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April 18, 2010

AY Report: Emininent Domain For MSG, Development Agreement Coverage Missing, FCR Exec Fights Major Zoning Exceptions

Lupica on Dolan vs.Prokhorov (or anybody), eminent domain for MSG

New York Daily News Sports columnist Mike Lupica, in his column today, takes a few swipes at James Dolan, CEO of Cablevision, chairman of Madison Square Garden, and thus principal owner of the Knicks, whose woes have been caused largely by some unwise management decisions:

Incidentally, whom do you think Knick fans would like to have own their team right now, Dolan or the Mikhail Prokhorov?

You don't actually have to answer, it was a kind of a rhetorical question.

You know why they'd pick Prokhorov?

Because they'd pick anybody over the guy they have.

...I don't mean to harp on this, but why CAN'T we use eminent domain to seize the Garden from Dolan the way the city and state seized all that real estate in Brooklyn for Caring Bruce Ratner?

So, a kerfluffle at a coffee bar was bigger news than the Development Agreement? At least the Brooklyn Paper beats the Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Coverage of how the ESDC, tool of developer Bruce Ratner, withheld the Development Agreement (which reveals that the developer has 25 years to build Atlantic Yards) until after court cases had been decided should have made for some great reporting opportunities for Brooklyn media outlets. Except the Brooklyn Paper has been slow to jump on the story.

The subordinate story, first published online April 8, concerns the request that Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman reconsider her dismissal of a case challenging the Empire State Development Corporation's 2009 approval of Atlantic Yards, given that a belatedly released Development Agreement gives the developer 25 years to build the project, rather than the officially announced ten years. (Here's my coverage.)

It's not surprising that the Brooklyn Paper would choose more recent stories to highlight in print.

But the fact remains: the newspaper hadn't covered the Development Agreement previously (here's the Atlantic Yards section), even though I broke the news in January.

I have to think that a pre-Murdoch version of the Brooklyn Paper would've jumped on that news.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle doesn't want to believe what happened.

At least the Brooklyn Paper took the allegations seriously. By contrast, note the distinctively skeptical tone in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle's coverage, headlined Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards Will Take Over 25 Years, New Legal Documents Claim:


In what appears to be part of the never-ending litigation involving Atlantic Yards, DDDB now claims that the state’s Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) intentionally withheld documents from the court, so that the court would rule in ESDC’s favor.

Well, was the evidence available at the time of oral argument or not? It wasn't.

Was it intentionally withheld? It sure seems so.

Brutally weirder: Forest City executive (who falsely claims FCR's project are as-of-right) leads fight against Major Zoning Exceptions

Remember Forest City Ratner executive Bob Sanna, fighting an allegedly out-of-scale building in his hometown of Millburn, NJ, with deceptive claims that all of his own firm's project are as-of-right?

It's gotten brutally weirder.

According to a 4/13/10 report on NorthJersey.com, "Sanna, a trustee of the Concerned Neighborhood Association, finished the evening handing out buttons: 'Stop Major Zoning Exceptions.'"

What is Atlantic Yards if not a "Major Zoning Exception"?

As the Scope for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for AY stated:

It is anticipated that ESDC, in consultation with the City of New York (City), will: override the New York City Zoning Resolution with respect to use, bulk, (including height, setback, and floor area), signage, parking, and other requirements; the Atlantic Terminal Urban Renewal Plan as it relates to Site 5 and 6A; and the City Map to discontinue and acquire City streets.

Posted by steve at April 18, 2010 7:32 AM