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March 21, 2008

Atlantic Yards: Affordable Housing Still on the Table

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
by Dennis Holt

Perhaps still addled by his brush with the Nets dancers, Eagle columnist Dennis Holt rushes to Forest City Ratner's defense, prattling on erroneously (for the second time this week) about how the developer has secured affordable-housing bonds for Atlantic Yards — a claim convincingly debunked just moments ago by Atlantic Yards Report (see below).

That affordable housing still is on the front burner is seen in the decision last week by the New York State Housing Authority to grant Forest City a share of the $628.5 million in tax-exempt bond funding for the Atlantic Yards project.

Holt also does his best to try to pin any affordable-housing backsliding on Atlantic Yards critics, and lets his readers in on the real motivation behind today's Page One Times story.

The one thing that has to give some concern to the hard-line opponents of the project is the scorn that will descend on them if some of the affordable housing elements are compromised because of all of the frivolous lawsuits that have been filed.

It is evident that Forest City cooperated on the Times story; it is even likely they may have pitched it. If so, the story could be a form of stage setting to establish that point.

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Atlantic Yards Report, State housing bonds for AY? Eagle says yes, state says no

It's common knowledge that Forest City Ratner is working only on the Atlantic Yards arena, not any of the housing. So, has the project gained state affordable housing financing, as the Brooklyn Daily Eagle has reported twice?

No. A spokesman for the state housing finance agency told me that the Eagle coverage was inaccurate and that a separate Forest City Ratner project, at 80 DeKalb Avenue northwest of the AY site in Fort Greene, "was selected to move forward in the HFA application process."

Philip Lentz, Director of Communications for the NYS Housing Finance Agency/State of New York Mortgage Agency, stated, "If ultimately approved by the HFA board, Forest City would get $109.5 million in tax-exempt bonds over three years. This would help finance a 365-unit development, of which 73 units would be affordable.... Last week, we notified the four developers selected. You should be aware that the project has just been selected to move forward in our application process. It must still be approved by the HFA board."

Posted by eric at March 21, 2008 4:23 PM