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Release: February 22, 2008
Atlantic Yards Affordable Housing in Jeopardy
Due to Housing Bond Cap "Crisis"
Forest City Ratner Must Come Clean About
Their Ability to Finance Their Housing Promises
New York, NYó The proposed "affordable" housing
for Forest City Ratnerís Atlantic Yards project is in jeopardy.
According to information from the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC)
Forest City Ratnerís (FCR) housing would require subsidization worth
$1.4 billion in federally tax-free housing bonds from the New York City
Housing Development Corporation (NYCHDC). With the aid of these bonds, FCR
proposes that 2,250 rental units out of a total 6,430 units would be deemed
The problem is that there is no money now for Forest City Ratner.
New York State has a housing bond cap of about $1.6 billion per year for
the entire state, New York City has only a portion of that cap, and there
is a long pipeline of applications for this limited amount of financing
in front of FCR. It is believed that FCR has not even applied for
their housing bonds. According to Norman Oder in a story
today on his Atlantic Yards Report, NYCHDC did not respond to a
request for confirmation of this.
NYC HDC president Marc Jahr earlier this month wrote in City
It is only February, but over $960 million in private activity
bonds are required for affordable housing deals in HDCís 2008 pipeline
alone, while New York State overall has a pipeline of more than
$6 billion. Unfortunately, however, New York Stateís yearly allocation
of cap is only around $1.6 billion.
"Forest City Ratner sold its Atlantic Yards project to elected officials
on its promise of 'affordable' housing. Theyíve claimed that the small number
of 'affordable' units in Phase 1 of their project would
be built by 2010, yet they havenít even applied for the bonds to
make it happen, and there is no sign that there will be room for them
under the annual bond allocation when 2010 comes around," Develop Donít
Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein said. "Forest City Ratner needs
to come clean to the public and elected officials as to whether or not they
are actually going to be able to finance their promises, and if so, when.
It appears that their planned arena is taking priority over their housing
In the conclusion of his Atlantic Yards Report article, AY
affordable housing jeopardized not by lawsuits but by funding "crisis",
Mr. Oder wrote:
[NYCHDC president] Jahr, in his City
article, cited increasing demand for affordable housing, a "rapid
run-up in construction costs, the effects of rezonings, and changes in
the 421-a tax program, as pressures on demand for housing bonds.
NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development commissioner Shaun
Congress last May that the limited pool of affordable housing financing
is a "crisis" for New York City.
Jahr earlier this month told the Bond
Buyer, "It's a pity to have good affordable housing projects
in a city that desperately needs affordable housing for virtually all
income levels, to have them sitting at the starting line with their engines
Atlantic Yards, apparently, isnít even at the starting line.
DON'T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community coalition
fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing
and destroying them.
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