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June 11, 2007

The income mix for AY affordable units already changed; could it change again?

Atlantic Yards Report

The inaugural issue of City Limits Investigates, which focuses on affordable housing, points out that, with some construction costs rising 1% a month, a lack of cheap land, and limits on governmental contributions, Mayor Mike Bloomberg's New Housing Marketplace Plan may "never get to 165,000 units--or if it does, that the housing produced will not meet the most pressing needs."

Indeed, to get there, city housing officials acknowledge, the cost pressure "could change the complexion of the affordable housing they are delivering." (Or, perhaps, more funds must be sought from other sources, including borough presidents.)

Does that mean that the complexion of Atlantic Yards--the profile of the affordable units--might change? Maybe, but the important thing to realize is that it has changed already.

Norman Oder analyzes the Atlantic Yards affordable housing proposal, how it has already changed, and where there might still be wiggle-room:

The most stringent requirement is that 20% of the rentals go to low-income households earning under 50% of the AMI. Perhaps the upper income bound will be adjusted to 175% of AMI, which is permitted under city subsidy programs. Even though that would seem to violate the Housing MOU, it's hard to imagine that ACORN, which hasn't criticized delays in the project and other impediments to affordable housing, would raise a stink.

Still, if we don't have an inkling for Forest City Ratner's development fees, costs, and profits, it's hard to tell whether a tweaking of the income mix is needed to get the project built or just to drive the return FCR's parent company wants for its shareholders.

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Posted by lumi at June 11, 2007 10:19 AM