Monday, January 23, 2017

When will 550 Vanderbilt open? It has a TCO for six floors and nearly half the units

For a while, the 550 Vanderbilt web site has promised 2016 occupancy, as shown in the screenshot at right, but that didn't happen.

So when might be building open?

Last November, Forest City Realty Trust, parent of Forest City Ratner, which is the local component of the joint venture Greenland Forest City Partners, estimated that the building would be opening between the first and third quarters of 2017. That means it could start as late as March 31 but potentially sooner.

According to the Department of Building's page, on 12/16/15 550 Vanderbilt got a 30-day Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) for four floors.

And on 1/4/17, it got a second 30-day TCO, indicating that the first six floors could be occupied. That's at least 131 apartments, nearly half of the 278-unit building.

So stay tuned. Perhaps we'll learn more at tomorrow's meeting.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Barclays Center event calendars from December 2016 through March 2017

In October 2016, after not seeing the monthly calendars from the Barclays Center that estimate the expected crowd for ticketed (and non-ticketed) events since May 2016, I posted screenshots of ticketed arena events June through November.

That omitted the non-ticketed events, which sometimes can be disruptive and surely should be announced publicly as well, with attendance estimates. We've been told such calendars will be issued, but until then here's a stopgap, with screenshots from the web site covering December through March of ticketed events. Non-ticketed events are absent, and more ticketed events should be added,

Note that the last two days of December were blank, not by design, but because Kanye West canceled. Note that the Brooklyn Food and Wine Festival scheduled for Feb. 17-18 was postponed until an unspecified later date. And note that the chunk of events in late February and early March for the Ringling Bros. Circus will have to be filled in future years by other family-friendly events, given the closing of the circus.

By my count, the event totals compared to the previous year, which was the first New York Islanders season, are:
December, 20 (previous year: 18)
January, 21 (previous year: 21)
February, 25 (previous year: 25 )
March, 26 (previous year: 33)
Note that the previous year totals include non-ticketed events, so the comparison is imprecise.

20 events in 19 days

21 events in 21 days

25 events in 19 days

26 events in 26 days

Saturday, January 21, 2017

At REBNY Banquet, an award for Forest City's Gilmartin, who stresses gender equity

REBNY in the Times
So the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) held its annual banquet the other night, bestowing awards, and the real estate press was there to preview and take in the bonhomie.

But perhaps the biggest sign of its clout was the budget to publish a 16-page special section in the New York Times on 1/19/17, complete with discreet praise for "Rebny's Tradition of Supporting Candidates" via "an independent expenditure committee," Jobs for New York, and advocacy to ensure that changes to the rules regarding EB-5 immigrant investor visas continue "to bring much-needed foreign investment to New York City projects and developments."

Gilmartin steps up

The  Commercial Observer quoted Chairman Rob Speyer about new members of the Executive Committee: “MaryAnne [Gilmartin], Jed [Walentas] and Marc [Holliday] will help REBNY fulfill its primary goal to fully engage and expand our membership. They are also involved in refining our policy agenda, including promoting incentives for the creation of housing at all income levels.”

Incentives, huh? That means tax breaks, which some might even call "free stuff."

Apparently Forest City Ratner, which Gilmartin heads, sees itself as an outlier, which, in part, it is:
“[Speyer] came to me and said, ‘We need you,’ ” [Gilmartin] recalled. “I talked about how I wasn’t so certain that it really was an organization that responded to the things I cared about and the things that were important to me and us as a company.”
Speyer told her that REBNY had to be an organization that did reflect the needs of her company, Gilmartin said. A whopping 60 percent of the company’s executives are female; the company’s vice president of leasing was born in Iran and raised in Canada. It had to be a group that represented the changes within the real estate industry, as well as one that was responsive to how the city was changing.
But not really speaking to Central Brooklyn there, are they?

In the video below, from Bisnow, Gilmartin at about 1:33 of the video does declare, "Brooklyn's in the house."

To REBNY, dominated by white guys, Gilmartin is an outlier. According to the Real Deal, Gilmartin dedicated her lifetime achievement award to "all the women whose talents and ambitions were overlooked and underrated by our industry." She even successfully prevailed on changing the dress code at the gala, so black tie wasn't required.

