July 26, 2007
RATNER CLAUSE CONPROMISE
The NY Daily News got the big scoop today:
Under pressure from the city, developer Forest City Ratner's sweetheart tax break is getting scaled back by state lawmakers, the Daily News has learned.
Officials yesterday agreed to reduce to 15 years the length of time Bruce Ratner is exempt from paying property taxes on 1,900 market-rate condos slated for the Atlantic Yards project, a tweak that could save the city $100 million.
A Bloomberg spokesman declined to discuss details of the negotiations but said Forest City Ratner and city officials had hammered out an agreement this week.
NoLandGrab: Ha, ha this is a joke, right? After holding "negotiations" with Forest City, the Bloomberg administration has come up with a "scale back" "that could save the city $100 million."
Do they mean saving the city $100 million of the $300 million the previous deal gave away? What's wrong with Ratner getting the same deal as every other developer in NYC?
DEJA VU ALERT:
In 2005, the MTA "negotiated" with Forest City Ratner to spice up the embarrassingly low $50M offer for the development rights for the railyards. The $100M deal they hammered out was still lower than the $150M competing offer from the Extel development company and much lower than the MTA's original $214M appraisal.
"Negotiations" always seem to end in Ratner's favor, which makes you wonder what kind of superpowers he possesses.
Since Atlantic Yards was announced in 2003, the project continued to grow on the drawing board. In 2006, The New York Times had an exclusive that announced that Ratner decided to "scale back" the project. The Times didn't comprehend that Atlantic Yards was "scaled back" to roughly its original size.
Today's News story had the step on the NY Post's "exclusive."
After threatening to pull $100 million in subsidies from the controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, the Bloomberg administration appears close to a compromise over middle-income housing, sources said yesterday.
The administration, developer Bruce Ratner and state legislators have made significant progress in recent days negotiating changes to an affordable-housing reform bill passed by the Legislature.
NoLandGrab: Though the Post missed the story, it's interesting how the word "negotiating" was used again, as if Forest City is another branch of government or something.
Atlantic Yards Report confirms our suspicions that $100M savings is really just a one-third decrease in the big special gift to Ratner and explains that the special carveout still stands.
Because the gist of the exclusive, published unaccountably in the newspaper's Brooklyn section--is this not of citywide interest?--is that the "Atlantic Yards carve-out" would be reduced from $300 million to $200 million because the 1930 condos would get tax exemptions for 15 years rather than 25 years.
Missing is the voice of any neutral analyst, but surely such person could point out that, while Forest City Ratner did expect to get tax breaks for all-condo buildings before the law changed, the justification for treating this development differently is hard to get past the average citizen, as noted Tuesday by Jeffries' constituency.
The NY Times is bringing up the rear today with their City Room blog post citing the NY Post article.
Posted by lumi at July 26, 2007 9:11 AM