Even on an otherwise slow day we get news from Brooklyn.
Forest City Ratner says it has received “approximately 20,000” responses to its Atlantic Yards mailer, the apparent majority of them saying that the affordable housing was the most important part of the proposed development, according to a press release. (No word on how many bricks were sent in.)
Meanwhile, Norman Oder says the Ratner demo men have been cited for a defective fence, and that back hoes are getting awfully close to occupied apartments. Even more evidence that good fences make good neighbors.
And Thursday evening, the Municipal Art Society tries to step in to the morass (watch out for those arrows!) with a plan of its own for the area that will be unveiled before a public forum at 6:30 p.m. at the Hanson Place Central Methodist Church in Fort Greene.
UPDATE: Since we received a couple requests for the Forest City press release, we are reproducing it after the jump.
Forest City Ratner Press Release
BROOKLYNITES EAGER FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
20,000 PEOPLE, AND COUNTING, RESPOND TO FCRC MAILER. MAJORITY REQUEST MORE INFORMATION ON AFFORDABLE UNITS AT PROPOSED ATLANTIC YARDS DEVELOPMENT
(Brooklyn, NY) – June 13, 2006 – Approximately 20,000 people have thus far responded to a Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) mailer sent in May that included a tear-off response card that allowed respondents to check off the aspect of the project most important to them. The vast majority of respondents said affordable housing was the most important aspect of the development. The card also allowed them to ask for more information about housing applications once they become available.
“The mailer was an effort to provide more information on the proposed development,” said Bruce Bender, the executive vice president in charge of government and community affairs at FCRC. “While we of course know there is a tremendous need for affordable housing in the borough, we were surprised by the response to date.”
Mr. Bender explained that the affordable and middle-income housing program will be handled via a lottery system as required by City rules. People who have sent back a reply card or have sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org asking for more information about Atlantic Yards housing will receive a letter outlining the program and next steps in the coming weeks. The returned cards also allowed respondents to list how long they have lived in Brooklyn. “While we have not gone through all 20,000 cards in detail,” Mr. Bender said, “a quick survey suggests that many long-time residents, some living here for 20 plus years, are very concerned about the lack of housing in Brooklyn.”
FCRC developed the affordable and middle-income housing program in partnership with New York ACORN, the advocacy organization that works on housing and related issues.
Bertha Lewis, the executive director of New York ACORN, said, “We all know there is a tremendous need for housing given the lack of affordable housing in Brooklyn, the fear of losing a current apartment, and the sorry condition of many buildings inhabited by low-income families. But the number of responses is a clear indication that this type of innovative development is needed in Brooklyn and throughout the City.”
The program specifies that a minimum of 2,250 rental apartments be low- and middle-income housing. The target rent for these units is 30% of household income. And 50 percent of these units will be two and three bedrooms. Ten percent of the units will be set aside for seniors. All of the units will be integrated in the larger housing component of the project, which calls for a total 6,860 units (the 4,500 rentals plus 2,360 market-rate condominiums). FCRC has also agreed to build between 600 and 1,000 affordable condos on or off site.
Anyone who did not send in a reply card or has not already signed up to receive more information and would like to be notified when the affordable or middle-income housing applications become available, is encouraged to send an email to email@example.com with their contact information.