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July 1, 2007

Official Sees Possible Risk in Big Project in Brooklyn

NY Times

The Times publishes a lengthy article about the recently released (due to a lawsuit) internal documents from the Empire State Development Corporation. Brooklyn assemblyman James F. Brennan was one of the lawsuit participants and he is quoted in the article, calling the Atlantic Yards proposal "risky," and the weak affordable housing aspect "disturbing."

Interviews with real estate developers and brokers not connected to the project indicate that estimates of the construction costs for the project’s 6,430 apartments are low compared with some other developments in Brooklyn, where a residential building boom is pushing up construction prices. And Forest City’s projections for the future sale of the project’s roughly 2,000 condominium apartments seem optimistic, forecasting high volume at prices that have barely been tested in Brooklyn.

Mr. Brennan said he worried that Forest City could be forced to scale back or even abandon later phases of the project if the real estate market sours, putting at risk some of the 2,250 units of subsidized rental housing planned. Most of those units are scheduled to be built during the project’s later years of construction, as are most of the market-rate units.
The documents also provide a window into the considerable resources Forest City poured into early plans for the project, promoting it to the public, and getting it approved in a city that has proven inhospitable to some recent attempts at large-scale development. Those costs amounted to $19.5 million, according to one document, including money for litigation, public relations and Mr. Gehry’s initial designs.


Posted by amy at July 1, 2007 11:53 AM