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July 28, 2005

MTA picks preferred developer over interests of public, again

kalikow01.jpgYou've probably already heard the news.

Today's coverage focuses on statements by MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow dismissing calls to negotiate with both bidders as "immoral," despite the fact that the MTA has selected the low bidder in this case.

The NY Times, M.T.A. to Deal Only With Ratner on Brooklyn Bid

...while M.T.A. officials seemed to like [Ratner's] plans, they still wanted more money.

NY Newsday, MTA selects Nets arena plan. Agency accepts lower cash bid from Forest City Ratner Cos. to develop Brooklyn’s Vanderbilt Yards.

Bob Liff, Extell's spokesman, said the firm's president, Gary Barnett, was "disappointed" with the decision but did not plan to file a lawsuit to challenge it. In a statement, Extell said it was "considering all of our options."

The vote also marks the second time this year that the MTA board has supported a bidder who offered less money to the cash-strapped agency.

When asked, Jim Stuckey of Forest City Ratner did not commit to offering more money but said the negotiations would lead to "a positive outcome."

Others, however, have been critical of the way the MTA has auctioned off its property rights. Assemb. Richard Brodsky (D-Hartsdale) said he'll be watching the negotiations closely to make sure that the agency gets "fair market value."

NY Daily News, B'klyn deal Ratner's to seal

Kalikow said Ratner is not in any position to shortchange the MTA. "Ratner knows that Extell is out there and if Ratner doesn't come up with money that we think is adequate, then I can recommend that we don't take it," he said.

The NY Sun, Board Wants Ratner To Increase His Bid. Transit Authority Appraiser: Yard Worth $214.5M.

The board member representing Suffolk County who cast the lone dissenting vote, Mitchell Pally, argued that the MTA would maximize the sale price by negotiating with both firms at the same time.

One of the four board members appointed by Mayor Bloomberg, Susan Kupferman, said the city’s delegation wanted to approve the Ratner bid without modification,but the Bloomberg appointees joined in supporting Mr. Kalikow’s resolution once it became clear that they could not push the Ratner plan through at yesterday’s meeting.

An executive vice president of Forest City Ratner, James Stuckey, would not say if his firm is willing to increase its cash offer, but he predicted that negotiations with the MTA would produce a “positive outcome.”

Metro, A Jump Ball in Brooklyn. Residents split on MTA's decision to negotiate over Atlantic Yards development.

Even members of the MTA’s board are split no the issue. Yesterday Mitchell Pally, the VP for governmental affairs for the Long Island Association, cast the only obte opposing the MTA’s exclusive negotiations with Ratner. Non-voting member Andrew Albert of the NYC Transit Riders Council, also dissented.

“I think it’s wrong to negotiate with one and not the other,” Pally said, adding that, “both bids are deficient.”

Bergen Record, Nets owner in exclusive talks for site

Arena opponents called the vote confirmation that political influence has tipped the MTA's decision-making process in favor of Ratner, whose plan to bring the Nets to Brooklyn has the support of Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The governor and the mayor effectively control the MTA board.

"It seems the MTA never had any intention of having a truly competitive process," said Daniel Goldstein, a spokesman for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, a group of residents from the wealthier brownstone neighborhoods adjoining the rail yards.

Posted by lumi at July 28, 2005 9:46 AM