The developer and MTA have come to agreement on the platform needed for three towers, but Greenland USA won’t proceed without a key tax break. As Empire State Development floats proposals, watchdogs warn of delays.
Pledged Amenity Space at Atlantic Yards Was Never Built. What Will That Mean for Promised Affordable Housing?
The developer’s failed promise to build a glass-enclosed public plaza in front of the Barclay’s Center is a bad sign for its other pledges to the community yet to be fulfilled: Most importantly, the 877 units of affordable housing still unbuilt, advocates and officials say.
One big problem with Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs), experts say, is that they’re not laws, but rather private contracts between a developer and community groups. And if those groups aren’t around to hold a developer accountable—or the developer isn’t around and there’s no successor clause—there’s little anyone else can do to enforce an agreement.
Once a seemingly promising structure to ensure that real estate groups don’t run roughshod over local neighborhoods in development deals—and still a common practice in other cities—CBAs are now disdained by many New York City community groups and developers alike. The mechanism’s demise is a lesson, development experts say, in both the strength and limitations of demanding concessions in exchange for neighborhood-changing construction projects.
A 2005 media event promised more affordability than what’s been produced. The next mayor may face tough decisions, as 876 more income-linked units must be built in four years.
From the Amazon MOU to the BAM site, alluring menus of public benefits are often dangled as the payoff for large subsidies and lucrative development rights. The project formerly known as Atlantic Yards demonstrates that the devil is in the delivery.
The emails show a developer scripting quotes from a grateful new tenant; a mayoral aide transforming a corporate press release into a governmental statement; and a lack of support from affordable housing advocates who once strongly backed a Brooklyn megaproject.
Nearly 100 apartments that were up for grabs at Pacific Park (the site formerly known as Atlantic Yards) through the city’s affordable housing lottery a year ago are now being listed on StreetEasy, because not enough of the lottery winners would take them.
To sell 550 Vanderbilt luxury condos, they’d piggyback onto affordable building well down the block.
A close look at those who applied for spots in one Pacific Park building reveals a vast gap between which income groups expressed need and what income levels the apartments were pegged to.