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July 20, 2007

Amendment of 421-a Bill Could Save City Millions

The NY Sun
By Eliot Brown

A carve-out for the Atlantic Yards project in a housing tax break bill could be removed during a special legislative session, as legislators are pushing to block what has been called a giant taxpayer giveaway.

Last month, the Legislature approved a renewed residential tax break bill, known as 421-a, which contained expanded provisions for “affordable” housing. However the deal-making involved in crafting the bill, which has yet to be sent to Governor Spitzer for his signature, resulted in facets that angered advocates of both housing and development. The mayor has called for a veto of the bill should it not be amended, as has the City Council speaker, Christine Quinn.

The chief focus of criticisms of the bill is an exemption crafted for Brooklyn’s $4 billion Atlantic Yards project, which Mayor Bloomberg has said could cost the city upwards of $300 million. The lead architect of the bill, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, said all parties are talking, including developer Forest City Ratner, and that there seems to be support for at least scaling back the Atlantic Yards provision.

article

NoLandGrab: Is it possible that Vito Lopez is testing the waters for "at least scaling back the Atlantic Yards provision" to claim a win-win for the developer, politicians and community? "Scaling back" a handout, that's brilliant!

The history of "scalebacks" for Atlantic Yards is deceptive and murky:

In September 2006, Ratner announced a "scaleback" of the project, in a NY Times exclusive that returned the project to roughly the square footage originally announced in 2003.

In December 2006, the height of the project's signature tower, "Miss Brooklyn," was "scaled back" to one foot less than the height of the landmark Williamsburg Savings Bank clock tower. Ratner has yet to release details about the bulk and square footage of the "new Miss Brooklyn," though project critics note that the building will likely be much more massive than the clock tower.

We can hardly wait for details of the next "scaleback."

Posted by lumi at July 20, 2007 9:20 AM