Assembly member Jim Brennan releases facts highlighting the delay in Atlantic Yards affordable housing

Today, Assembly member Brennan (D, Brooklyn), released the fact sheet below outlining Forest City Ratner Companies’ (FCRC) planned delay in producing the affordable housing benefits promised to the community.  This fact sheet is released on the heels of the press conference on Friday, November 15, 2013 where Brooklyn elected officials and prominent civic groups called on FCRC to accelerate the affordable housing now and make a written commitment to that effect.

Brooklyn's elected officials demand new commitment for Atlantic Yards' affordable housing in advance of sale of Forest City Ratner's interest in project

BROOKLYN, November 15, 2013: Today, a coalition of Brooklyn elected officials, who represent the communities surrounding the Atlantic Yards project, and prominent civic groups, gathered at the Fifth Avenue Committee to call on Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) to accelerate the delivery of the 2,250 units of affordable housing promised at the site and acknowledge in the newly required environmental impact statement, the socioeconomic damage to the community from the delay.  The coalition also presented demands that must be met before FCRC is allowed to sell a majority interest in the Project.

State court decision acknowledges misrepresentations by ESDC may have enabled construction of Barclays Center to proceed

In a decision issued yesterday, New York State Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman confirmed what many observers of the Atlantic Yards project have long suspected: if the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) had fully disclosed the terms of its 2009 agreement with Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), the Barclays Center arena might not have been built. Justice Friedman’s decision granted a motion filed by BrooklynSpeaks sponsors for recovery of legal fees from a 2009 suit challenging ESDC’s approval of changes to the Atlantic Yards plan. Those changes allowed FCRC to extend the construction of the residential portion of the project—including the majority of its promised affordable housing—from ten to twenty-five years.

In legal papers filed in response to BrooklynSpeaks’ 2009 suit, ESDC had suggested its agreement with FCRC included provisions to ensure the completion of Atlantic Yards on its original ten-year schedule. However, ESDC delayed releasing the text of the agreement to the Court prior to arguments being heard in the case. Yesterday, Justice Friedman wrote, “Had the ESDC disclosed the terms of the Development Agreement that were being negotiated when the petitions were initially heard, or brought the Agreement to the court’s attention promptly after it was executed, construction would not have been as advanced on the arena at the time of the court’s determination requiring an SEIS, and the balance of the equities may have favored a stay pending preparation of the SEIS.” If such a stay had been issued after initial arguments, FCRC’s access to $500 million in bond financing for arena construction would have been in jeopardy.

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