By the way, check out the enigmatic, not-quite-smiling photo of Gilmartin the Real Deal took.

The press release

From the 11/1/16 press release announcing the awards:
MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Forest City Ratner Companies, the New York office of Forest City Realty Trust, Inc., will receive The Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Leadership in Real Estate Award for her exceptional accomplishments in the profession, leadership, and service to the real estate industry over the course of her distinguished career.
MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), a New York-based real estate development company, has been point person in the development of some of the most high profile real estate projects in New York City including the Barclays Center, The New York Times Building, and New York by Gehry, the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere. In addition to these projects, Gilmartin has managed the commercial portfolio at MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn. Most recently, Gilmartin led the efforts to build out Pacific Park Brooklyn as well as the Bridge at Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island. Among her philanthropic contributions, Gilmartin served on the New York City Ballet Advisory Board and currently serves as a Board Trustee for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM); a member of REBNY’s Executive Committee and Board of Governors; and as a member of the Industry Advisory Board of the MS Real Estate Development Program at Columbia University. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a member of the Board of Directors of global investment banking firm, the Jefferies Group LLC, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the New York Public Radio.
Also, Carl Weisbrod, the outgoing Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission and Director of the New York City Department of City Planning, received The John E. Zuccotti Public Service Award, which was presented for the first time at REBNY’s 121st Annual Banquet.

A vague agenda for Tuesday's Quality of Life Community Update meeting

OK, there's an agenda for the Quality of Life Community Update meeting on Tuesday at 6 pm, but it's not terribly revealing. I previously suggested some issues to address.
  1. Empire State Development (ESD) – Nicole Jordan
  2. Atlantic Yards Community Development Corp. (AYCDC) – Tobi Jaiyesimi
  3. NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) –Abby Ikner
  4. Greenland Forest City Partners (GLFC) – Ashley Cotton 
  • a. Updates

  • b. Barclays Center

  • Friday, January 20, 2017

    38 Sixth will have a "state-of-the-art healthcare facility," but who is it for? And who's paying?

    The health center is coming fairly soon, but what exactly is it?

    It's The Pacific Park Brooklyn web site tells us, "Stay healthy and strong with a new state-of-the-art healthcare facility."

    It sounds like a nice feature to have in the new real estate complex you might be moving into. And it may be.

    After all, the 23,000 sf health clinic in 38 Sixth (aka B3), on four floors, including 2,739 at ground floor, will be no doc-in-the-box. But the genesis of the clinic is the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement, where it was noted for being "affordable to low-income families."

    A fact sheet distributed when
     38 Sixth was funded (click to enlarge)
    So, will the state-of-the-art facility be geared to the mostly well-heeled residents of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park? Or to low-income families? Maybe both. We'll see. (Curiously, there's no mention yet on the 38 Sixth web site.)

    The history

    According to the June 2005 Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (p. 26, and excerpted at bottom), the project developer and the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA) "will work with an appropriate health care provider that will operate a community health care center" within the project.

    The center will provide "comprehensive quality primary care" and include:
    • a health care clinic
    • health promotion center
    • health library
    • screening and wellness center
    The developer is supposed to consult with the DBNA and program providers on the design, just as with the day care facility (aka "intergenerational center").

    Who'll pay?

    As with the intergenerational center I wrote about yesterday, there's wiggle room regarding costs. To ensure it's affordable to low-income households, the space will be provided "at rent and terms to be agreed on."

    The developer may provide, at its expense, the initial tenant buildout, which may be recovered by lease terms. The developer is not obligated to provide ongoing funding. So perhaps elected officials may be asked for help.

    More history

    From the November 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement, Project Description:
    The proposed project would also include a 20,000-sf health care facility that would provide a broad range of health care services to the community. Services at this proposed facility (program being developed) could include primary care and preventative services, specialty care, diagnostic testing and ancillary services and related support services to improve the management of prevalent chronic diseases. This health center would occupy a portion of the residential space and would be constructed during Phase I.
    From the DBNA

