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BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page

For Immediate 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 "affordable."

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 Hall News:
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.
(Emphasis added.)
"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 promises."

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 Hall News 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.

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 idling."

Atlantic Yards, apparently, isnít even at the starting line.
NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development commissioner Shaun Donovan, told Congress last May that the limited pool of affordable housing financing is a "crisis" for New York City.

DEVELOP DON'T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community coalition
fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing and destroying them.
DDDB is a 501c3 non-profit corporation supported by over 3,500 individual donors from the community.