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April 13, 2006

DDDb Press Release: State Legislators and Governor Grant $100 Million

"Atlantic Yards" Developer Receives Subsidy While Project Remains a Financial, Planning and Environmental Mystery

ALBANY, NY - State legislators in the Senate and Assembly, and Governor Pataki have proposed to grant $100 million for Forest City Ratner's "Atlantic Yards" development proposal in Brooklyn.

Developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) requested $100 million for its 17 tower and arena proposal. Last week the Assembly appropriated $33 million, and reports today say that the Senate has appropriated $33 million and that the Governor will add $34 million.

Develop Don't Destroy spokesman Daniel Goldstein said, "It appears that Albany has put a mystery development proposal and potential white elephant in the state budget. This giveaway has been made without any knowledge of the proposed development’s: cost-benefit analysis, scale, density, design, environmental impact, cost of mitigation, financial viability, and security measures — to name just a few of the unknowns about the development plan.

Goldstein continued, "Granting a single cent to Ratner at this point is grossly premature. We'd like to know what other backroom politics were at play 150 miles from the people of Brooklyn who would have a front row seat to Ratner's destructive, publicly-subsidized, sweetheart, backroom deal."

Brooklyn assembly members, such as Roger Green who represents the district where the development is proposed and is an avid Ratner booster, lost their one chance at using the Ratner request for $100 million as legislative leverage to gain any meaningful concessions or mitigations from the developer. In November, Mr. Green said, “"I didn't sign the C.B.A. and that was intentional, because my position was that my ultimate endorsement on behalf of this project would be the state legislation, the legislation that would authorize the resources that they would need to complete this project."

The lone Senate vote against the $33 million appropriation came from Senator Velmanette Montgomery who represents the district where the development plan has been proposed.

"We want an explanation about this thoughtless and reckless giveaway from Assemblyman Green, his colleagues in both houses, Mr. Silver, as well as Mr. Bruno and Governor Pataki," Goldstein added.

The Daily News report on the budget item has this comment from Brooklyn state Senator Martin Golden (R-Bay Ridge): "I support it because of economic development," said. In a DDDB meeting with Senator Golden last year the Senator stated that he supported "Atlantic Yards" but would never want to see it in his district or neighborhood.

DDDB sent a letter earlier this week to Governor Pataki, Speaker Silver, and Majority Leader Bruno explaining to them why their appropriation for Forest City Ratner's proposal is premature and irresponsible and at this early stage relinquishes any leverage the state legislature would have over the proposed development plan. That letter can be found here: www.dddb.net//budget/patakiletter.pdf.

The state has granted this giveaway despite the fact that Forest City Ratner has only provided this indecipherable, meaningless 20-year profit/loss financial projection to Albany and the MTA (a real 20-year projection was required in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Request For Proposals for Vanderbilt rail yards.).

Posted by lumi at April 13, 2006 8:55 AM