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July 25, 2005

DDDb Press Release: Extell Bids $150 Million vs. Ratner’s $50 Million for the MTA’s Rail Yards in Brooklyn

DDDB Demands That MTA Deliberate for More Than Two Days and Postpone Vote Until Next Meeting in September

NEW YORK, NY– The Metropolitan Transportation Authority released the two bids on Atlantic yards late Friday afternoon. Extell Development Company has bid $150 million in cash for the MTA's Vanderbilt Yards (aka Atlantic Yards), while Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) has bid $50 million for the same 8.4-acre property. Extell has bid $56 per square foot, while Ratner has bid $15 per square foot. The MTA, also on Friday, appraised the Vanderbilt Yards at $214.5 million.

"The community prefers the Extell proposal by a large margin as it fulfills the key principles we have been fighting for over the past two years. And now Extell has outbid Ratner by a very large margin," said Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) spokesperson, Daniel Goldstein. Goldstein added, "The MTA should take time to deliberate and evaluate the two bids, especially in light of the fact that both of the bids fall below the MTA’s appraised value of $214.5 million. They should not rush to vote this Wednesday, bur rather postpone their vote until their next meeting in September. If they vote on Wednesday, Board members will only have two days to evaluate these two bids and that is an insufficient and ludicrous amount of time. With the Hudson Yards bids the Board deliberated for ten days, and that was insufficient. Whatever the Board decides to do, it must be fair, transparent and judicious. The public will not accept secret, sweetheart deals."

FCRC has tried to muddy the waters regarding their purchase price for the rail yards by tacking on construction costs, sales tax revenue, and operating costs to their $50 million cash offer. Extell has simply stated that they will pay the MTA $150 million in cash at closing, while choosing to absorb the costs for the "add-ons" that FCRC has marketed as part of their purchase price.

Goldstein continued, "As we've expected for a long time now, Mr. Ratner thought he could get away with a sweetheart price for the rail yards, so he low-balled his bid and then tacked on construction costs as part of his purchase price. Mr. Ratner's 'add-ons' add nothing to his purchase price, as both developers are offering to fulfill those commitments. You can see all of this on our website breakdown of the bids at: www.dddb.net/bids."

Besides the $100 million difference between the two purchase prices, the proposed projects are vastly different. Extell proposes 11 buildings over the 8.4-acre Vanderbilt rail yards, ranging in height from 4 stories to 28 stories. They will not use eminent domain and they intend to go through the City's community and political development oversight process known as ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedures). Extell also plans to build a school, as well as over 4 acres of public open space.

Ratner proposes to build over the Vanderbilt rail yards as well as an additional 13 acres currently consisting of private homes, businesses, and city streets. The private property would be taken through a State invocation of eminent domain. The Ratner proposal would overwhelm the community with 20 skyscrapers ranging from 40 stories to 60 stories, as well as a 20,000-seat sports arena. Ratner's proposal would completely bypass City oversight, with a State takeover of the project.

Both developers offer 30% affordable housing. FCRC, as stated at a City Council hearing, plans to build a total of 7,300 units, with 2,250 designated as affordable. That is a 30% plan, not the much touted but false 50% plan.

To see how the bids stack up, visit: http://www.dddb.net/bids

DEVELOP DON'T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community coalition

fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing and destroying them.

Posted by lumi at July 25, 2005 10:13 AM