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NEW YORK CITY-The New York Industrial Development Agency’s board of directors yesterday approved a $113.9-million Liberty Bonds issuance, marking the first time a commercial project will receive aid under the federally sponsored program. Upon obtaining permanent financing for the 10-story office project in Downtown Brooklyn, Forest City Ratner’s FC Hanson Office Associates will appear again before the IDA for final approval of the issuance on its behalf. A New York City comptroller spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com that obtaining this financing should take one month, with the actual issuance scheduled for mid-2004.

In February of this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission, federal comptroller of the currency and New York State comptroller issued guidelines to the Bank of New York, a prominent handler of federal monies, requiring that the company diversify its employee locations in New York City. Among those sites selected by BNY was the Atlantic Terminal, located on a 3.6-acre site, bounded by Flatbush Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Fort Greene Place and Hanson Place in Brooklyn. The parcel already has a 375,000 sf retail component under construction, and development of the 396,000-sf office tower will begin by the end of the year. Additional GlobeSt.com coverage of the process and a history leading up to the IDA’s decision can be found here.

The bank plans to relocate 1,400 employees into the space by mid-2004, and has already committed to 80% of the space. Last month, the IDA awarded BNY a $37.5-million WTC Job Creation and Retention Program grant as well as sales-tax exemptions of $2 million in return for keeping 7,700 jobs in New York City–6,160 in Lower Manhattan, 1,400 at the Atlantic Terminal location and 140 elsewhere in New York City for at least 12 years. The bank recently began moving 4,000 employees back into Downtown Manhattan with the reopening of their Technology and Operations center at 101 Barclay St.

The New York Liberty Bond Program provides tax-exempt bond financing for major projects to revitalize Lower Manhattan and New York City, generally using $8 billion in bond issuance authority provided by Congress and the President. Of the $8 billion, up to $800 million may be used for retail projects and up to $1.6 billion for residential rental projects in Lower Manhattan, and up to $2 billion for commercial projects in New York City outside Lower Manhattan, issued by the IDA and the New York Liberty Development Corp.

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