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May 27, 2008

At West Side hearing, Brodsky questions subsidies, muses about eminent domain for MSG

Atlantic Yards Report

Last week, Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky chaired a hearing of the Assembly Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee "to assess the status of various projects on Manhattan’s West Side."

For those concerned with Atlantic Yards, however, the story was Brodsky’s ongoing and unresolved effort to assess the proper level of public investment and subsidies in such projects, and the incomplete responses from government officials.

“We want to create the incentives to get the private sector do things they wouldn’t otherwise do,” explained Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Lieber. “We want to use the resources of the public sector sparingly to create incentives for the private sector.” It was, he said, a question of risk and value.

That question deserves a close look in the context of Atlantic Yards. When calculating the value of direct and indirect government support, to what extent, for example, did city and state officials assess the value of naming rights for the arena (and other buildings) in the Atlantic Yards project? The value of luxury boxes? While not traditional subsidies, the opportunity for such special revenue sources was made possible only by the government’s backing of Forest City Ratner’s plan.

While Brodsky mentioned Atlantic Yards in passing more than once, and suggested that the state’s willingness to pursue eminent domain for AY means it shouldn’t be philosophically opposed to using it for Moynihan Station, he wouldn’t commit to holding a hearing on Atlantic Yards.

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Posted by lumi at May 27, 2008 5:42 AM