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September 17, 2008

Deputy Mayor Lieber's Answers Raise More Questions About Atlantic Yards

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn is focusing in on two comments made by NYC's Deputy Mayor for Economic Development (link) that seem to set the stage for more governmental assistance for Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards project, in conjunction with further delays of the most highly touted benefit, affordable housing:

The NY Observer's Eliot Brown interviewed Deputy Mayor for economic development Robert Lieber. Mr. Lieber had some interesting things to say about Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project:

Q: With Atlantic Yards, the developer wants more subsidy to build an arena and housing complex in Brooklyn. Is the city open to that?

A: We look at Atlantic Yards as an important project, and one of the things that we try and do in accommodating future growth is to try to do it around transit nodes, and that’s a prime transit node there, so we’re very, very supportive of getting that project under way. There are a number of ways we’re trying to help them do that. Obviously, we have budget concerns and budget issues that we have to be very mindful of.

That sounds like a hedge—much like Mayor Bloomberg's hedge last week—that the city may be trying to pave the way to heap more taxpayer subsidies on Bruce Ratner's folly, which is already subsidized the hilt.

The interview continues.

Q: Do you think it will ever be built out in full, to 6,400 apartments?

A: Sure. What I would say is that we want to create the conditions so that can happen. The market will determine when that happens.

(Emphasis added)

Atlantic Yards Report, Essentially undermining Ratner's pledge, Deputy Mayor says market will determine AY timetable

Norman Oder analyzes Lieber's comments:

Lieber's realistic answer, however, clashes with the assertion by developer Bruce Ratner that "We anticipate finishing all of Atlantic Yards by 2018."

It also backs up the neighborhood and civic groups challenging the stated 2016 Build Year in the Atlantic Yards environmental review; they contend that a ten-year timetable--however realistic from a construction sense--does not comport with the reality of a megaproject, and the state should've studied impacts over a longer period.

We'll see if Lieber's comments are raised in the appellate argument today.

Posted by lumi at September 17, 2008 7:31 AM