February 17, 2009
The Rail Yard to Nowhere: Ratner's Quest for an Atlantic Yards Federal Bailout
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (dddb.net) explores the history of the need for a new "state-of-the-art" railyard for which Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner is now seeking federal stimulus bucks.
Why do we need a new railyard?
FCR secured the development rights to the MTA's eight-acre Vanderbilt Rail Yard, despite a bid less than half the site's appraised value, in part because it had committed to building a new, "state-of-the-art" rail yard. The sole purpose of the new rail yard, however, is to facilitate the construction of the proposed arena – not the fulfillment of any transit need expressed by the MTA in 2005 when it approved the sale to FCR; nor is a new rail yard outlined in the MTA's 20-year projected-needs assessment. FCR had committed to the MTA and the public to building this new rail yard and paying for it because the new yard was only necessary for its project.
But didn't Ratner say he was going to pay for the new railyard? [Short answer: YES.]
...[Former MTA Chairman Peter] Kalikow argued that Forest City Ratner would be spending its own money on a public railway that would be made state-of-the-art.
What the MTA also now has is a promise to make major improvements to the Atlantic Yards, at a cost to Ratner of $345 million.
"That's not built with funny money - that's built with real cash," said Forest City Ratner Executive Vice President Jim Stuckey...
Since that time, the developer Forest City Enterprises has been seeking more "real cash" from government sources, most recently from the large pot of honey about to flow from D.C.
Check out the rest of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn's article to read about Ratner's lobbying efforts, the ruse to dress their new railyard up as an MTA "transit project," and some of the politicians who are for and against it.
Posted by lumi at February 17, 2009 4:22 AM