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January 22, 2012

Finally "fed up," Adams, Jeffries, Camara cite lack of Atlantic Yards jobs and housing, call for governance reform; a "litmus test" for Governor Cuomo

Atlantic Yards Report

At a press conference today, three local Democratic officials who've held nuanced and/or supportive positions toward Atlantic Yards adjusted their tune. They condemned the failure to deliver jobs and housing, and urged passage of a state bill to establish a new governance structure, with local input, for the project.

"We are truly concerned--we are outraged," declared state Senator Eric Adams (at podium in photo at left). Developer Forest City Ratner "thought we were going to have short memories and a long construction schedule."

Assemblymembers Hakeem Jeffries and Karim Camara, with the under-construction Barclays Center looming in the background, echoed similar sentiments.

"We have been extremely patient with this project," Adams said at one point. "I don't think that you can find three more elected officials who have attempted to be a voice of reason around this project. And if we're saying we're fed up, then clearly the developer had gone too far."

Their statements likely represented some measure of political calculation--two of the three are running for office--as well as a reflection that their constituents are frustrated.

The project, when initially passed in 2006, was supposed to take ten years to deliver 16 towers and an arena, with 15,000 construction jobs (in job-years) and thousands of permanent jobs. It also was to include 6430 apartments, among them 2250 subsidized "affordable" units.

The project, however, was delayed by the economic downturn, unrealistic plans, and litigation, and was revised in 2009, with contractual documents that allow a 25-year buildout. Only the arena is is under construction right now, and that, officials said, does not justify the subsidies and special benefits Forest City gained.

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Posted by steve at January 22, 2012 11:36 PM