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November 12, 2009

The Coney Island comparison and the Atlantic Yards paradox

Atlantic Yards Report posted a couple of items comparing the City's attempt to redevelop Coney Island and Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards.

On Coney deal, the government pays more than the 2005 value of land, but with the Vanderbilt Yard, the government accepts less

The City has finally struck a deal with Coney Island landowner Joseph Sitt to purchase 6.9 acres for $95.6 million. Having reportedly paid $93 million for approximately 10 acres, Sitt's tidy profit amounts to an increase in the value of the land.

Cut to Atlantic Yards, where the MTA recently renegotiated its deal with Bruce Ratner, spreading payments for the Vanderbilt Railyard over 22 years at a very generous interest rate and agreeing to allow the developer to build a replacement railyard with less capacity than the current railyard. The effective decrease in the value of the land over the railyard is another one of those curious Atlantic Yards paradoxes.

NoLandGrab: For Atlantic Yards's next trick, watchdogs like Norman Oder are keeping an eye on the land values that will have to magically increase in order to justify the triple-tax-free bonds that Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation are hoping to float before the end of the year.

Connecting the dots: How a pastor once protested the Coney Island deal but spoke up for Atlantic Yards

Pastor Guillermo Martino of the Tabernacle of God's Glory Church in Crown Heights, who testified not so coherently on June 22 before the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Finance Committee in favor of the Atlantic Yards plan (video below), has a curious profile when it comes to development disputes.

In November 2007, he protested the mayor's plan for Coney Island. As reported by the Bay News, Martino was "one of the dozens of people who turned out wearing bright yellow hats carrying the message 'The Bloomberg Plan: How Much? How Long? Who Pays?'"
Martino and fellow protesters came on buses chartered by Sen. Carl Kruger, who, as the Daily News later reported, spent several thousand dollars from his campaign fund. (After all, Kruger has a huge campaign fund but an untouchable seat.)
Of course, the same questions, including those on the yellow hats, could be raised about Atlantic Yards. Note the Kruger team included not only Martino but also James Caldwell (right in photo), president of Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement signatory BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development), who heads the 77th Precinct Community Council in Crown Heights.

NLG: So exactly what is these guys' guiding principle?

Posted by lumi at November 12, 2009 4:59 AM