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February 25, 2009

UN-FUNNY VALENTINES ARRIVING LATE: YOUR COMMUNITY INTERESTS AT HEART

Noticing New York

UnfunnyValentine.gif Blogger Michael D. D. White imagines neighborhoods sending each other Valentine's Day cards because... well because when it comes to city planning, there's not a whole lotta love goin' round.

9. The Proposed Atlantic Yards Megadevelopment in Brooklyn: Poster Child For Everything Developmentally Bad. Speaking of destroying what the community values and what is economically of superior value, the Fort Greene and Prospect Heights communities, near the proposed Atlantic Yards, should get a valentine from Red Hook. The developer-driven Atlantic Yards involves tearing down worthwhile existing buildings. Some of those buildings, like the Ward Bakery are historic and surpassingly valuable as candidates for adaptive reuse. Others were very recently produced within the last few years by a vigorous and governmentally unaided development economy that the project seeks to quash and replace. The communities near Atlantic Yards will be getting empathy valentines from, and sending them to, almost all the other communities in New York beset by bad development. Atlantic Yards is the one project that is so supremely bad that it is the poster child for virtually every kind of city and state development incompetence and collusive oversubsidization of big developers.

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Atlantic Yards Report, Noticing New York's critique of major projects, and the path not taken of site preparation (at Hudson Yards and AY)

The "Mad O" finds some interesting points in Michael "Double D" White's Funny Valentine post:

There White takes on stadium projects, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Columbia University expansion, the Rudin/St. Vincent’s Real Estate Deal, and a whole lot more. Atlantic Yards, not surprisingly, is deemed "Poster Child For Everything Developmentally Bad."

But probably the most resonant observation regarding AY comes in the segment White devotes to the Hudson Yards project, to be built on railyards that require some very expensive platforms. (The Vanderbilt Yard, less than 40% of the AY site, also would require a platform but not one as extensive.)

White observes:

If the government (as opposed to a private developer) was preparing the site it would not be necessary to postpone the site’s preparation at this time. Site preparation during the current economic downturn might even be cheaper. As it would be a public work, it would arguably be in the running for funding through federal stimulus, an important part of that being that the prepared parcels would later be bid out. But stimulus money cannot be given to a private developer already signed onto the deal because it would totally change the equation based upon which the developer bid to pay the public a low amount for the site. Used that way, the money would eliminate the risk developer assumed and constitute an award of enormous private benefit to the developer without bid.

The same would be true regarding Atlantic Yards, despite Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's push for federal stimulus money for the railyard.

Posted by lumi at February 25, 2009 5:17 AM