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June 25, 2007

The Olympic Hustle

Chicagoans are already beginning to fear what hosting the 2016 Summer Games might do to their city

In These Times
By Mischa Gaus

In the public discourse about the impacts and benefits of (potentially) hosting the 2016 Olympics, the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement gets a dishonorable mention:

A test case of how CBAs can go wrong is New York City’s Atlantic Yards development. The developer of the massive basketball arena-cum-highrise project in Brooklyn went behind closed doors with the anti-poverty group ACORN to sign a “historic” deal. Two years later, its terms keep getting worse. (Since signatories to CBAs are obligated to support them, ACORN still approves of the agreement even though the percentage and definition of affordable housing continues to shrink.)

Forest City Ratner, the Atlantic Yards’ development firm, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to other signatories, many of which were created just in time to approve the deal. Ratner’s pet groups had black leaders, while existing community groups—many with white leadership—were shut out. Consequently, many neighborhood groups now view CBAs as a slick divide-and-conquer tool of real-estate interests.

“What’s truly astonishing is that people don’t even realize this particular script has been played again and again,” says Patti Hagan of Prospect Heights Action Coalition, which agitates against the Atlantic Yards project. “They’re being led around by the promise of a little bit of money.”


NoLandGrab: Atlantic Yards is now the poster project of government-gone-wild, eminent domain abuse, incredible shrinking benefits, extreme density, public authorities reform, reversal of urban planning orthodoxy, etc, etc...

Posted by lumi at June 25, 2007 9:25 AM