    The DBNA, one of the few if only CBA signatories still active, states on its website:
    Our Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA) Health Care Facility is part of creative change that will offer new opportunities for improving health in the communities of the Atlantic Yards footprint. As per the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), the Health Care Facility is described as follows:
    [AY/PPR: This isn't precise, actually. For example, the wellness center is described only generally in the CBA.] 
    "The Project Developer and the DBNA will work with an appropriate health care provider that will operate a community health care center to be located within a building at the Project. The center shall provide comprehensive quality primary care at client convenient hours, and will include a health care clinic, health promotion center, a library, screening center, and wellness center. The Health Care Clinic will provide primary care in areas that will be determined based on community needs assessment, real-time services being provided by existing health facilities and statistics from the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Health Promotion Center will provide a variety of health information and education sessions to patients and family members. The library will be a user friendly continual source of online information and print material on a plethora of health issues of concern to the community. It will also provide steps to take in a particular situation and steps in handling the threat of illness. The Screening Center is intended to provide screenings to support the services of the clinic. The Wellness Center will provide alternative medicine opportunities to include, but not be limited to, massage therapy and acupuncture.”
    From the CBA

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

    From the latest Construction Update: new work at B3 site and around railyard

    According to the latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Alert (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Jan 16 and circulated yesterday at 3:59 pm (way late) by Empire State Development after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners (GFCP), there should be new work at the B3 site and around the Vanderbilt Yard.

    At B3, aka 38 Sixth Avenue, site work along the rear of the building should commence, as should roofing on floors 9, 14, and the Main Roof/Bulkhead.

    Repairs to the approach slap [sic; probably "slab"] at the southern end of the Sixth Avenue Bridge may begin at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Pacific Street. The work will require traffic lanes to be shifted, but traffic will remain two-way.

    Water and sewer utility installations are expected to begin inside the fencing along Atlantic Avenue.

    After hours work

    As in previous weeks, there may be Saturday work. Saturday work could occur at B2 (461 Dean), B3, B11 (550 Vanderbilt), B12 (615 Dean Street), and B14 (535 Carlton). Then again, pretty much nothing has been happening at B12.

    Weekday foundation pile installation in the area the B5 site--east of Sixth Avenue, between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue--may extend work hours up to 5:30 pm and may occur on Saturdays. Decisions to extend hours will be made on an ad hoc basis.

    The demolition that hasn't happened

    As stated in the past 16 construction updates, demolition at Block 1120, the railyard block between Sixth and Carlton avenues, could commence upon receipt of Department of Buildings and Department of Transportation permits. A community notice will be distributed. Maybe it's not actually going to happen.

    When's that day care center "going in"? Once destined for final affordable building, so 2025? Or later?

    It was just a casual aside in some fashionista blogger's paid-for gush over the 550 Vanderbilt condo tower: "There’s a roof deck with a gorgeous view for dinner parties, a daycare center going in Pacific Park and tons of retail and restaurants a stone’s throw away."

    Oh, a day care center? When exactly is that "going in"?

    Answer: not soon, not at all.

    Also, while the gush suggested the day care center as serving market-rate purchasers of million-dollar apartments, the center's justification is to serve the poor.

    The promised 15,000 square foot "intergenerational center," with child care, youth and senior centers sharing corridors and an atrium--as touted by the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, whose Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance in 2005 signed the Community Benefits Agreement--was as of 2014 projected to be in Building 6, due in February 2025.

    That's in the middle of the center railyard block, which requires a costly deck. According to the tentative 2014 schedule below, it would've been one of the final two buildings, both opening that month.

    That, as I explain below, represented a delay compared to the previous timetable, because of a new, more conservative formula--one I question--to calculate the expected need from low-income families. But even that now may be overoptimistic.

    Building 6, aka B6, was once projected as opening in February 2025
    New timetable

    That would have been the end of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park construction, given a 2025 deadline for the affordable housing and a presumed simultaneous deadline for the rest of the project.

    However, last November developer Forest City Realty Trust announced unspecified delays, with a financial model extending to 2035, which could mean completion of construction just a few years earlier, in the 2030s.

    That doesn't necessarily mean the affordable housing won't be done by 2025, but it also raises questions about that deadline. Remember, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park is a "never say never" project.

    (Remember, the original timetable 2006 pledge was ten years, and was later extended to 2035, a 25-year buildout. A 2025 deadline would mean a 16-year buildout from the 2009 approval. But now it could be longer.)

    One building, not three

    Despite the DBNA website suggestion (excerpt below) that the three centers would be in "three freestanding buildings," the approximately 15,000-sf community center would be in just one tower.

