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May 13, 2008

In Yonkers, the feds investigate aspects of Ratner's Ridge Hill deal

Atlantic Yards Report

Enter into the shadowy world of Forest City Ratner and public approvals. Norman Oder offers an overview of what is known and suspected regarding the approval by the Yonkers City Council of the Ridge Hill development.

What critics consider a sweetheart deal regarding Atlantic Yards hasn't provoked investigation into any wrongdoing. It was presented as a fait accompli fast tracked by the Empire State Development Corporation, rather than debated in public by local officials. In Yonkers, however, the curious twists and turns of Forest City Ratner's $630 million, 1000-apartment, 81-acre Ridge Hill project (above) have generated a federal investigation.

Some parallels are found in the way public benefits are promoted for both projects:

The Times reports: Promoters say it will create 4,000 permanent jobs and generate some $20 million a year in property, sales and income tax revenues for Yonkers. But from the start, some questioned the way the project was fast-tracked.

The same questions have been raised about AY.

...

The Times reported:
In a news release at the time of her vote switch, Ms. Annabi cited 11th-hour negotiations with Ratner over property taxes, in which she said she was able to wring out millions of additional dollars. Later, it became clear that some of the promised riches had little chance of being paid because of fine print in contracts that Ms. Annabi said she never saw.

Well, many of the riches projected by Atlantic Yards backers were vastly overstated, given flaws in the cost-benefit analysis, increased public costs, and delays in the project.

NoLandGrab: It's always interesting to see how far Forest City Ratner will go to prevent public scrutiny of its publicly-funded projects

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Posted by steve at May 13, 2008 8:30 AM