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July 11, 2007

Jeffries, Montgomery call for Ratner to abandon 421-a "carve-out"

Atlantic Yards Report

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, whose districts include the Atlantic Yards footprint, have publicly called on developer Forest City Ratner to abandon the "Atlantic Yards carve-out" in the 421-a law passed by the Legislature (but not yet signed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who has not indicated whether he'd veto it) and adhere to the law as it will apply to every other development in the city.

The two legislators have not typically allied on Atlantic Yards issues. Jeffries has been a cautious supporter of the project, more or less, while Montgomery has stood in staunch opposition. The legislators, in their July 6 letter, note that more than $300 million has been committed by the city and state to the project and criticize the "eleventh-hour, highly secretive deal" that led to the carve-out.

article (official press statement and full text of letter after the jump)

PRESS STATEMENT

ASSEMBLYMAN JEFFRIES CALLS ON BRUCE RATNER TO PUBLICLY ABANDON 421-A CARVE-OUT PROVISION

Brooklyn, NY -- Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries, joined by State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, today released a letter sent to Bruce Ratner that calls on Forest City Ratner Companies to publicly abandon the 421-a Atlantic Yards carve-out provision and adhere to the law as it will apply to every other development in New York City.


July 6, 2007

Bruce Ratner President and Chief Executive Officer Forest City Ratner Companies 1 MetroTech Center North Brooklyn, New York 11201

Dear Mr. Ratner:

As representatives of Prospect Heights in the New York State Legislature, we write with respect to the Atlantic Yards Project that you plan to build in our community, and recent events connected to the 421-a property tax exemption law.

The City and State have presently committed in excess of $300 million in government subsidies to make the Atlantic Yards development possible, notwithstanding significant public discomfort and outright opposition to the project. In order to justify the substantial government subsidies, Forest City Ratner Companies ("FCRC") has consistently touted the "innovative Atlantic Yards housing program," as you have called it.

Pursuant to this housing program, FCRC will build 4,500 rental units, with 2,250 apartments set aside for low and moderate income families. FCRC also plans to build 1,930 condominium units as part of the Atlantic Yards development. On the eve of the Public Authorities Control Board vote in December 2006, FCRC committed to build 200 of these units on-site, as condominiums that are affordable to working and moderate income families. Please confirm in writing by Friday, July 13, 2007 if this is not your understanding.

The 421-a program, as recently pass by the Legislature, if signed by Governor Spitzer, requires 20% affordability at 60% AMI, in any apartment building that receives a tax exemption. However, because of an eleventh-hour, highly -secretive deal negotiated by the Real Estate Board of New York on behalf of FCRC, an Atlantic Yards carve-out provision will permit you to evade these requirements, unlike any other development in the entire City of New York. This preferential, lobbyist-negotiated treatment is completely unacceptable and undermines the integrity of the entire project.

Accordingly, FCRC should publicly commit to comply with the 421-a law, as applicable to everyone else, and build at least 20% of the condominium units in each luxury condominium building in a manner that is affordable to low and moderate income families. Anything short of publicly abandoning the special treatment set forth in the Atlantic Yards carve-out provision would justify a complete re-examination of the project by all appropriate government entities.

Sincerely,

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Posted by lumi at July 11, 2007 10:15 AM