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June 15, 2007

On/Off the Record with Marty Markowitz

City Hall

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City Hall: When it comes to Atlantic Yards, have you been surprised by the process?
Marty Markowitz: Well I have to tell you, this is my first experience at it. You understand, when I was a state senator for 23 years, out of 62 state senators, you’re pretty much hit by the group. Then you become borough president or mayor and you’re one out of one. And it really came as a significant surprise that for the first time in my professional life, I was not able to bring people together. I have to tell you, I tried my best. I really did. I have to tell you I tried my best, my support of Atlantic Yards and my enthusiasm for Atlantic Yards is based on my true, sincere, full belief that it’s for the best of this and future generations of Brooklynites, there’s no question about it. And yet in the first time of my life, I’ve run into a number of people, significant number of people, feel that anyone who’s for Atlantic Yards is a sellout, is being schtupped, is being bribed, is being corrupt, and those are nice words. And never in my life have I met a group of people that if you’re not with them, you’re the enemy. I’ve never had that. I’ve had many disagreements when I first started Albany. Gay rights, abortion rights, those were contentious issues, believe me. But never with the hostility and hate that I’ve experienced during this process.

CH: The design has changed a lot. Do you like where it is now?
MM: Listen, from day one I always and continued to maintain that, the promised numbers of affordable housing units, which is approximately 2,250 units of affordable housing, must be guaranteed. And indeed, Forest City Ratner has not wavered one bit from that commitment. Now, in terms of the other part of the project, the market rate housing, obviously a lot of that is going to support the subsidized housing. And some of it is rightfully going for a fair return for the men and women that are investing in this, which they have every right to do.

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NoLandGrab: On the record and for the record, the "design" hasn't changed that much since the beginning. What has changed is the square footages of commercial vs. housing. Even now, there are two options that were studied in the Environmental Impact Statement, giving the developer, Forest City Ratner, quite a bit of wiggle room down the line.

Posted by lumi at June 15, 2007 6:42 AM