    Same location, different buildout pattern, different logic

    The timetable to build the center is new, and not just because of the murky schedule.

    Instead of being in one of the first buildings in Phase 2, east of the arena block, it would be among the last. The full 100 child care slots would be needed only as the low- and moderate-income affordable housing units--which are backloaded, as I wrote, due to a recent skew to middle-income affordable units--get built out.

    That's according to some 2014 calculations by Empire State Development, the state authority overseeing/sheperding the project. Those calculations revised 2006 figures. Here's what's changed:
    • they're now counting available child care centers in a 1.5-mile study area, not 1 mile, which lowers the burden on the Pacific Park site to provide space
    • fewer children from low- to moderate-income households are estimated  to need subsidized day care than previously assumed. Instead of one child from about every three apartments needing such day care, only one from every five apartments would require such services. 
    Why? State officials now estimate that more of those households would use family-based or informal child care services, an assumption I think may be optimistic, given the overall tenor of Pacific Park apartments.

    Bottom line: they haven't abandoned the promise. But, as with some other aspects of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, it looks like an attenuation of a promise.

    There is also a vague statement that "project sponsors have committed to monitor and, if necessary, work with" the city to provide up to "250 additional child care slots either on-site or in the vicinity of the site to meet Project-generated demand."

    On site? Surely they can make more money by leasing on-site retail space.

    I'd add that the 2014 analysis made no mention of Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan for Universal pre-K, which provides spots for all four-year-olds, and which could change all calculations.

    High hopes in 2006

    This was once a very big deal, at least rhetorically. Consider fervent, florid testimony at the 8/23/06 public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

    Dr. Karen Smith Daughtry, wife of the Rev. Daughtry, declared, "The educator that I am and having more than 35 years of experience working with youth, children and seniors, the possibilities of what an intergenerational initiative will bring for our youth, our seniors and our young people, bringing them together in this dismal time in our history as a nation, is one of the lights of hope on the horizon."

    (Did "our" mean Brooklynites? Atlantic Yards residents? Black Central Brooklynites? People associated with the House of the Lord Church? Clarity was lost in the rhetoric.)

    The Rev. Daughtry followed up, in punchy, preacherly tones, "We support this project because... it will provide an intergenerational center. And guess what, guess what, we have participated in the design of the complex.... It will provide a place for our young, a place for the seniors, a place for the youth to come together in an atrium designed by us."

    From the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement
    He made it sound like some sort of community project, rather than one with some community input.

    The Community Benefits Agreement states (p. 28, exceprted at right) that plans will be made available to the DBNA "for review and comment" but that "design shall be in accordance with the physical guidelines of appropriate New York City agencies."

    (If "designed by us" goes by the pattern of the Barclays Center Meditation Room," the Daughtry family will have a key role.)

    Who's paying for the new center? According to the CBA, the developer will provide the space "at reasonable rent and terms to be agreed upon."

    While the developer will pay for the initial tenant buildout, that will be repaid by public or private funds, or "during later lease years, to the extent that such remuneration is not detrimental to the operation of the center." In other words, stay tuned.

    Shifting timing

    The center is supposed to accommodate "at least 100 children with publicly funded vouchers available to income-eligible households."

    According to the first Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments (2009) regarding Atlantic Yards, the day care center was supposed to be built and opened "by the date of occupancy of the first Phase II residential building not containing a school," though that could be delayed if there were adequate nearby facilities to accommodate demand for subsidized day care services.

    Obscured in the new Second Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments, produced in 2014 upon the establishment of a new 2025 timetable for the affordable units, was a key change delaying the promised day care center.

    How long? According to the updated memo, the day care center must be operating by the time "that certificates of occupancy have been issued for 620 of the Phase II affordable housing units targeted to households earning up to 80% AMI [Area Median Income]," though again delays are possible if there's sufficient alternate capacity.

    That very specific guideline, as I explain below, likely means it would be among one of the last towers built.

