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July 6, 2009

MTA CFO's justification for Forest City Ratner renegotiation: "too speculative" to consider another deal

Atlantic Yards Report

The central question behind the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's June 24 decision to renegotiate more generous terms for the Vanderbilt Yard with Forest City Ratner--$20 million rather than $100 million down, and a replacement railyard worth $100 million less, was whether another deal was possible.

A few MTA boardmembers have publicly stated their feelings that another deal isn't possible.

However, the "Public Authorities Accountability Act" requires that the MTA dispense the land for no less than market value, which would require that an appraisal be done. Was a current appraisal ever done? The MTA told watchdog reporter Norman Oder he'd have to file a Freedom of Information Law request to find out.

How does MTA CFO Gary Dellaverson know another deal isn't possible? Here's what he told WNYC reporter Matthew Schuerman:

I have no idea when it would be more propitious than now to engage in a second transaction on this property. I simply cannot guess. I can tell you that it would turn on answers to questions that nobody has, which is: when does the financial market begin to change, when does the credit market change, when does the housing market change... So I think it's too speculative.

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NoLandGrab: The MTA's steadfast refusal to negotiate with more than a single developer makes the entire deal "too speculative" at best, illegal at worst.

Posted by lumi at July 6, 2009 6:32 AM