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Brooklyn shares in $3.5b Ratner project.

To ensure the inclusion of affordable housing and minority and women owned businesses in Forest City Ratners' $3.5 billion Atlantic Yards development plan, the city and Bruce Ratner this week signed a Community Benefits Agreement.

Ratner has agreed to sign a legally binding document that contains specific project benefits related to housing, jobs, small business programs, community amenities, environmental assurances and arena usage.

Joining the mayor and Ratner at a signing ceremony were officials and executives from the community based organizations that have worked collaboratively to design the components of the Atlantic Yards' Community Benefits Agreement.

"We turned to these organizations because each has expertise that we believed would benefit the overall project," Ratner said.

"We worked with them to develop the program and agreed to sign the document because we want to proceed as a team and we want the people of Brooklyn to know that we intend to work with them to ensure that this project produces real benefits because there are real needs."

According to Mayor Bloomberg. "The $3.5 billion project will create 8,500 permanent new jobs, 4,500 mixed-income apartments, substantial new commercial, retail, open space and host the first major league sports team to play in Brooklyn since the Dodgers.

"Brooklyn's working men and women and their families will have a stronger local economy and more affordable housing in their future."

The program, which was developed over the last year during a series of meetings, covers a broad range of benefits, including: Jobs Development: Public housing residents and low and moderate-income individuals in surrounding neighborhoods will get priority in available jobs.

Also, a minimum of 35% of the jobs will be for minority workers and another 10% for women workers, with 35% of each category for journey level workers. FCRC will use existing CLE programs to require contractors to hire part of the workforce from low and moderate-income areas.

FCRC will also develop a pre-apprentice training program to help new workers develop skills that they can use beyond this project. Atlantic Yards will use union labor.

At least five percent of pre-construction contract dollars will go to minority owned firms and three percent to women owned firms. During the construction phase, at least 20% of construction contract dollars will go to minority firms and 10% to women owned businesses. 20% of total' contract dollars (including Arena concession activities) will go to minority-women owned businesses for purchasing and service contracts (exclusive of FCRC affiliates).

The MWB program will also include a credit facility program and commercial lender and technical assistance component to assist minority and women owned businesses.

And, FCRC will create a community based developer initiative to work with minority and women developers to provide assistance and resources for small-scale development throughout the City.

50% of the approximately 4,500 rental units will be for low and middle-income residents, with 10% of these set aside for seniors. FCRC will also work with renters in the project footprint to find temporary housing during construction and then provide them with comparable size units at a comparable rent.

FCRC will build a health care center and inter-generational facility as part of the project.

FCRC will adopt practices that ensure a minimal environmental impact during construction.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 6, 2005
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