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Atlantic Yards To Build More Affordable Housing Much Sooner

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The neighbors and the city have had enough, so developers of the Atlantic Yards megaproject just agreed to a new timeline that would deliver affordable housing units to the area sooner. The Times has the scoop, and all the juicy details. Specifically, 11 years after the whole project kicked off, Forest City Ratner has formally—like, in an actual agreement with the state, with the risk of a $5 million fine if they don't follow it—agreed to speed up construction. It all means Ratner has to put up 2,250 affordable apartments by 2025, which is a decade ahead of schedule. Norm Oder, maybe this new plan will placate you.

Essentially, seeing Barclays Center open with blockbuster fanfare while work on the first residential tower beside the arena, the modular-ly constructed B2, has been pretty glacial. (That building is set to include 363 apartments, 181 of which will be affordable.) Neighbors have banded together to complain about rising rents in the area and there have been more than a few lawsuits; this agreement, in fact, includes a provision that seven community groups not formally file one they had planned. Elected officials, for their part, saw the agreement as a prime chance to extract more affordable housing, delivered quicker, from the megaproject. That's especially crucial for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who's made biiiig promises in that arena.

Here's another reason it's all happening: a new investor who can infuse the project with some serious cash. Chinese firm Greenland Holding Group is buying a 70-percent stake in the project for $200 million. They will cover 70 percent of the costs going forward, and are hell-bent on finishing the whole shebang in a mighty speedy eight years.

[Renderings of Atlantic Yards' apartment towers, which date back to 2012.]

Under the new agreement, Ratner must start work on two of the site's other buildings—numbers 3 and 14, which are entirely affordable—within a year. Those are the two buildings indicated "affordable" in the site plan above, and construction will start by December of this year on the Carlton Avenue one, set to contain 299 affordable apartments. The affordable building to the west on Sixth Avenue will have 301 affordable units and start construction in March of 2015. As per the agreement, some completed affordable apartments will be for families of four with an annual income below $48,000, while others will be for families earning up to $88,000/year and $104,000/year.

There are also two condo buildings located to the east, on the Vanderbilt Avenue side of the site. Construction on the first and easternmost, building 11, is slated for December of this year, and the second will kick-start in July of 2015. They'll hold 278 and 265 luxury condos, respectively.

Oh, and about accountability? The Ratner-New York State agreement, which must be a billion pages long, also includes stipulations for the creation of a 14-member board "responsible for ensuring compliance with the agreement, and for monitoring the mitigation of community impacts during the construction period."
· Plan Expedited for Affordable Housing Near Barclays Center in Brooklyn [NYT]
· All Atlantic Yards coverage [Curbed]
· All Affordable Housing coverage [Curbed]