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December 15, 2008

Reasons to Love New York 2008

New York Magazine
by Robert Kolker

NY Magazine celebrates the woes that have befallen Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards megaproject.

#14. Because Sometimes Immense, Gratuitous, Noncontextual Acts of Real-estate Ego Don’t Pan Out…

They say New York is the place where your greatest dreams can come true. Of course, it’s also a place where those dreams can die on the vine. Take Atlantic Yards. Lending new meaning to the term noncontextual, Bruce Ratner’s $4.2 billion, 22-acre combination of residential towers and office buildings, anchored by a basketball arena for the Nets, was supposed to completely transform downtown Brooklyn—with seemingly little thought given to what it might do to the already paralyzed intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. (Did I mention I live two blocks away?)

Ratner promised a Frank Gehry design for the arena and 15,000 union construction jobs. In return, he seemed to get $100 million in cash from both the city and the state, plus tax breaks running up to $1.5 billion. Some neighbors resisted right away, at first with little apparent effect. Ratner dialed down the size of his plan slightly, but more than a half-dozen lawsuits never seemed to get real traction.

In the end, though, all the project’s opponents may have had to do was delay the game until the market changed. Bigger New York dreams than Ratner’s have failed to make it off the drawing board—remember Trump’s Television City, or Rudy’s West Side Yankee Stadium, or Mike’s Olympics?


NoLandGrab: It's more like $305 million in direct cash subsidy, but hey, in flush times like these, what's a couple hundred million more?

Posted by eric at December 15, 2008 10:55 AM