Continuing the discussion from NEW YORK | Flatbush Ave Corridor (DoBro + BAM + AY):
At hearing on environmental review, some surface consensus on timing; electeds call for new oversight, including of impacts; Forest City speaks; housing partner hints at de Blasio boost
Thursday, May 01, 2014
Put aside the public theater—some rude satire about Forest City Ratner’s new Chinese partner, a couple of literal dog-and-pony shows, some told-ya-so’s from both sides—a curious, partial consensus on Atlantic Yards was vocalized by both critics and proponents at a hearing last night.
Build Atlantic Yards now, they said, to deliver the benefits, predominantly affordable housing, given the promised 2250 subsidized units among 6430 apartments in 16 towers, only one under construction.
But it wasn’t that simple, given vastly different levels of trust in the developer, That’s why the atmosphere inside the auditorium at Long Island University sometimes got heated in a hearing that began shortly after 5:30 pm, lasted past 10 pm, and drew perhaps 140 people, a majority of them project critics. Proponents want hands off, critics a new oversight entity.
Atlantic Yards supporters, many working off the same talking points, called for an expedited review and approval of the pending documents before Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency charged with overseeing and promoting Atlantic Yards: the Draft Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SEIS) and changes to the Modified General Project Plan to cut parking and shift some bulk from Phase 1 to Phase 2.
“Benefits cannot be realized if there continues to be litigation regarding the project,” stated numerous people, including union members, representatives of Business Improvement Districts, and those connected to the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement, but also others who cited benefits like jobs or new business. “It is very important that we do not put any more restraints on this project.” (See talking points at bottom, distributed by Forest City.)
But ESD (also known as Empire State Development Corporation) in 2009 agreed to let Forest City have 25 years, rather than the oft-cited ten years (and the 15-year period studied in the environmental review, on the effects if delayed), to build the project and a state judge slammed the agency for misleading the public, and thus ordered this new environmental review.
The first tower, B2, was delayed as Forest City conceived its cost-saving modular plan, and a once-announced two-year construction schedule has been delayed another year.