    Looking at the sequence

    Below is a tentative buildout plan recent prepared in 2014 by Forest City Ratner. Only five towers in Phase 2, indicated in purple, would contain affordable units. The first three would have a total of 942 overall affordable units, but not 620 targeted to households earning up to 80% AMI.
    Tentative plan: pink annotation represents Phase 1 buildings with affordable units; purple annotation represents Phase 2
    Only when the final two towers are built, B5 and B6, would another 550 units be added. That would clearly trigger the 620 minimum needed to get the day care center operating.

    Below, a 2014 draft document provided to ESD indicates that B6 would be the target location.

    Previous promises, 2006

    The promise has evolved. From the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement, Chapter 5: Community Facilities:
    Child care facilities in the area surrounding the project site would be able to accommodate the increased population of children 12 years old or younger, introduced by the proposed project in 2010. The proposed project in 2016 would include the development of an intergenerational facility that would contain a day care center with more than 100 seats, which would increase the future study area’s day care capacity, and would be publicly funded or accept Agency for Child Development (ACD) [subsidized] vouchers....
    According to the CEQR Technical Manual, a publicly funded day care center analysis is required if a project would result in more than 50 eligible children based on the number of low to moderate-income housing units provided. The proposed project would introduce approximately 333 and 1,350 new low- to moderate-income units by 2010 and 2016, respectively. Based on these numbers of new low- to moderate-income units, approximately 120 and 486 children under the age of 12 would be eligible for publicly funded day care in 2010 and 2016, respectively. 
    (Emphasis added) 
    From Final EIS
    Revised promises, 2014 Final SEIS

    From the 2014 Final Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), Chapter 1, Project Description:
    At the time of the 2006 FEIS, a 100-seat child care facility was planned as part of the Project. While the 2006 FEIS did not identify any significant adverse child care impacts, the analysis of publicly funded child care facilities in the 2009 Technical Memorandum found that the updated background conditions and updated methodologies would result in additional demand for publicly funded child care facilities in the study area, which could result in a future shortfall of child care slots. Therefore, the project sponsors have committed to monitor and, if necessary, work with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to provide up to approximately 250 additional child care slots either on-site or in the vicinity of the site to meet Project-generated demand. Chapter 4B, “Operational Community Facilities,” of this SEIS updates the analysis of anticipated day care demand.
    Chapter 4, Operational Community Facilities, explains why the analysis changed, lowering the projected need:
    Changed background conditions include new enrollment data and updated enrollment projections. With regard to methodology, the CEQR Technical Manual calls for an analysis for a 1.5 mile study area, whereas the 2006 FEIS and 2009 Technical Memorandum analyzed child care facilities within a 1-mile study area. The current multiplier for calculating demand for child care slots (0.178 eligible children per unit of affordable housing for households earning up to 80 percent area median income [AMI]) has also been changed. As a result of this change, the number of eligible children that would be introduced by Phase I and Phase II of the Project (198) is lower than the number projected in the 2006 FEIS (486) and the 2009 Technical Memorandum (537).
    Under the revised methodology, it is projected that Phase II would introduce 160 children under the age of 6 who are eligible for public child care services, based on 900 affordable units that would be targeted to households earning up to 80 percent AMI. With the addition of the additional Phase II children (including demand from background development projects—taking into account Phase I of the Project—in the Future Without Phase II and also taking into account the provision of a 100-slot child care facility), child care facilities in the study area would operate at 126.58 percent utilization, with a deficit of 588 slots, 160 of which would be attributable to Phase II. Total enrollment in the study area would increase to 2,802 children, compared with a capacity of 2,214 slots, which represents an increase in the utilization rate of 1.58 percentage points over the No Action condition. 
    (Emphases added)

    Though the 160 students in Phase 2 might be too many for the 100-slot child care center, and there may be a deficit in the area, because the overall increase in the area caused by the project is relatively small, there's no "significant adverse impact.

    Also, as noted in the same chapter, other factors--including home-based child care and public centers outside of the study area--could reduce demand from households in the project.

    How did the ratio change?

    How did the ratio decline to 0.178 eligible children per unit of affordable housing for households up to 80% of AMI? (That's essentially saying that it would take at least five units to have one small child needing publicly-funded day care.)

    In the 2009 Technical Memorandum, the ratio was 0.53 children per low-income and low- to moderate-income unit.

    According to a footnote in the 2014 document, "the CEQR Technical Manual multiplier is based on 2005-2007 American Community Survey data for children under age 6, at 200 percent Federal Poverty Level or below, and has been adjusted to exclude eligible children who would be expected to utilize family-based or informal child care services."

