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March 4, 2010

The ESDC's dubious delays: the release of master closing documents and the claim that time doesn't affect AY benefits

Atlantic Yards Report

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) has said a lot of questionable things about the Atlantic Yards project, but two of them deserve another look, given the events of the week.

Both were highlighted at the BrooklynSpeaks press conference Tuesday.

They are:

  • the impact of delay on Atlantic Yards project benefits
  • the delay in releasing master closing documents

Pace of benefits

In Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges's decision Monday approving condemnation of properties for the Atlantic Yards project, the judge failed to reject the state's assertion, "Whatever the pace may be for the delivery of the many public benefits of the Project, the nature of those benefits remains the same."

Really? As BrooklynSpeaks' Gib Veconi pointed out, a delay in delivering affordable housing makes a big difference.

And, to pick a non-AY example, doesn't the nature of benefits change when you get a structured settlement--annuity payments, at a discount--in place of a lump sum? Isn't that why companies now buy structured settlements?

Master closing documents

Also, as BrooklynSpeaks' Jo Anne Simon pointed out, it was quite questionable that the ESDC didn't release the Atlantic Yards master closing documents--which actually govern the project, rather than the more aspirational 2009 Modified General Project Plan (MGPP)--until January 25.

That was six days after a hearing in a case challenging the MGPP was heard in court.

It was also about three weeks after the ESDC told me the documents would be made available.

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NoLandGrab: Attention New York State taxpayers*! Feel free to pay your taxes over whatever period of time you see fit, since according to the state, timing doesn't matter.

* By "taxpayers," we mean "Bruce Ratner," who probably doesn't pay much tax, anyway. His Atlantic Yards project certainly won't.

Posted by eric at March 4, 2010 2:31 PM