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April 13, 2004

Ratner promises homes, jobs

Today's missive from the Bruce Ratner p.r. factory: the Brooklyn developer is promising to reserve 20% of the apartments in his "Atlantic Yards" housing-and-office-and-Nets-arena complex as "affordable" units, and another 30% as "middle-income," a move that the Daily News applauds "would go far beyond what is required by law." Well, sort of - reserving 20% of units as "affordable" is common among New York developers, who by doing so can access so-called "80/20" tax-exempt bonds and tax breaks. And as for those "middle-income" units, to meet the standard a one-bedroom apartment must be priced at less than $1395, and a two-bedroom less than $1810, which is well above market rent for that Prospect Heights neighborhood.

Meanwhile, New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser insists (without attribution of any kind) that Ratner's project would "create 10,000 jobs where none presently exist." Even taking Peyser at her word, this would hardly be a bargain: With $650 million in public dollars on the line, that would amount to $65,000 per job created, well over the $10,000/job baseline that development experts consider to be public money well spent.

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