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Ground broken on Atlantic Center mixed-use development.

Ground was broken on September 30 for Atlantic Center, a 24-acre, $200 million retail and residential development located in Downtown Brooklyn. Governor Mario Cuomo, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden, Forest City Ratner President Bruce C. Ratner and New York City Partnership Chairman Jerry I. Speyer were joined by a distinguished group of elected officials, community and business leaders to dedicate this mixeduse development comprised of 800,000 square feet of retail space and 400 units of affordable housing.

Located at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, this long-vacant urban renewal site was once slated to be the new Ebbets Field in an ill-fated attempt to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn. Today, the site is being developed by Atlantic Center Associates, an affiliate of Forest City Ratner Companies, developers of the nearby MetroTech Center.

Construction is currently underway on the affordable housing component - The Village at Atlantic Center/Atlantic Center Partnership Homes - developed under the New Homes Program, a collaboration of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the New York City Partnership, and the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation and Mortgage Insurance Fund. The Village at Atlantic Center will feature 126 new three-family attached townhomes, of which 53 are in construction and already sold. The three-family homes are being sold at $225,000 and are priced to be affordable to moderate and middle-income families earning between $32,000 and $53,000. The City of New York will subsidize $30,000 per home, the State subsidy will be $45,000, and a Federal subsidy of $30,000 per home will be available. In addition, the City provided a subsidy for the purchase of the land, which was City-owned.

The Atlantic Center retail development, under the sponsorship of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, will include construction of 365,000 square feet of retail in the first phase; a 650-car parking garage underneath the retail development; and 75 new on-street parking spaces on Fort Greene Place. Phase II includes 442,000 square feet of retail and 450 below-grade parking spaces. The entire project is projected to be completed within five years.

"The hard work of the men and women building this magnificent complex, along with the initiative of the developers and the participation of the community, will ensure a bright future for Downtown Brooklyn," Governor Cuomo said. "This is all the work of a unique public and private partnership of New York State, New York City, the Brooklyn Borough President, the Atlantic Center Associates and the New York City Partnership."

Mayor Giuliani said "Atlantic Center will be the centerpiece of Downtown Brooklyn's revitalization, bringing homeownership to moderate and middle-income families, and high-quality retail stores into the community. It is precisely this balanced mix of affordable housing and retail development that has gained the full support of community residents, business leaders and elected officials."

Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden, commenting on the community planning effort that was crucial to the creation of Atlantic Center said, "This is a great day for Brooklyn and for the hundreds of people who have worked so hard to bring the vision of Atlantic Center to reality. Community involvement was critical to the success of the Atlantic Center project. I would like to express my gratitude to the members of the Atlantic Center Community Advisory Committee, and to the community's elected officials, who were also part of the Committee, for all of their efforts in bringing Atlantic Center to fruition."

New York City Partnership Chairman Jerry I. Speyer said "Nothing is quite as important as a job and a home. Atlantic Center will offer Brooklyn residents home ownership at an affordable level, and it will provide thousands of permanent and construction-related jobs for a long time to come. After more than a decade of work on this project, we are delighted to see it come to fruition. Special thanks to the community board, neighborhood residents and elected officials who have supported Atlantic Center over the years."

Forest City Ratner Companies President and CEO Bruce Ratner said "The construction of Atlantic Center is of historic proportions. Now, we are breaking ground on what will be the heart of the economic and social revitalization of Downtown Brooklyn. No longer will neighborhood residents be forced to travel out of New York City to buy food for their families or clothes for their children at the best available prices. Hundreds of families will now be able to afford new homes at the adjoining housing development sponsored by the City and the New York City Partnership. Atlantic Center will mean a great deal to all of us who live and work in Brooklyn."

Atlantic Center is expected to generate close to $30 million in new sales tax revenues for New York City and New York State. Over 1,100 construction jobs will be created during Phase I of the development, with over 2,100 permanent retail jobs developed on the site.

"This exciting venture represents another milestone in our comprehensive effort to revitalize Downtown Brooklyn," said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Deborah Wright. "In addition to invigorating the community and spurring the development of local businesses, The Village at Atlantic Center will provide affordable homes for the people in the community."

Construction financing for the affordable housing development was provided by Chase Community Development Corporation and a consortium of foreign and wholesale banks which participated through the Partnership's GRAND program. SONYMA will insure the loans through its Mortgage Insurance Fund. Chase, Republic and Fleet Bank are providing mortgage loans to the homebuyers. Many of the loans are being securitized by Fannie Mae.

Clay Lifflander, President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation said "Atlantic Center represents the perfect blend of this administration's philosophies - public/private partnership, housing coupled with economic development and urban revitalization - all heading towards the goal of a bustling and vibrant Downtown Brooklyn."

Joining in the groundbreaking ceremony were: Congressman Major Owens; State Senator Velmanette Montgomery; City Councilmember Mary Pinkett; Assemblyman Roger Green; Donald M. Halperin, State Housing Director; John G. Martinez, President and Chief Executive Officer of SONYMA; and Kathy Wylde, President of the New York City Housing Partnership.

Atlantic Center represents a unique public and private partnership. The following public and private sector organizations are responsible for the development of this complex: New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development; New York City Economic Development Corporation; Office of the Brooklyn Borough President; U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development; New York State Affordable Housing Corporation; New York City Partnership, Inc.; Chase Community Development Corporation with GRAND Investing; SONYMA's Mortgage Insurance Fund; Chemical Bank and Chemical Community Development, Inc.; Forest City Ratner Companies; The Hudson Companies, Inc.; Ehrenkrantz & Eckstut Architects, P.C.; Planned Expansion Group, Inc.; Swanke Hayden Connell Architects; De La Cour & Ferrara Architects; AJ Contracting, Inc.; and Monadnock Construction, Inc.
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Title Annotation:Atlantic Center, Brooklyn, New York
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 12, 1994
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