Advocates trying to speed up the construction of affordable housing that was promised as part of the controversial Atlantic Yards project are letting bygones be bygones when it comes to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s support of the original deal.
A slew of pols rallied this afternoon to halt the project’s sale to a foreign-contractor, Greenland Holdings Group of China, in yet another effort to ramp up construction of long-promised affordable housing in the area. But when asked about whether Mr. de Blasio should have been more vocal on the issue, a complete silence followed a brief response from one official.
“No,” replied Assemblyman James Brennan during the press conference, which was held in the office of the Fifth Avenue Committee, a Brooklyn nonprofit organization.
Following the assemblyman’s comment, chuckles and anxious smiles crept up on the faces of some officials who stood behind him.
The project’s developer, Forest City Ratner Companies, was originally given tax breaks to build 2,250 units of affordable housing in the area by 2016–a timeline advocates today called the developer to adhere to. Some community critics–as well as Mr. de Blasio’s unsuccessful Republican rival in the mayor’s race–have accused Mr. de Blasio of ignoring neighborhood concerns about the delayed affordable housing project. Mr. de Blasio also received campaign contributions from the developer of the project, which he supported as a local councilman and the city’s public advocate.
After the press conference, Assemblyman Walter Mosley elaborated on the topic, arguing the “election is over” and the time for governing has arrived.
“All of us came in from different places. Some of us opposed the project. Some of us supported it. Some of us supported it with reservations,” he told Politicker. “I know he’s going to do what’s necessary to make sure Brooklyn and places like Brooklyn exists for all New Yorkers, and not just the very few that can afford to live here.”