Ratner to finish Atlantic Yards affordable housing 10 years early

Agreement with city pushes construction of 2,250 units well ahead of current schedule

Atlantic Yards rendering (Credit: SHoP) and Bruce Ratner
Atlantic Yards rendering (Credit: SHoP) and Bruce Ratner

Forest City Ratner signed a formal agreement with the state to accelerate the pace of affordable housing construction around his Atlantic Yards project in Downtown Brooklyn.

Under pressure from public officials and community groups, Forest City Ratner agreed to finish 2,250 affordable apartments by 2025 — 10 years ahead of the developer’s current schedule.

“New York State is delivering a deal that will ensure this vital housing is built quickly and efficiently and that the community is engaged in every step of the project,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday. “This agreement is a win for the state and most importantly Brooklyn residents who will finally begin to see affordable buildings being constructed in their neighborhoods.”

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The $1 billion Barclays Center opened in September 2012, but since that time not one apartment has been built in the area, disappointing residents. Under the new agreement, the project’s next two residential buildings will bring a total of 600 units and be entirely affordable. Should Forest City Ratner fall behind the revised schedule, it will be responsible for paying a fine of up to $5 million, the New York Times reported.

“We are determined to jump-start affordable housing at Atlantic Yards,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. “The agreement means two 100 percent affordable buildings will go in the ground starting next year.”

The push for the unusual deal sprang from Governor Cuomo’s desire to slap a timeline on the long-delayed project, along with Mayor de Blasio’s desire to make headway on his promise to create 200,000 units of affordable housing in the city, according to the Times. The involvement of Shanghai-based Greenland Group, which is making an investment of roughly $200 million in exchange for a 70 percent equity interest in the Atlantic Yards development, also reportedly spurred the developer to action. Greenland executives have publicly stated that they want to complete Atlantic Yards in eight years. [NYT] Julie Strickland

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