In order to placate local interests, the Bloomberg administration secured promises of affordable housing before allowing Willets Point and the Atlantic Yards development projects to move forward. But the Wall Street Journal noted that the below-market residential components of those projects lags far behind the lucrative commercial development. In Atlantic Yards, Forest City Ratner has yet to begin work on any of the 6,400 housing units, 2,250 of which were slated to be affordable. But a brand new basketball arena is almost complete.
At Willets Point, Sterling Equities and the Related Companies were recently selected to develop a retail center and hotel on the land near Citi Field. Only after these two stages are complete, perhaps not until 2005, would affordable housing be erected. The developers told the city that without the commercial component the housing component would be unsuccessful.
Still, the placement of new affordable housing on the backburner is consistent with a theme established by the Bloomberg administration, the Wall Street Journal noted, as it had initially promised to build about 92,000 new affordable housing units in 2005, but has scaled back that number to focus on preservation of existing units. [WSJ]