    Sure, people use households use family-based or informal child care services. But those services, to my observation, are generally more available in lower-income communities or ones in which relatives are more likely to live nearby.

    Thus, it's less likely that a stay-at-home mom living in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, which is mostly well-off households, would have the space and inclination to run a child care business from home. (And wouldn't that violate the lease?) And low-income households are not likely to have relatives immediately nearby.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017

    Leasing for 535 Carlton seems delayed; will move-ins start in March or April?

    When will 535 Carlton start leasing up?

    Well, the Work in Progress sign on the scaffolding long said "Anticipated Completion: 4th Quarter 2016." (See photo at right.) That didn't happen.

    The lottery for those "100% affordable" (but mostly middle-income) apartments began in mid-July, and is part of a process that typically leads to occupancy in six months, according to a handbook produced by the New York City Housing Development Corporation. (See graphic below.)

    If so, occupancy should be starting right about now.

    There's more facade now
    That doesn't seem likely. As one applicant said 11/21/16 on a message board, "they are anticipating a move in date of March or April of 2017 and since they took so long with the Dean street lotto [my coverage] they are under some pressure to make this as efficient as possible."

    Another, on 12/15/16, said she was told by her interviewer to expect a decision in January or February and move-in two months later. But another said 12/16/16 that they were told it would take some two months to hear back, but then six to eight months to move in.

    On 1/3/17, the Department of Buildings issued a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy for 535 Carlton, covering floors 1 through 6. So the building is getting closer.

    Since the lower floors do open first, maybe there is a shred of rationale for the apparent--though denied--plan to concentrate the lowest-income households on the lower floors. They'd get in a few months earlier. Of course, later, when part of the building goes condo, the more valuable units are concentrated on higher floors.

    (Note: no new document has been filed to indicate any new plan for the location of the low-income units.)
    From NYC HDC's Marketing Handbook

    Applicants worrying, wondering

    Just as with the cohort of applicants with the 461 Dean affordable housing, a City Data online forum shows people anxious, hopeful, and underinformed.

    Some worry about affordability. One wrote:
    Okay, will someone please tell me how this is "affordable"?
    For my income bracket I'd need to pay over $2100 for a 1 bedroom apartment! Isn't that market rate? Or above market rate in Brooklyn?
    Not to mention almost double what I'm paying now on the open market.
    This is nuts.
    A response: "Market rate in downtown brooklyn is like 2700-3000, 2100 is actually a discount." (I'd note that affordable 1 BR units for this building go up to $2,680, as shown in the graphic below.)

    Worrying about paperwork

    Others are concerned about meeting the requirements:
    "I spent all afternoon finalizing my paperwork for 535 Carlton. If this file folder dropped on my foot I'd have broken bones."
    "We brought in our entire life and still somehow needed more paperwork things that werent on the list but advised that we needed."
    A safe area?

    Another worried about problems with an affordable building:
    I read up on a similar building through this forum that opened this summer in the Bronx. It didn't have any market rate units (just like 535 Carlton) so it sounded like the building had non-responsive management and several people who won the lotto and moved in wanted to get out immediately and regretted the move. Within a couple months of moving in, they complained of gross laundry room conditions, trashed public spaces, and disrespectful neighbors. I have some fears about moving into a building that may be managed poorly like this because it's not a 80/20. Does anyone have reason to believe 535 Carlton will have better management?
    The response was reassuring:
    I know that area like the back of my hands, it will be nothing like what you experienced in the Bronx. Also more than 80% of the units are skewed towards people making $60,000- $150,000 so I'm pretty sure you won't have any issues with your neighbors and the building its self is brand spanking new with state of the art appliances by cook+fox architects. This building will feel like your in a 80/20 building even though it's 100% affordable because of the way they skewed most of the units towards the very top income brackets. I've heard some where they may have a poor door system [as I wrote] in this building where they have the lowest paying renters be situated at the lower floors of the building as oppose to the highest renters living on the tops floors with better views of downtown Brooklyn.
    Is disruptive construction a deal-breaker?

