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September 22, 2009
If Forest City Ratner has breached its deal with ACORN, why has ACORN maintained support?
Atlantic Yards Report
ACORN, we should remember, has stuck by Forest City Ratner even though the developer has likely breached the deal ACORN signed.
A reader points out that, in writing about public comments by the president of New York State ACORN, I left out part of the May 2005 Housing Memorandum of Understanding, agreed to "take reasonable steps to publicly support the project by, among other things, appearing with the developer before the Public Parties, community organizations, and the media."
The ACORN obligation
The preamble states:
As long as the Project will include the ACORN/ATLANTIC YARDS 50/50 Program as described in paragraph 1, ACORN agrees to take reasonable steps to publicly support the project by, among other things, appearing with the developer before the Public Parties, community organizations, and the media.
The 50/50 program
What was described in paragraph 1?
Developer shall develop fifty (50%) of the Residential Project as affordable housing in accordance with the ACORN/ATLANTIC Yards 50/50 program. Based on a projected number of units of 4,500 the affordable commitment will be 2,250 units.
However, just a week after the press conference announcing that deal, Forest City Ratner announced changes, proposing either an addition of 1500 market-rate condos while maintaining the same amount of office space, or reducing the office space and planning for 2800 condos. Now the number of proposed condos has been reduced to 1930.
As noted in Paragraph 5 of the MOU, if the number of units in the project should increase "for any reason that the Developer determines to be economically necessary," the developer and ACORN would try to follow the 50/50 program.
Have they done so? Forest City Ratner has agreed to build 600 to 1000 affordable for-sale units, not matching the announced 1930 condo units. But that agreement has never been part of documents approved by the Empire State Development Corporation.
Posted by eric at September 22, 2009 11:13 AM