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March 29, 2011

Cuomo’s H.E.L.P. History Potentially a Pertinent Factor Vis-à-vis Ratner’s Atlantic Yards’ Dense Modular Construction

Noticing New York

It seemed worthwhile to take the Way Back Machine for a spin to retrieve for present-day consideration what may be some pertinent background vis-à-vis Forest City Ratner’s announced intention to build the tallest prefab modular building in the world and then, perhaps, to proceed to build the densest thicket of such buildings imaginable. (See: Friday, March 18, 2011, The Real Question to Ask About the Ratner Bait-and-Switch Approach on Atlantic Yards and Friday, March 18, 2011, A Ratner Bluff on the Not-So-Fab Prefab Modulars? A Second Opinion.)

A mere score of years ago, Andrew Cuomo was using modular to build some of his H.E.L.P. projects, projects that provided transitional or permanent housing for homeless families. This was back when Mr. Cuomo, now governor of the state of New York, was just the son of the then governor of the State of New York, his father Mario. (See: Housing for Homeless Approved, by James Feron, Special to The New York Times, April 24, 1990.)

Why is this important? Because Mr. Cuomo is the decision maker to who controls ESDC (the “New York State Urban Development Corporation” doing business as the “New York State Urban Development Corporation”) and could thereby, with relatively little difficulty, pull the plug on Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards Mega-monopoly to send Mr. Ratner packing. He should.

Although it is potentially pertinent background, it should not be thought that Mr. Ratner is proposing to build in the footsteps of Mr. Cuomo. Mr. Cuomo was never building the sort of tall buildings or high-density project that Mr. Ratner is talking about and he did not push the envelope beyond tested technology as Mr. Ratner proposes to do. Mr. Cuomo promised high quality cost effective design (donated by contributing architects), he did not engage in a bait-and-switcheroo that started with a promise of premium starchitecture via the likes of Frank Gehry.

Click through for an interesting trip back to 1990. What was Michael D.D. White doing back then?

A note of disclosure: I was the attorney in charge of working on these H.E.L.P. projects with Mr. Cuomo at the New York State Housing Finance Agency which provided financing.


Posted by eric at March 29, 2011 9:59 PM