The C.B.A. Tourney

The New York Observer’s First Annual Community Benefits Agreement Tourney just wrapped up. What are those, you say, wrinkling your nose? Well, C.B.A.’s are ways for the community and developer to come together and create win-win situations for everybody! Those are words that everybody but The New York Sun editorial board likes to hear: together, community, win-win. The idea is that a neighborhood consents to being turned into a construction zone so long as it gets some jobs or housing out of the deal. The questions is, how real are those jobs and housing? We compare the C.B.A. by Forest City (Bruce) Ratner for Atlantic Yards and the one by The Related Companies for a shopping mall in the Bronx. Who won? Turn to the jump.

Well, since this business is more subjective than judging figure skating, we’ll let you figure out who won. Here are some things to keep in mind:

–If you care about minority contracting (read Tamar Jacoby on Atlanta’s airport for caveats) root for Ratner. He doesn’t bind himself to a quota, but has a good record and should hit 35% easily.
–Ratner also has the edge when it comes to getting local minorities into union-track jobs, with his proposed apprenticeship system. Unfortunately, he sets no quotas or goals and puts an inexperienced organization, B.U.I.L.D., in charge.
–For permanent jobs, rally behind Related. It has got more entry-level service jobs (2,100 versus maybe 1,100 or so for Ratner), which, while low-paying and unglamorous, might give someone a hand up. The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp., while conflicted, has at least some experience in job referrals.

Click to enlarge.

For a pro-Ratner take, check out B.U.I.L.D; anti-Ratner, see Develop–Don’t Destroy Brooklyn; anti-Related, go to the Neighborhood Retail Alliance. Albor Ruiz praised the Bronx deal in the Daily News.

Matthew Schuerman

The C.B.A. Tourney