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June 27, 2009

Build, Bruce, build: Developer Ratner presses ahead on Atlantic Yards

Daily News

This editorial advocates for building Atlantic Yards, but doesn't actually say why that would be a good idea.

Bully to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for making a deal that keeps the Atlantic Yards development alive in Brooklyn. And bully to builder Bruce Ratner for hanging in there to get the project done.

In trying to force a boondoggle at taxpayer expense, yes the MTA and Ratner are bullies.

After five years, the defeat of 23 lawsuits and an economic meltdown, he is pushing to start the $4 billion development's first component: an 18,000-seat arena, home to the Nets and a major entertainment venue.

The plan then envisions construction of 6,400 apartments (35% of them deemed affordable), a school and a health care center, amid 8 acres of open space. This good stuff would be located primarily on land that has been vacant for decades, including a Long Island Rail Road yard. But financing is not as available as it was a few years ago. The MTA board wisely voted to let Ratner pay $100 million over time for the rights to build above the yards, rather than demand a lump sum. With interest, the agency comes out whole.

Wow, where to start... The proposed project is to be built in phases. Just about all of the above-mentioned benefits wouldn't happen until Phase 2. Nobody can say how far into the future that would happen, if ever. Also, how is a working rail yard and an adjoining, active neighborhood vacant land? If there's going to be a school and health care center, someone besides Bruce Ratner will be paying for it.

Ratner will now seek private financing for the arena. His bankers hope to raise the money by the end of the year. Wouldn't that be nice for Brooklyn?


NoLandGrab: No, this most definitely would not be nice, but it would be a big money-loser, as the Daily News has already pointed out: Study shows Atlantic Yards NBA arena project could cost city big-time

Posted by steve at June 27, 2009 6:55 AM