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September 5, 2006

Ratner keeps unveiling smaller plans that are bigger than the first

Today's NY Times scoop, from its Times Tower business partner, about the possible "shavedown" of Atlantic Yards by developer Bruce Ratner, totally missed the fact that a 6%-8% shave to the project would still leave the project bigger than when it was originally announced.

This fact, among several other points, was noted by a few other online voices:
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB.net), Impending Scaleback Won't Cut It
Last week DDDB called the scaleback game a "scam" and listed other important issues. They also give kudos to State Assemblyman Jim Brennan for having the balls to say that this scaleback was "really about aesthetics" and doesn't address many issues which concern the public.

Atlantic Yards Report, AY likely still larger than the original under new scaleback (but does the Times notice?)
AYR gets back to its original mission, analyzing NY Times coverage of its business partner. Norman Oder cruches the numbers:

Unmentioned is the sequence [of] proposals, which show that the project could still be bigger than originally announced:
December 2003: 8 million square feet
September 2005: 9.132 million square feet
March 2006: 8.659 million square feet

A reduction of 500,000 square feet would make the project 8.159 million square feet, while a cut of 700,000 square feet would mean 7.959 million square feet.

The masterstroke is that the Times is reporting that Ratner plans to unveil the new plans after all of the public hearings and community forums:

Today's article continues: The reduction in the project’s scope comes as the Empire State Development Corporation prepares to hold two more public hearings later this month before voting on the project in October. Officials say the developer is likely to unveil the changes around Sept. 25, when the City Planning Commission is expected to issue design guidelines for the project and recommend changes, including a reduction in density.

September 25 is conveniently after the two community forums, and just three days before the end of the comment period to the Empire State Development Corporation.

Capitoilette, Bruce Ratner Comes Out of the Closet (not so much)

You've got to wonder how slimy a deal has to be to get even the Ratner-friendly New York Times to admit in so many words that it is nothing more than some political log-rolling. . . .
And as the Forest City executive admits, this scale-back was planned all along, confirming what many opponents have been insisting for months: the original plan was purposely inflated to provide for a phony compromise later. As Daniel Goldstein from Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn said to the Times, FCR has had this proposal “in their closet for a long time.”

And it’s still in the closet. FC Ratner hasn’t actually unveiled these plans, they’ve just leaked that they are going to unveil some sort of revised plan “sometime later this month.”

Why not unveil it now? Well, that might give opponents of the development time to actually analyze the new proposal. And, so, show up for the next public forum (scheduled for, um, later this month) prepped to show this downsizing for what it is: a sham and a scam

Posted by lumi at September 5, 2006 6:18 AM