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December 11, 2007

Bait-and-switch from the start? Ratner knew office space projections were bogus

Atlantic Yards Report

On the fourth anniversary of the public announcement of the Atlantic Yards project, Norman Oder examines the apparently bogus prediction, made in 2003, of 10,000 jobs created in 2 million square feet of office space for Atlantic Yards.

The 10,000-job figure couldn't have been correct from the start:

Don't take just anybody's word for it, check with Bruce Ratner from an interview on the Brian Lehrer Show in December 2003:

He told Lehrer, “It’s a very important project, we need housing in this city, we need office space, when the market comes back, for companies not to leave the city.” (Emphasis added)

The implication was that the market was already tanking. If so, why was the developer promising 10,000 jobs? Maybe because it’s a nice round number.

...

As for the timetable, Ratner told Lehrer, “And in about three to three-and-a-half years, I hope to have an arena up and the start of some residential development.” (Emphasis added)

No mention of office jobs.

The result: a project that is now primarily about condos, not jobs. And government agencies and local media were complicit in failing to take a hard look at Ratner's fanciful numbers. As Norman Oder puts it: "We got played."

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Posted by steve at December 11, 2007 8:07 AM