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July 25, 2006

Blight, Like Beauty, Can Be in the Eye of the Beholder

The NY Times
By Nicholas Confessore


Of all the real estate jargon, bureaucratic buzzwords and plain old insults exchanged over the proposed Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, no term has evoked quite such unruly passion as “blighted.”

During the last two years, the word has hung like a scythe over the 22-acre site, most of it on the northern edge of the Prospect Heights neighborhood, where the developer, Forest City Ratner Companies, hopes to build its $4.2 billion project.

For the developer, it is a fitting description of the abandoned auto-repair shops, collapsing brownstones and gloomy vacant lots that blemish the area, and of the eight-acre railyards that slice through the neighborhood just south of Atlantic Avenue. For many of the several hundred people who still live there, “blighted” is a term of abuse, one that ignores the sleek, recently renovated buildings on Pacific and Dean Streets, the bustling neighborhood bar, and other signs of revival. Even some supporters of the project, like Assemblyman Roger L. Green, disagree with the description.


NoLandGrab: It is generally acknowledged that NY State's definition of blight, which includes outdated and under-utilized buildings, is so wide that there isn't a neighborhood in New York City that would fail the "blight test."

Posted by lumi at July 25, 2006 8:48 AM