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September 20, 2005

DDDb Press Release: Mayor Bloomberg Misleads and Misinforms on Ratner's Atlantic Yards

Grossly Overstates Jobs Promised, Understates Number of Luxury Apartments

NEW YORK, NY—Mayor Michael Bloomberg is misleading and misinforming the public regarding Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards development proposal in Brooklyn. The Mayor's statements last week about jobs and housing contrast drastically with the official proposal announced by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) two days later.

Bloomberg said on September 14 that the project would provide "4,500 apartments including much-needed affordable housing" and would "also create 8,500 permanent new jobs."

However, a project description issued on September 16 by the ESDC describes 7,300 residential units, which would include 2,800 market-rate condominiums along with the 4,500 rentals, half of which would be market-rate, half “affordable.” That means the total project would include only 31% "affordable housing"--not 50% as announced in May by ACORN, Forest City Ratner and Mayor Bloomberg, and still touted by the developer and supporters.

Also, the "affordable" housing would do little to help low-income Brooklynites. Of the 2,250 "affordable" rentals, 60% would go to middle-income tenants earning an average of $75,000. Only 900 units, or 12% of the total units, would go to people earning below $35,000, Brooklyn's median income.

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein said, "Given the $1.1 billion in public costs that this project would consume over 30 years, this is a thoroughly inefficient and costly way to provide affordable housing. By the way, that $1.1 billion figure comes from Ratner; the overall cost would likely be much higher."

Also, Bloomberg vastly overstated the number of permanent jobs the project could provide. The proposal would involve 628,000 square feet of commercial office space. The addition of so-called Site 5 would add 347,000 square feet of office space. The New York City Economic Development Corporation says the standard is 250 square feet of office space per job, so the two segments of the project would provide space for 2,512 jobs and 1,388 jobs, respectively. The total: space for 3,900 office jobs.

None of those jobs would be guaranteed to local residents, and many jobs would be recycled from elsewhere (“retained”) rather than new. There would be a few hundred more permanent jobs in retail, the arena, and at the proposed hotel. This is a huge drop from the 10,000 permanent office jobs originally promised, and a substantial decline from 8,500 jobs promised last week by the Mayor.

Goldstein said, "Forest City Ratner has traded office space, and promised jobs for luxury condominium space, so the company can gain additional profits at the expense of our communities. Why can't the Mayor and our other elected officials tell the public the truth about the Ratner proposal?"

Posted by lumi at September 20, 2005 9:10 PM