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March 2, 2011

In Edmonton, at least, Atlantic Yards haunts Andrew Zimbalist

Atlantic Yards Report

Somehow my critique of sports economist Andrew Zimbalist's contradictions is getting taken seriously in Edmonton, Alberta.


Related coverage...

Edmonton Journal, Sports economist Zimbalist under attack for his shifting views on arena building

In an interview with the Journal's Gary Lamphier, Zimbalist made it clear he's no fan of the Community Revitalization Levy mechanism (which is proposed in Edmonton) as a way to generate public funding for arenas or stadiums. Too often, he told Lamphier, CRLs fail to live up to initial forecasts.

Zimbalist also liked to see solid commitments from developers before a project proceeds, not just vague promises. Zimbalist also challenged Katz's argument that the Oilers' financial viability depended on a new arena. "Citing Forbes magazine's annual survey of NHL franchises -- the only source of public information available -- Zimbalist said the team ranked among the most profitable in a league where half the 30 clubs are mired in red ink," Lamphier wrote.

Lamphier's article caught the attention of gadfly Norman Oder, who has been keeping a close eye on the multi-year attempt to build a new arena at the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn.

Oder wrote on his blog, Atlantic Yards Report, that the somewhat pessimistic and definitely tough-talking position that Zimbalist took in Edmonton with Katz is in conflict with the much more optimistic view that Zimbalist took when he was hired by the Brooklyn arena developer, Bruce Ratner, to do a feasability study.

NoLandGrab: Guess it all depends upon who's signing Mr. Zimbalist's paycheck.

Posted by eric at March 2, 2011 12:39 PM