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May 30, 2010

In friendly interview, Ratner claims team purchase was a "civic venture," dodges question about arena economics

Atlantic Yards Report

When an interviewer is not knowledgeable and the interviewee is Bruce Ratner, Truth is probably going to take a big hit. Fortunately for us, John Gambling's interview with the subsidy-sucking developer has been reviewed by Norman Oder, who adds the truthiness that is otherwise missing.

Gambling started off by asking if arena construction had begun.

BR: We've been in construction for about a month and, in two years, we will have a brand new arena.

JG: There's more to this than just an arena.

BR: There's the arena. There's housing, both affordable and market-rate housing. It's an architecturally beautiful project. And of course the arena brings the Nets and circuses and all kinds of concerts and entertainment.

Whether it's architecturally beautiful is an open question, given that the only renderings beyond the arena are "vaportecture." Keep in mind that Ratner famously told Crain's New York Business last November, "Why should people get to see plans? This isn't a public project."

...

JG: I wonder whether or not it will detract from New York... maybe suck some of the dollars out of New York into Brooklyn. Have you done any speculation along those lines?

Gambling, a notably uninformed (but authoritative-sounding) interviewer, might have pointed to the June 2009 New York Times article "arena glut" article, which suggests that five arenas--and maybe even four--are too many for the region.

The Barclays Center would compete with the main arena in New York City, Madison Square Garden, but it could compete more with the antiquated Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.

BR: No, I think really what it is is additive.., whether it's the rides that you're about to watch or a new arena anything really new like that is just additive to the experience of New York and it's always been that way, Whether it's a new team when the Mets came, some 30-40 years ago, or whether it's the Nets coming.... It's an additive to the experience, particularly for Brooklyn.., Brooklyn has not had a pro sports team for over 50 years, and now we have a professional sports team in our great borough.

Note that Ratner stresses "an additive to the experience," which is undeniable, rather than analyzing the revenue issue.

link

NoLandGrab: "Additive experience" apparently means the addition of city and state subsidies to Ratner's fortune while the rest of us wonder at the addition of a money-losing arena and acres of parking to Prospect Heights.

Posted by steve at May 30, 2010 8:29 AM