Here’s our latest news of victory: culminating an 11 year struggle, and following weeks of intense negotiations, our clients — BrooklynSpeaks sponsor organizations and local residents recently announced they have reached a landmark settlement about affordable housing with Forest City Ratner Corporation (FCRC), the developer of the contentious Atlantic Yards Project in Brooklyn, and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), with the support of the City of New York. The agreement at Atlantic Yards has been a long time coming, and we’re very pleased to have helped work towards this resolution. Now that a consensus has finally been reached, it provides a great starting point for discussion of affordable housing within New York City.
Mayor de Blasio has been very clear about his emphasis on affordable housing during his term, and this new accord, which promises timely delivery of affordable housing and real developer accountability, potentially presents a good template for such projects moving forward.
The new agreement at Atlantic Yards fueled a storm of press coverage, including a piece in the New York Times!
A brief summary of the settlement: Under the terms of the agreement, construction on the first of the affordable units will begin by the end of the year, and a full total of 2,250 affordable apartments must be completed by May 2025 – ten years earlier than previously agreed.
It also establishes an Atlantic Yards Tenant Protection Fund and penalties for failure to meet affordable housing milestones. The newly-created Fund, which is expected to be administered by the Brooklyn Community Foundation, will provide grants to local nonprofit organizations offering eviction prevention and anti-displacement services to low and moderate income residents of Brooklyn community districts 2, 3, 6 and 8. (Read more about the Tenant Protection Fund here.) Many lower and working class families – especially African Americans – are getting priced out of their neighborhoods due to escalating rents and costs of living exacerbated, ironically, by the construction of Atlantic Yards’ Barclay Center. Gentrification around Atlantic Yards is rapidly changing the face of nearby communities; African Americans comprised 52% of the population of the combined area of the districts surrounding Atlantic Yards (Community Boards 2, 3, 6 and 8) in 2000, but represented only 40% in 2010. A study of current demographic trends has found that African Americans will represent only 15% of the population by 2035, the outside date by which the housing was originally required to be finished.
Importantly, the settlement will also result in the creation of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the ESDC charged with overseeing compliance with all project commitments; it will enforce real penalties for failure to meet construction deadlines.
To read more of the press coverage about this deal, please click on the following links:
*Denotes an article or segment that we especially liked.