Last Friday afternoon at four o’clock, the first meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AYCDC) took place in a conference room at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University.
In the eleven-year history of the Atlantic Yards project, no meeting like this had ever happened before. Fourteen board members appointed by the Governor, the Mayor, the Brooklyn Borough President, the New York State Senate, the New York State Assembly, and the City Council met to formally organize a new State agency charged with ensuring the public benefits for which the Atlantic Yards project was approved would in fact be delivered as promised, and that the project would comply with all commitments and regulation intended to mitigate the impact of its construction on neighboring residents and businesses.
Not only had the members of the AYCDC board each been recommended by a local elected official with a unique perspective on the challenges of accountability at Atlantic Yards, the appointees themselves represented a diverse cross-section of project stakeholders, including affordable housing advocates, signatories of the Community Benefits Agreement, and residents living at the edge of the footprint. At past Atlantic Yards meetings, members of these groups had often sharply disagreed. On Friday, for the first time, their representatives gathered at a single table, and committed to the goal of making the Atlantic Yards project work for Brooklyn.
Rezonings and large-scale redevelopment projects, even those with affordable housing components, tend to accelerate gentrification. That's why it's critical to ensure that affordable housing promised by developers in exchange for overrides and special approvals is delivered on a timely basis to meet the needs of populations now threatened with displacement.
In this video, advocates, attorneys and community members explain how the 25-year build out agreed by the State of New York in 2009 for Atlantic Yards' affordable apartments would have had a disparate impact on African American residents eligible for preference in the lotteries through which those apartments are to be awarded—and why a coalition was ready to fight to hold the project accountable to its original commitments. BrooklynSpeaks organizers talk about what was achieved through the recent settlement with the Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner, and what to expect next.
Borough President Adams and Council Member Cumbo to offer seminars for residents seeking affordable housing
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Council Member Laurie Cumbo are sponsoring a series of seminars intended to help residents seeking affordable housing learn how to apply for the City HPD lotteries through which the apartments are awarded. At present, there are over 1,100 affordable apartments under construction in downtown Brooklyn, and current City policy allows residents of the community districts in which the units are located to receive preference for half of them.