« Development amid Deficits, Building amid Budget Gaps | Main | It came from the Blogosphere... »

April 28, 2009

Lessons from Times Square redevelopment: even after legislative approval, financial accountability is needed

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder looks at Atlantic Yards through the lens of "Lynne Sagalyn's 2001 epic analysis of redevelopment, Times Square Roulette."

Closer evaluation

Sagalyn argues that, given the lengthy project buildout and economic changes--situations that have recurred in the case of AY--further analysis was warranted:
This context of review intensifies the accountability issues attached to public deal making, as does the task of coping with a changing economic context and its implications for already-cut deals. Both issues make apparent the need for financial accountability of public deal making, after initial legislative approval. By the conventional norms of public policy, this means some type of review of the public’s financial commitments, an ex-ante evaluation of a deal's costs and benefits or an ex-post audit of financial transactions or both. That the public resources in question may be in the form of off-budget foregone revenues (rent credits or tax abatements) or long-term contingent commitments (ESAC) rather than direct cash grants or loans does not change the logic. It only complicates the tasks of analysis and explanation.
(Emphasis added)
...

Accountability needed

Sagalyn concludes:
If deal making is to progress as an effective and politically sustainable strategy in the took kit of development officials and city planners, the protocols for democratic accountability need to be further refined.

article

Posted by eric at April 28, 2009 11:05 AM