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July 14, 2007

On 421-a, Brennan revises stance, FCR’s Bender distorts history

Atlantic Yards Report

As Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery this week called for developer Forest City Ratner to abandon the “Atlantic Yards carve-out” in the reform of the city’s 421-a tax exemption, Assemblyman Jim Brennan, who’s been a critic of aspects of the project, seemed like the odd man out--until now.

The State Legislature has passed the revised bill but it has yet to be signed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Various forces, including the city administration, are calling for a revision or a veto. Brennan had told the New York Observer’s blog The Real Estate Observer that “It’s not a carve-out… The only thing that happened was that Atlantic Yards got grandfathered in.”

That seemed inaccurate, given that there’s a special provision that could only apply to Atlantic Yards, allowing the requirement of 20 percent affordable housing to be spread over the project as a whole rather than applied to each building, as the law otherwise would require, and also nudging up the income limit for Atlantic Yards affordable units. (Instead of requiring affordable housing at 60% of Area Median Income, at Atlantic Yards the limit would be 70%.)

Revised stance

Brennan told me yesterday he’s revised his stance: “I’ve been thinking through that a lot. The main bill I actually support. I’d still like to see the 421-a renegotiated, because I’d like to see Atlantic Yards back on the table. I had a factual misunderstanding... I would be happy if Spitzer vetoed the bill, because I’d like to see some rethinking of Atlantic Yards and the program. If he didn’t veto the bill, I still think there’s a lot of people who want to see a renegotiation.”

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Posted by amy at July 14, 2007 11:12 AM