The Daily Dirt: 20 years later, many questions remain at Atlantic Yards

It is unclear who will finish the project

Atlantic Yards Turns 20 Years Old: The Daily Dirt
ESD's Hope Knight with rendering of Pacific Park (Empire State Development, Pacific Park Brooklyn)

At the 20-year mark, many questions remain about the future of Atlantic Yards. 

Two decades ago, developer Bruce Ratner unveiled his vision for the megadevelopment, now called Pacific Park. Some of it has been realized, but a promise to the community to develop 876 more affordable housing units is in jeopardy.

Greenland USA defaulted on $350 million in loans tied to six development sites, where this housing would be built. The rights to develop those sites are heading to auction next month.

It is unclear to what extent the state will need to sign off on the transfer of those rights. Anyone who takes them over may have to contend with penalties that kick in two years from now. Under a 2014 agreement, Greenland must pay $2,000 per unit of unbuilt affordable housing, each month.

The fines and the obligation to build the affordable housing would presumably transfer with the development rights, but state officials would not specify that.

Empire State Development could waive the penalties, something that community groups and some elected officials fear (and which could trigger a lawsuit). The agency may also provide a 421a-like tax benefit for the sites. Doing so would certainly make taking over a formidable project a bit more appealing.

Whoever replaces Greenland will also need to build two platforms over the Long Island Rail Road tracks, which will cost roughly $200 million. The state was supposed to provide a report on the financial viability of the project’s future back in October, but has not released one. How this project is resolved could have far reaching implications for how large-scale projects in the city are perceived and executed going forward, given that promised benefits such as affordable housing are often key to their approval.

What we’re thinking about: Which developers might want to take over for Greenland at Pacific Park? Send a note to kathryn@therealdeal.com

A thing we’ve learned: Brookfield Property group has threatened to file a protest of the auction for Signature Bank’s portfolio of loans backed by rent-stabilized properties, the Financial Times reports. Brookfield alleges that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has embarked on a “secret” process to select a winner (Related Companies) that submitted a bid substantially lower than Brookfield’s.

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Elsewhere in New York…

— The mayor’s latest budget cuts include slashing more than 1,400 jobs from city parks, Gothamist reports. “To be sure, we face fiscal challenges,” said Council member Shekar Krishnan, who chairs the Parks and Recreation Committee. “But to go after the essential services that our most vulnerable New Yorkers depend on is going to increase income inequality.”

— A new poll by Slingshot Strategies found that a majority of city voters believe Mayor Eric Adams should resign if he is indicted as a result of an ongoing FBI investigation, Politico New York reports. The poll also found that former Gov. Andrew Cuomo would be voters’ top pick to replace Adams if an election were held today.

— A six-story apartment building at 1915 Billingsley Terrace in the Bronx partially collapsed, but as of Monday evening no injuries had been reported, according to NBC New York.

Closing Time

Residential: The priciest residential closing Monday was $20 million for a house at 242 East 52nd Street in Midtown.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was $72 million for a building at 34-09 College Point Boulevard in Queens.

New to the Market: The priciest residence to hit the market Monday was a condo at 1 Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights asking $4.7 million. Corcoran Group has the listing.

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