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August 26, 2009

Bloomy still wants Gehry — plus other tidbits from the mayor in our endorsement sit-down

The Brooklyn Paper

In an interview with the Community Newspaper Group, Mayor Bloomberg whined about the loss of architect Frank Gehry and ragged on Atlantic Yards critics:

Mayor Bloomberg said on Monday that Atlantic Yards would be a better project if Bruce Ratner would bring back Frank Gehry’s much-hyped designs for the stalled and increasingly costly arena and 16 skyscrapers.


“If there’s any way Ratner can possibly do it, he should use the Gehry design, because he will get great events from around the world going directly to Brooklyn,” the mayor told a team of reporters and editors from the Community Newspaper Group, the parent company of The Brooklyn Paper. “Simon and Garfunkel on their tour would go to Brooklyn in a second before they go to Madison Square Garden. They’re New Yorkers.”
Like the developer himself — and the borough president he admires — Bloomberg argued that Ratner’s opponents, who have waged numerous court battles against Ratner and his government allies, were largely responsible for depriving Brooklyn of the vaunted architect’s vision.

“One of the great sins here is this small group of people stalled it so long [that] the economy is different,” Bloomberg said.

“I tried to get Ratner to go ahead and do the Gehry design. I thought it would have been an icon, but the economy is just not there.”

But the mayor conceded that Ratner probably would have faltered during the real-estate bust, even without relentless opposition from groups like Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.

“He might have been in trouble halfway through, but at least he would have a project in the ground, going up.”


Atlantic Yards Report, Bloomberg blames AY opponents for loss of Gehry, fails to analyze 50% leap in arena cost

For the Mayor's benefit, Norman Oder explains why Gehry is out:

The cost of the Gehry arena went up from $637.2 million in December 2006 to $950 million in March 2008, well beyond the cost of inflation, and in part because of the cost of security. Did AY opponents have anything to do with that?

Now the arena would cost $772 million. Maybe Bloomberg should be asking for a cost breakdown.

Moreover, given the longstanding slowdown in Downtown Brooklyn office space--well before the economic downturn--it would've been impossible to build Building 1 (once "Miss Brooklyn") in tandem with the arena and impossible to build the four towers integrated into the arena block as Gehry planned.

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, Bloomberg Maintains Out of Touch Stance on Atlantic Yards

Who is the Mayor callin' small?

Would a financial wizard have a problem understanding that Ratner can't afford Frank Gehry any more (if he ever could, which is doubtful)? Would a financial wizard miss a bait and switch if it bit him in the rear?

And would a master handler of the City's business really think that a "small group of people" could stop a $4.9 billion development project?

Some news for the Mayor: The opposition to Atlantic Yards is very big, the small group is the one including you that has tried to foist Ratner's boondoggle on Brooklyn.

Posted by lumi at August 26, 2009 5:46 AM