By David Kene
March 8, 2013
This month, an organized group comprised of community activists, construction workers and elected officials coalesced on the steps of City Hall and conducted a mock ceremony meant to publicly shame a realty company accused of shady development in Brooklyn’s downtown business section.
Led by the Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN), the organized group publicly inducted the company, Acadia Realty Trust, into what they’ve dubbed the “Corporate Tax Dodgers’ Hall of Shame” as a method of drawing attention to the “numerous subsidies that Acadia is receiving for Brooklyn’s largest development, City Point, while providing few community benefits in return.”
City Point is a multimillion dollar project that began with the gutting and demolition of the old Fulton Mall. The plan includes remaking the massive space that once housed the mall into a new space for luxury residential and commercial activity.
But because Acadia is “slated to receive millions” in taxpayer subsidies, critics of City Point assert that considerations should be given to the existing businesses that may be negatively affected by the influx of new big box stores.
“In return for public assistance meant to help distressed communities, the company is displacing locally owned small businesses and hundreds of workers with luxury high-rises,” ALIGN said in a public statement. “In the process, it’s creating low-wage, no-benefit jobs and partnering with a developer who has a troubling history of shoddy construction on city-sponsored affordable housing developments.”
According to Nathalie Alegre, an organizer with ALIGN, the gripe against Acadia stems from the company’s shortfall in creating the good local jobs and truly affordable housing that downtown Brooklyn needs.
“Acadia is the latest in a line of highly profitable companies taking advantage of public subsidies while returning very little to the public. We want to know just how much taxpayer money this company is abusing, and we want greater accountability.”
The induction ceremony was complemented by the addition of Acadia onto the Hall of Shame website at GettingOurMoneysWorth.org, which draws attention to corporations throughout New York City and New York state that receive tax breaks but fail to create jobs, or create only poverty-wage jobs in return. A Hall of Shame Honorable Mention was also awarded to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
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