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September 23, 2005

A letter from a Jewish Week subscriber: What Will Ratner Reap?

Re: "What Will Ratner Reap?," September 23, 2005

To the editor:

The article on the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn (What Will Ratner Reap? 9/23/05) erroneously stated that the project would include "thousands of new units of low-income housing."

Of the initial 4,500 rental units, half (2,250) were designated as "affordable"--not 2,500 as claimed by Ratner's spokesman. Of those rentals, 900 would go to those earning under Brooklyn's $35,000 median income. The remaining 1,350 affordable units are middle-income housing, as the median income, according to the developer's own economic consultant, would be $75,000.

So that leaves 2,250 market-rate rentals, plus an additional 2,800 market-rate condos. Essentially, this is a luxury housing deal.

Moreover, the project would be located in the neighborhood of Prospect Heights, not--as the developer has said--"downtown Brooklyn."

As for the Community Benefits Agreement touted by Forest City Ratner's spokesman, well, experts on such agreements told the City Council in May that this one isn't legitimate because it includes hand-picked allies of the developer.

I, like many other Jewish residents in nearby neighborhoods, have questioned this project because of the misleading information issued by the developer--statements which have been too little scrutinized by the press. I recently completed a study critiquing the New York Times's coverage of the Atlantic Yards plan (see www.dddb.net/times).

Norman Oder

Posted by lumi at September 23, 2005 09:27 PM