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December 7, 2006

City subsidies make little difference with AY?

Atlantic Yards Report

An article in the New York Observer this week, headlined No, No, No. Yes. The Mayor’s Curious Evolution on Public Money for Private Real Estate, sketches how Mayor Mike Bloomberg has come around on the issue of city support for private projects. The paragraphs relevant to Atlantic Yards:

A city economic-development official said that capital subsidies—or, rather, investments—serve another purpose. “It provides the type of upfront capital funding that is needed in the early stages of the project, when it might be hard to get that money from other sources,” the official said.

Thus, the city is pitching in $100 million for Atlantic Yards, even though that project is so gargantuan—$4.2 billion—that it’s hard to believe it will make a difference. Opponents of the project argue that the public could end up paying much more, through indirect subsidies and also because the memorandum of understanding calls on the city and state to “consider making additional contributions for extraordinary infrastructure costs.”

Au contraire mon frère, says Norman Oder, it's not just opponents who are making the point:

Actually, the Independent Budget Office toted up a long list of public costs, and the Empire State Development Corporation acknowledges both city and state costs.

The affordable housing subsidies, among other things, remain unknown. Indeed, three Assemblymembers recently warned “there has been, to date, no public disclosure of the project’s finances, including detailed cost analysis, anticipated public subsidies, and expected financial return."


Posted by lumi at December 7, 2006 7:56 AM