It's taken over years, but now it looks like Forest City Ratner might get started on building affordable housing for the Atlantic Yards sooner rather than later. The NY Times reports that Bruce Ratner has "agreed to greatly accelerate the construction of affordable housing in a deal that involved delicate negotiations with state officials, the de Blasio administration and a coalition of community groups."
While Ratner has been promising to build the units (with modular housing), the construction has lagged behind, especially when compared to the Barclays Center which opened two years ago. From the Times:
Now, the developer, Forest City Ratner, facing pressure from public officials and community groups, has signed a formal agreement with the state, which oversees the project, to put housing construction into high gear and finish 2,250 affordable apartments by 2025, 10 years ahead of the current schedule...
Under the agreement, the next two residential buildings — a total of 600 units — will be entirely affordable housing. If the developer fails to begin construction within the next year, it must pay what would essentially be a fine of up to $5 million.
“We are determined to jump-start affordable housing at Atlantic Yards,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday. “The agreement means two 100 percent affordable buildings will go in the ground starting next year, with units serving a more diverse range of families. And what’s remarkable is that we’ve secured nearly twice as many affordable units for our city investment.”
A Chinese company, Greenland Holding Group, has bought a 70% stake in the project, which is its first in New York. There will be units available for low-income ($48,000/year in salary for family of four), moderate income (up to $88,000/year) and middle-come families (up to $104,000/year).
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said, "This historic agreement between the Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner will ensure affordable housing in neighborhoods experiencing the most significant displacement in the city. The agreement shows the power that community based coalitions have to shape the future of their communities and will ensure real oversight of the project and hopefully will serve as a model in future large scale development projects around the City."