    One pointed out ongoing construction:
    Are you guys at all concerned about the construction that's going to be happening on three sides of this building? I biked around the site a few weeks ago. They haven't even begun to cap the rail yards leading into Atlantic Terminal. Seems like a construction project that will take years and years, no?
    Another responded that it was worth it:
    From what I read, it'll end sometime in 2020-something. Not too concerned because the apartment building is beautiful and a roof over our heads is the goal. I'll live with the sounds of construction lol
    Added another:
    It's better to be around buildings going UP and getting built than being around buildings becoming abandoned and crumbling.
    Continued uncertainty

    The uncertainty continues, with a recent post:
    I check it everyday but Nothing on my end. I check the mail everyday waiting for a rejection letter or ANY sort of news really and I haven't heard a peep. I am tempted to call but most people do not have much luck with that. I guess we just continue to wait. Its been 2 months since our intake interview, hopefully we will hear something soon.
     Another wrote:
    I had my first interview first week of December and the guy said if I hear anything before four months it's most likely a rejection letter or more info is needed. He apologized too.
    Another wrote:
    I was told when I went in (Early Nov) that I should hear something in about 2 months for second interview and it would take about another 2 months until approval than another month or so to move in but it is clear it is taking much longer than expected. After 120 days you would need to resubmit your paperwork. 
    If you are selected to move on to the next round you would actually be interviewed ( the first one is more like an intake interview) and more than likely shown the apartment that would be offered to you at that point you have the option to say whether or not you want the apartment as some people do decide to turn it down.
    I am also a pretty anxious person and we are looking to move by May the latest so I REALLY REALLY hope that its into this building.
    Another wrote under the screen name "Waiting-game":
    I interviewed the first week of Nov and received a rejection letter on Friday stating that I did not turn in my savings account information. That is actually inaccurate and I will be appealing and resubmitting the required information once more.
    Others chimed in with related experiences. "Waiting-game" followed up: "I was informed that the building is pretty much complete and I should again here something back in regards to a second interview within 2 to 10 months."

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    Next Quality of Life Community Update meeting Jan. 24; what's the agenda?

    Greenland Forest City Partners (GLFC) and Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) will host the next Quality of Life Community meeting:
    Tuesday, January 24, 6:00 PM
    Shirley Chisholm State Office Building
    55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn NY 11201
    1st Floor Conference Room
    No agenda has been released, so what might be the issues? How about:
    For those with questions, please contact Nicole Jordan of the ESD Atlantic Yards team at, who writes, "Please plan to arrive promptly in order to provide time for presentations and questions and answers from the community members.... Thank you for your continued commitment to the overall success of this project."

    As number of applicants per affordable unit soars, city seeks ways to improve access to lotteries

    So, how well do affordable housing lotteries work? According to a report (Improving Access to Affordable Housing Opportunities) by the New York City departments of Housing Preservation and Development and Consumer Affairs, they could be a lot better.

    As summarized in City Limits, the application process needs to be clarified and streamlined. Indeed, the city also released a guide to applying for affordable housing, Getting Ready for Affordable Housing (also in Spanish).

    The guide advises on such things as credit history, housing court history, the establishment of a Housing Connect profile for applications, applying for housing, preparing for an interview, and what to expect after the interview, including how to appeal a rejection.

    That guide doesn't say how long you'll wait, which is one issue highlighted in the new report. "The number one takeaway from the focus groups was that the application process can be difficult to understand," the guide says, noting that applicants may share misinformation, failing to recognize that a high “log number,” which is randomly assigned, does not necessarily mean a higher chance of being awarded housing.

    Confusion and delay

    The report says:
    The overall leasing process can be lengthy, in some instances taking more than a year. Updates about the status of one’s application are not always available, and applicants expressed worry that they were somehow forgotten or were missing emails, voicemails, and/or letters.
    The report recommends building on the new guide with "a range of complementary educational materials." Indeed, as shown in the saga of applicants for the 461 Dean affordable housing, many are confused and don't know when and how to get updates.

    As noted by City Limits, income requirements can be tricky, especially for households with fluctuating incomes.income that varies from one paycheck to the next or from one year to the next.”

    Shadowing all this is the relentless rise in demand for the housing. In 2012, the city logged 158 applications per available unit, a .63% chance. In 2015, the figure was 883 per unit, a .11% chance. It may be even tougher by now.