What ever happened to CBAs? The rise and fall of ‘Community Benefits Agreements’ in NYC

The Southern end of Bronx Terminal Market on the last Sunday of 2021

City Limits published the first story in a planned series examining the role of “Community Benefits Agreements” in the city’s land use and development planning. Once a popular part of high-profile real estate deals, CBAs were seen as a way for community members to ensure that developers building neighborhood-changing projects – sports stadiums, university campus expansions, a shopping mall – considered the needs of, and included some benefits for, local residents. With a grant from the Fund, reporter Neil deMause examined public records for CBA agreements and City Council hearing transcripts related to five major CBA deals in New York City. DeMause interviewed elected officials, community organizers, and developer representatives involved in those negotiations. He found that some key aspects of these CBAs looked better on paper than in reality, with the “community” representatives actually selected by officials and developers while other grassroots, local voices were left out.