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September 22, 2006

Ratner to build City Tech tower

He’ll top off classrooms with luxury apartments

The Brooklyn Papers By Ariella Cohen

City University of New York has picked Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner to build a skyscraper for New York City College of Technology’s Downtown campus — a $186-million Renzo Piano-designed facility that will include classrooms and hundreds of luxury units controlled by the developer, The Brooklyn Papers has learned.

The state will finance the CUNY portion of the development, while underwriting Ratner’s construction through bonds.

Ratner won the development rights in competition with one other builder — but state officials would not release information about either bid, nor what Ratner paid for the right to develop luxury housing at a crucial site at the corner of Jay and Tillary streets.

The majority of the residential units will be sold or rented at market rates, but Ratner’s winning bid included a commitment to reserve 20 percent of the rentals at below-market rates. That commitment would make Ratner eligible for additional subsidies.

CUNY spokesman Mike Arena said the “project deals with our academic needs, while reflecting an ambitious plan to create a stronger presence for the school in Downtown Brooklyn.” But other public officials, and Ratner’s spokespeople, declined to give details.

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NoLandGrab: No one is disputing the need for CUNY to expand its presence in Brooklyn, but what we don't understand is why details of another state-subsidized plan has to be kept secret. The State and Ratner's knee-jerk no-comment pr spasms promoting secrecy only raises eyebrows.

The Brooklyn Papers editorializes on this matter:

Officials told us that Ratner beat out another developer for the lucrative contract, but would not tell us who the other would-be developer was and why Ratner’s proposal was better.

Considering that the winning bidder gets to sell luxury housing as part of the deal, it’s important to know the details of both parties’ bids.

When this administration doesn’t answer our questions, it is denying you information you need.
...
But its refusal to answer questions about those deals — or release documents that could let objective experts review the details — makes it impossible for the public to know whether those deals are good ones or bad ones for taxpayers.

Posted by lumi at September 22, 2006 6:52 AM