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February 28, 2009

Atlantic Yards Report Saturday Trio of Truth

"Little guy" Gehry says Atlantic Yards is "stopped"; what are the implications?

In a profile of Frank Gehry in the Los Angeles Times, the starchitect says that Atlantic Yards is "stopped". What, exactly, could he mean?

Unexplained is the meaning of "stopped." Developer Forest City Ratner, of course, is chomping at the bit to break ground on the arena. The major legal cases may be cleared this spring, though appeals are possible, but financing remains uncertain.

Gehry could have easily have said the project is "on hold." So either he was infelicitous in his language or he knows more about the developer's plans than the rest of us.

Alternatively, he could have meant that the project is, for him, "stopped," given that his designs for an arena are undergoing major changes.

Gehry's statements back up (if not completely confirm) the reportage in the Wall Street Journal and New York Daily News that he's laid off his staff working on Atlantic Yards. It's too bad he wasn't asked a specific question.

ESPN's Simmons on NBA contraction: "Welcome to the No Benjamins Association"

The economy is making things difficult for lots of enterprises, and the NBA is no exception. A review of an ESPN item causes Norman Oder to ponder if the New Jersey Nets might be sold.

In a piece cleverly headlined Welcome to the No Benjamins Association, ESPN columnist Bill Simmons points to the parlous economic future faced by the National Basketball Association (NBA).

He notes that, at previous All-Star Games, the topics were various: This season? We talked about money. Constantly. We didn't even know about the line of credit on the horizon; that didn't leak until the Monday after the All-Star Game. (On Thursday, we learned that 12 teams will accept the league's offer to borrow $200 million from JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, with between $13 million and $20 million available to each team...) We knew about layoffs of employees within the league and various franchises. We knew various local and national sponsors were bailing, most notably car companies and major banks (two staples for the NBA). We knew certain franchises were losing significant wads of money and reacting accordingly.

Yormark claims (incorrectly) that Bloomberg saluted AY affordable housing

Mayor Bloomberg manages to not mention affordable housing these days when endorsing Atlantic Yards, which is smart as it's not clear if the affordable housing component of the development will be built. Nets CEO Brett Yormark isn't quite with the program.

Yesterday, commenting on the most recent court ruling regarding the Atlantic Yards case, New Jersey Nets CEO Brett Yormark said, in a Fox Business Network (FBN) interview (at 3:45 of video): "I'd love to echo the mayor's sentiments when he said we've got to get this project started, the affordable housing, the jobs, it's much-needed."

Well, Atlantic Yards backers may have memorized the affordable housing mantra, but that doesn't mean everyone else has done so. Why does Yormark have to make things up?

Here's the statement Mayor Mike Bloomberg issued: “The Atlantic Yards project will create thousands of jobs and generate badly-needed tax revenue. The court’s unanimous affirmation today that the review and approvals processes were comprehensive and properly completed is a big step towards the start of construction.”

DDDB noted that affordable housing is on the back-burner.

Posted by steve at February 28, 2009 6:51 PM