ASE is one of many community groups working with the Coalition for a Lakeside CBA to negotiate the development of the 600-hectare U.S. Steel Southworks site. The site is the last unded lakeside property in Chicago and one of the largest developments in the area. Since the conference, the property has been put back on the market by U.S. Steel, which abandoned a $4 billion development plan earlier this year in favor of dividing the property into four retail parcels. According to Been, the first challenge is representation. Those who participate in the CBA negotiations as “community members” may not represent the well-being of the Community. As they are not officially elected, there is no guarantee of transparency or accountability in setting up and executing the CBA. In her 2010 article, “Community Benefits Agreements: A New Local Government Tool or Another Variation on the Exactions Theme,” Vicki Been, now New York`s Residential Construction Commissioner and Director and Professor of Law at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University, describes several shortcomings in the design of many well-intentioned community interest agreements. The following agreements include the University`s commitments for equipment and benefits related to Manhattanville-related projects: in order to improve and promote its relationship with the community after the expansion of Manhattanville, Columbia agreed in 2009 to invest $150 million to invest the local community around the new campus in what is known as the Community Reference Agreement. Shortly thereafter, the WHDC was created to directly manage and distribute $93 million of this $150 million pledge. John Goldstein, Civic Engagement Advisor and former Campaign Manager for the Working Families Partnership, says groups must face the project planning cycle to succeed.
After helping to organize and advise the efforts of the base in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Detroit and other cities, Goldstein agrees that in addition to a clear and well-written CBA, a mobilized community coalition that prevents developers from breaking free from the agreement is essential to gain traction. In the first three years, whLDC lacked vision, formal procedures and direction, staff or even a job, according to an investigation by the New York Attorney General`s Office (which also found that it had done nothing illegal).