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May 2, 2008

City lets Ratner off the hook

The Brooklyn Paper
By Mike McLaughlin

The Brooklyn Paper covers details first uncovered in the Atlantic Yards Report (via a Freedom of Information request) about more sweetheart dealings between New York City and Bruce Ratner.

Bruce Ratner downsized Atlantic Yards — and it turns out that the city gave him the green light to do so.

A newly released funding agreement reveals that the city let the Atlantic Yards developer off the hook for the downsizing he announced last month — yet will still reward him with $205 million in direct city subsidies.

The agreement, signed last September but only released this week to the Atlantic Yards Report, a Web site, allows Forest City Ratner to scale back the $4-billion arena, apartment and office project and build just the publicly financed basketball arena and two or three downsized towers by 2020, four years later and thousands of units of affordable housing less than the 16-tower full monty that was approved by state officials in December, 2006.

If he manages to build the reduced number of units within that stretched-out timetable, he would avoid any penalties.

The article give further details on the City's agreement with Ratner, and political reaction. It also goes on to mention a lawsuit being brought by tenants in the project footprint.

Meanwhile, a group of residents of the footprint sued the Empire State Development Corporation yet again, claiming that any agreement that gives Ratner more than 10 years to build the affordable units violates state condemnation law.

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Posted by steve at May 2, 2008 5:58 AM