On the 20th anniversary of the chronically delayed Atlantic Yards project, developer defaults on its bonds

Advocates and Elected Officials Call for Accountability and Change in Oversight

Elected officials, community organizations and civic groups demand State hold Atlantic Yards developers accountable for missed project deadline

“Urban Room” was to have been a significant public amenity; Hochul administration must collect $10MM in damages from Greenland Forest City Partners for failure to build it

BROOKLYN, NY, July 14, 2022: City and State elected officials and community leaders today called upon Governor Kathy Hochul to hold developers at the Atlantic Yards project accountable for failing to deliver a key element of its design by a contractual deadline. Project documents describe the “Urban Room” as “a significant public amenity comprised of a large, glass-enclosed public space” that would “accommodate the major flows of people to and from the subway system during the day and night, serve as a direct subway entrance to the Arena and allow for a variety of public uses and programmed events throughout the year.” However, developer Greenland Forest City Partners (GFCP) has taken no action to start construction of the Urban Room, which was required to have been completed in May of this year. The project’s Master Development Agreement (MDA) between GFCP and Empire State Development (ESD) provides for a penalty of $10 million if the deadline is missed.

In a letter to ESD CEO Hope Knight, Assembly Members Jo Anne Simon, Phara Souffrant Forrest, and Robert Carroll; State Senator Jabari Brisport; and City Council Member Crystal Hudson wrote, “The Urban Room remains a significant public commitment of the project, and its completion deadline and remedies for non-performance by the developer remain in effect. We request ESD to affirm that liquidated damages will be assessed, as provided in the MDA, for failure to deliver the Urban Room as required, and inform us when they have been collected. We note that the first payment is due this month. ESD’s affirmative response is necessary to retain our confidence in the agency’s ability to ensure compliance with the upcoming affordable housing deadline (we estimate those liquidated damages to be $1.75 million per month), and our support for the agency’s continued role as the lead agency responsible for overseeing the Project.”

Civic organizations, urbanists, and housing advocates begin community engagement toward a new plan for long-delayed Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project

“Crossroads” initiative comes as looming affordable housing deadline raises questions about the future of $4B State-sponsored development in Brooklyn

BROOKLYN, January 6: Members of the BrooklynSpeaks coalition today announced the community-based planning initiative Crossroads, intended to guide State and City governments toward a new plan for the long-delayed Atlantic Yards project. The Atlantic Yards project was approved by the State of New York in 2006; it was rebranded as “Pacific Park” in 2014. The same year, developers agreed to complete all of the project’s promised 2,250 affordable apartments by 2025.
“Seven years ago, our organizations won a settlement that committed the State of New York to delivering thousands of units of much-needed affordable housing for Brooklynites facing intense displacement pressure,” said Gib Veconi, Chair of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. “We must now acknowledge that the State and the developers have failed to take the actions necessary to keep that promise, and the viability of the project is again in question. Our communities are not going to stand by as developers receive another bailout. It’s time for stakeholders to come together and chart a new future for Atlantic Yards.”

The initiative comes as developer Greenland Forest City Partners is expected to seek additional development rights for the block across from Barclays Center on Flatbush Avenue that contains a P.C. Richard location and a former Modell’s sporting goods store. “It would be unconscionable for the State to allow a tower the size of the Chrysler Building on that site when the developers have refused to explain how they plan to meet their existing commitments to complete the rail yard platforms necessary for the remainder of Atlantic Yards’ affordable housing,” said Howard Kolins, President of the Boerum Hill Association.

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