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July 3, 2007

The AY back story: the desired Devils, modest condemnations, "possible" govt.-backed bonds, and no blight

Atlantic Yards

On first glance at the documents obtained by State Assemblyman Jim Brennan, a back-story emerges that is quite different from the gospel according to Bruce.


The original goal of the Atlantic Yards project was based on sports, not the creation of affordable housing or the elimination of blight, two goals stressed today. According to a 6/17/03 Forest City Ratner (FCR) presentation (2 MB PDF) to the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), unearthed via Assemblyman Jim Brennan's lawsuit to extract Atlantic Yards financial documents, the mission was to relocated both the New Jersey Nets and the New Jersey Devils to Brooklyn, "thereby stimulating economic growth..."

The document also predicts a modest need for the use of eminent domain, a quick approval and construction schedule, and "possible" government backing of bonds--all of which might be considered lowball estimates.

A deal for the Devils never materialized and the problem of having two new arenas in the region gets ignored.

The article is a fascinating look at the development of a development plan. As the Atlantic Yards project outline was growing and the timeline started slipping, the use of eminent domain widened and its justification changed (either the project's mission was altered in keeping with regional growth initiatives or to improve the justification for eminent domain).


Posted by lumi at July 3, 2007 8:59 AM