Today’s news:

AY starts off an economic boom for Brooklyn contractors

With the Barclays Center arena and the Atlantic Yards project officially underway, all the parties to the Community Benefits Agreement say they expect the agreement to be honored.

The 2005 CBA was signed between developer Forest City Ratner and a coalition of eight local organizations representing low- and moderate-income housing residents, religious institutions, an educational consortium, and minority contractors.

The CBA has seven major components including workforce development, affordable housing, small business development, a community facility including amenities, environmental insurances, targeted employment for public housing residents, and utilization of clergy across different religious backgrounds.

Among the specific CBA highlights, 50 percent of the 4,500 proposed housing units will go for low- and moderate-income residents, and 10 percent will go for senior housing.

Signing on to facilitate the affordable housing was New York ACORN, which has recently been reorganized under the name New York Communities for Change (NYCC) amid controversy that it gave financial advice to questionable people.

New York ACORN founder and current staff person for NYCC John Kest said it hasn’t been determined yet if the new organization will replace ACORN to facilitate the affordable housing.

“The board will be meeting at some point in the next month and will come to a conclusion on whether it will join the CBA,” said Kest.

FCR spokesperson Joe DePlasco said the company remains 100 percent committed to the CBA.

Phase one of the construction is the arena block including three residential buildings.

The first of these buildings is scheduled to start in the summer 2011, with the second building six to nine months after that, and the third six to nine months after that, said DePlasco.

DePlasco said that 30 percent of the units in these buildings would be affordable. He did not give a number of affordable units in the first building.

In regard to minority- and women-owned contractors, DePlasco said over $51 million worth of contracts have already been awarded to contractors for work on the site thus far.

About 80 percent of the total prime contracts awarded to date have gone to M/WBE firms and 49.3% of the total contract dollars to M/WBE firms, he said.

DePlasco said there have been a total of $52 million of purchases to date and the MBE award was about $22 million or42.1 percent of total purchases.

Additionally, 43 percent of the 68 contracts awarded to MWBE firms have gone to Brooklyn based firms, he said.

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