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March 15, 2010

Best Buy at East River Plaza Hired Less Than a Third of Workers From East Harlem

DNAinfo
by Jon Schuppe

Here's what happens when Bruce Ratner signs unenforceable agreements with the community — or the "community."

When East Harlem welcomes Best Buy on March 26, less than a third of the people working there will be from the neighborhood, local officials say.

That’s a lower percentage than at Costco, the first retailer to open at East River Plaza, a shopping plaza that was built overlooking the FDR Drive last year with promises to take 60 percent of workers from East Harlem. Costco took 37 percent of its workers from the neighborhood before laying off scores of people.

"The fact of the matter is that we are at half of what we were looking for,” Community Board 11 Chairman Matthew Washington said.
...

...there’s a possibility that the goal of taking 60 percent of hires from the neighborhood, written into an agreement called a memorandum of understanding between the community board and the malls’ developers, simply wasn’t realistic.

“There are a lot of unknowns,” Washington said. “We can’t put a bulls-eye on the reason for the numbers being lower than what hoped for.”

The memorandum of understanding with Tiago, a partnership of Forest City Ratner Companies and Blumenfeld Development Group, was signed after the community board agreed to allow overnight truck deliveries at the shopping center.

That document wasn’t legally binding, but was important to a neighborhood with a 17 percent unemployment rate and where a quarter of residents use food stamps.

article

NoLandGrab: "Wasn't realistic?" Or wasn't credible?

Don't worry, Brooklyn, surely Bruce Ratner will live up to his Atlantic Yards promises. This time will be different. No, really. That was just a Memorandum of Understanding. This is a Community Benefits Agreement.

Posted by eric at March 15, 2010 2:03 PM