Marty claims half of Ratner houses will be ‘moderate’

The Brooklyn Paper

How many people will be able to afford the soaring Frank Gehry-designed apartment buildings proposed for Prospect Heights as part f developer Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards plan?

Maybe more than people think, according to the plan’s biggest political supporter, Borough President Marty Markowitz.

At a Borough Hall luncheon with reporters Wednesday, Markowitz said Ratner has pledged to him that half of the 4,500 planned units would be for “middle to moderate” income tenants.

While “moderate income” for a family in New York City is defined as $50,240 to $62,800 a year, a spokesman for Markowitz later said the borough president had not been using the technical definition.

“What Marty defines as affordable is what firefighters, teachers, nurses, police officers, construction workers, reporters — a place they can afford,” Markowitz spokeswoman Sharon Toomer said after the announcement.

Despite Markowitz’s announcement, Ratner has remained mum on just how much of the residential component would be affordable, market rate or luxury housing.

Asked about Markowitz’s remarks, Ratner spokesman Joe Deplasco declined to comment on specific percentages but said the developer was “completely committed to maximizing the number of affordable- and moderate-income units.”

The $2.5 billion Atlantic Yards development is proposed for a 24-acre site stretching from the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues over to Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights.

The plan also includes a 19,000-seat professional basketball arena — to accommodate Ratner’s planned move of his New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn — flanked by soaring office towers and 13 residential towers, some reaching 450 feet.

Ratner purchased the Nets last month for $300 million.

“We are concerned about creating as much affordability as possible for a whole range of incomes including low and very low,” said Steve Aronson, executive director of the Pratt Area Community Council, a housing and economic development organization.

As part of the plan, roughly 70 homes would need to be condemned, displacing hundreds residents.

Markowitz began his career in public service as a tenants rights activist.

“I don’t want to create housing just for people out of Brooklyn to move to Brooklyn,” Markowtiz said this week.



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