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September 28, 2008

"Economic engine"? Markowitz repeats AY boilerplate, fails to check facts

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Atlantic Yards Report looks at this week's Courier-Life article where Markowitz refers to Atlantic Yards as an "economic engine that will power our borough through lean times."

Markowitz’s “economic engine” quote comes from the Atlantic Yards web site and, while it’s true that any project creates temporary construction jobs--Atlantic Yards would be 1500 a year, but note that the choice is not between AY and nothing--and a growth in residents creates retail demand, the economic benefits of the project, compared to costs, are extremely murky.

We know the arena might be a loss. We know that Forest City Ratner's "economic engine" quote is attached to the dubious Ratner-commissioned study by sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, who counts taxes from residents of new housing, while more legitimate studies--including all those by government agencies, however flawed--count taxes not from residents but from new jobs.

Moreover, the most significant factor driving tax revenues is commercial space--remember, a drop in planned commercial space cut projected AY tax revenues by nearly one-third. Meanwhile, as Forest City Ratner cold-calls to find an anchor for the unscheduled Building 1 office tower, the commercial office market in New York has tanked.

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Posted by amy at September 28, 2008 2:30 PM