July 11, 2007
"Projects change, markets change"? Actually, Ratner planned condos from the start
Here's the gist of it from another Atlantic Yards Report must-read.
YOU MAY RECALL:
FCR scored a public relations coup, signing a 50/50 affordable housing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the community group ACORN. The fine print, however, designated the agreement as applying only to rental units.
LESS THAN TWO WEEKS LATER
Forest City announced that the project could add 1500 to 2800 condos, because of a tradeoff with office space and the addition of another building, at Site V.
Then Ratner and ACORN told everyone that it was still 50-50, because the deal only applied to the rentals. It took critics months, if not a year, to convince reporters and the public that the highly touted 50-50 plan really only included something between 31-37.50% "affordable" units, depending upon the version of the plan (there are two).
HERE'S THE BOMB:
According to p. 17 of a presentation (3.2 MB PDF) to the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) on 9/29/03, six weeks before the project was unveiled, the developer planned nearly 1 million square feet of condos, or about 1000 units at 1000 square feet per apartment.
That condo plan persisted, as shown in the excerpt of a 2/18/04 business plan.
...in a 6/28/04 document presented to the ESDC, Forest City Ratner privately repeated its intention to add condos, again citing the recommendation from the Department of City Planning that apparently about 128,000 square feet of condo space would be cut.
However, the condo plan was not just alive, but growing. A 4/28/05 presentation (below) to the ESDC, in which Forest City sketched its version of the General Project Plan that the state agency itself would issue.
It contemplated that four of 16 towers would include condos, encompassing some 1.5 million square feet. (An alternate plan would have had condos in six buildings.) Interestingly, none of the buildings in the project's first phase would have included affordable housing.
BAIT... (MAY, 2005)
Some three weeks later, Forest City and ACORN signed the 50/50 plan to great fanfare, with no public inkling that the project would include any residential component other than rentals.
A week after that Housing MOU press conference, with ACORN on board, Stuckey told City Council that the project plan had changed, and could contain an additional 2800 condos.
Read the full article for more details and supporting documents.
NoLandGrab: Holy prevaricators, no wonder the State and Ratner really tried to keep these documents under wraps!
Though Jim Stuckey wanted people to believe that "projects change, markets change," things between Forest City Ratner and the government remain the same.
One secret that ACORN Director Bertha Lewis will likely take to her grave is whether or not she was blindsided by or complicit in the deception. Either she was aware of the additional condos in advance of signing the Affordable Housing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or learned about them after the fact when it was too late to protest because, according to the MOU, she was contractually obliged to "publicly support the Project."
Posted by lumi at July 11, 2007 8:28 AM