HDC considers $91M in tax-exempt bonds for Atlantic Yards
by Andrew Pavia
Jul 25, 2012 | 2299 views | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The public had a chance to sound off on a proposed $91 million tax-exempt bond proposal for the construction of “Building 2” at Atlantic Yards – the first residential tower at the massive project, which includes the Barclays Center, the new home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

The New York City Housing Development Corporation hearing was held on Wednesday, July 18, in Manhattan to discuss the Forest City Ratner-led project at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.

“Today is a critical milestone for Atlantic Yards and the creation of new high-rise affordable housing for low and middle-income New Yorkers in the borough of Brooklyn,” testified MaryAnne Gilmartin, executive vice president of Development for Forest City Ratner.

Building 2, or B2, will be 32 stories high and located at the intersection of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue. There will be approximately 363 rental apartments, of which 50 percent will be affordable to low, moderate and middle-income households.

The 363 apartments break down to approximately 150 studios, 165 one-bedroom, and 48 two-bedroom apartments.

With over 87 percent of the new building's affordable units being studio or one-bedroom apartments, many who spoke at the hearing questioned the amount of affordable housing for families.

“I am very, very disappointed that we have a significant number of studio apartments,” said Councilwoman Letitia James. “What is needed in the neighborhood are units that accommodate families, not single adults.

“This agency has to respond to the needs on the ground, and that is growing crisis in homeless and growing crisis in homelessness with respect to senior citizens,” the councilwoman added.

Bertha Lewis, former executive director of ACORN and president of the Black Institute, spoke at the hearing about the need for affordable housing, which could be in jeopardy without the issuance of the tax-exempt bonds.

“The granting of these tax-exempt bonds are necessary, not just for this project, but for every other developer in this city,” she said. “Commitment to affordability should be rewarded.”

Bettina Damiani, project director of Good Jobs New York, criticized HDC for a lack of transparency.

“I would like to comment on the validity of this project, but unfortunately this agency has not released enough information to have a true, I think, genuine open process,” she said, “about how we should be spending these precious resources.”

She went on to explain that the HDC only made an announcement in the New York Post about the hearing itself.

“The lack of notice is an insult to open government,” Damiani added.
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