Developers of the City Point project in Brooklyn want to set the record straight following a unionized protest and a fiery letter from the president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of New York claiming that the project exploits the community and burns taxpayer dollars.
In addition, some industry experts agree that less union work is simply a wave of the future that began decades ago.
While a spokesperson for developer Acadia Realty Trust expressed reluctance to get into a full-on spat over the issue, he defended his firm’s stance on the project, countering critics who said the project abuses taxpayer dollars. He claimed that the project benefits from a single government subsidy — and that it is essential for the affordable housing component.
“City Point will generate thousands of jobs and enhance Downtown Brooklyn’s quality of life,” said Tom Montvel-Cohen, with Acadia Realty Trust. “We are committed to maximizing local and minority contracting and employment as we create a LEED-certified development with the affordable housing, retail and entertainment options that the neighborhood well deserves.”
Gary LaBarbara has an axe to grind with developers at City Point before they dig any deeper into Downtown Brooklyn.
In a move that could exacerbate friction that’s already occurring at the community level, the president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of New York thrashed the builders of the development project, claiming that they are “failing” to meet the needs of the community by instead catering to private interests.
“City Point is receiving vast amounts of public subsidies ranging from tax exempt bond financing to property tax abatements,” Mr. LaBarbera wrote in an op-ed that appeared in Real Estate Weekly yesterday. “But on a score central to responsible economic development for everyday New Yorkers — creating good jobs that strengthen local communities — City Point is failing.”
With the long-awaited Barclays Center open and new residential and mixed-use development projects popping up across Downtown Brooklyn, a retail conundrum is growing along the 17-block Fulton Mall.
The national and in some cases high-end retailers moving onto the strip paint a stark contrast to the long list of mom-and-pops, local discounters and jewelry shops that once almost exclusively lined the street.