July 10, 2006

Hudson Yards in the blogosphere

NewYorkGames.org links the local coverage of Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer's pronouncement that NYC's offer for the Hudson Yards is "grossy under market value" and concludes:

As predicted, they're trying to end-run the next governor, and he knows it.

It'll be interesting to see what guarantees West Side electeds have that the administration will propose a community-friendly plan. With the city planning a subway stop at this site, the proposed density is likely to be significant (arguably, appropriately so). It would be much cheaper to zone it to control development.

NoLandGrab: The call for "community-friendly" development grows louder as politicians and developers are seen as not having the community's best interests in mind.

OnNYTurf examines Assemblymember Richard Brodsky's stance on NYC's offer to puchase the development rights over the Hudson Railyards and wonders if Brodsky feels the same about Brooklyn's Vanderbilt Yards and Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards proposal.

Dan Goldstein explains that the Public Authorities Reform Bill also applies to Atlantic Yards:

"The Public Authorities Reform Bill also raises serious questions about the legality of the below market sale of the Vanderbilt Rail Yards to Forest City Ratner–legal questions which are litigable. The FCR/MTA agreement for the yards has not closed and will not unless Ratner's proposal is approved. The Reform Bill applies to all land deals that haven't closed."

Posted by lumi at 06:53 AM

July 07, 2006

City Offers $500 Million for West Side Railyards

Remember how the MTA held a sham bidding process for the Hudson Railyards? Then, just over a year ago, the Public Authorities Control Board nixed the entire deal.

Today, Charles Bagli in The NY Times is reporting that:

The Bloomberg administration and the City Council have offered to pay $500 million for the development rights to 26 acres of railyards on Manhattan's Far West Side, the site of a titanic but unsuccessful battle last year to build the world's most expensive football stadium.


NoLandGrab: Here's proof that the Mayor understands that sports stadiums and arenas are not the only way to spark development. It also shows that it is possible for NY City to go back to the drawing board to develop the Vanderbilt Railyards at Atlantic and Flatbush without undermining the existing fabric of the surrounding communities.

Posted by lumi at 09:16 AM

May 11, 2006

Olympic Sites Become Topic Of Hot Debate

NY Sun
By David Lombino

Nearly a year since the Bloomberg administration’s Olympic dreams died, the legacy of its elaborate citywide development plan is a subject of debate. Advocates say the plans laid the groundwork for future growth, while critics charge the mayor was overeager and cost taxpayers.

The New York 2012 Olympics plan called for more than 20 venues to be built across the five boroughs, pairing sports like beach volleyball with the Brooklyn waterfront and whitewater kayaking with Flushing. Mayor Bloomberg’s announcement last week that the city would not pursue a 2016 Olympics bid signals that most of those planned venues will never come to fruition. Still, the administration is touting the Olympic legacy as a spur for some of the broad economic development that is occurring across the city.
The author of the Web site newyorkgames.org, Brian Hatch, an advocate of the Olympics who has been critical of the Bloomberg administration’s bid, said most of the development on or near the planned Olympics venues would have happened anyway in today’s booming development environment. Instead, he said, the administration’s rabid interest in the Olympic sites had a negative effect for taxpayers.

“The deals got better for the developer in most instances,” Mr. Hatch said.
[Julia] Vitullo-Martin pointed to Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project as an example of where Olympic dreams may have clouded [Deputy Mayor Dan] Doctoroff’s judgment. She called the project, which would have housed the gymnastics competition, “way too big, and way too subsidized.”


Posted by lumi at 06:13 AM

September 01, 2005


The NY Times, Metro Briefing
by Charles Bagli

The Jets formally notified the Metropolitan Transportation Authority yesterday that the team would not buy development rights at the West Side railyards for a stadium that would be used for football and trade shows. After nearly five years of effort, the $2.2 billion project suffered a potentially fatal setback in June when state legislative leaders refused to approve the stadium, which had been opposed by some neighborhood and civic groups. The team is negotiating to build a stadium in New Jersey that would also house the Giants, while also exploring the possibility of building its own home in Queens.


NoLandGrab: So NoLandGrab doesn't have a cable network, television stations, and millions of dollars to speand on telling folks why Bruce Ratner's arena and high-rise towers in Prospect Heights (and coming soon to Ft. Greene and Park Slope) is a bad idea. But remember, this ISN'T A DONE DEAL.

Posted by lumi at 06:02 AM

August 01, 2005

Mike Lupica: Shooting from the Lip

NY Daily News

Mike Lupica is either a super genius or the only columnist in a local daily paper that has the credentials and guts to make the following point:

And, oh by the way, the deal that Caring Bruce Ratner is getting on that land in Brooklyn is the same kind of sweetheart deal the Jets were trying to get from their friends in city and state politics.


Posted by lumi at 10:16 AM

July 26, 2005

Reverend Al and The Man, and a warning to the MTA

Fans For Fair Play

The specter of the Jets West Side Stadium debacle makes an encore appearance in Rev. Sharpton's support and the MTA's possible rush to pick the lower bid.

Sharpton's support:

...must be, at best, a seriously mixed blessing for [Forest City Ratner]. Sure, they get another tenuous toehold in the Black community, but they also get a guy who anyone can approach on the street and ask "hey, Reverend, that Jets stadium thingie you endorsed, how's that coming along?"

The MTA can ill-afford another fiasco like the Jets stadium. The Brooklyn process is the same deal. After being forced by an angry public to create an open bidding process, the favored bidder -- a sports-team-owning pal of the governor and mayor -- submits the worst bid, fraught with add-ons nicked from Peter to pretend to pay Paul. The MTA board's vote appears, at this stage, to be a slap-dash rush-job. The principles of fairness and democracy lose again.


Posted by lumi at 07:04 AM

June 10, 2005

All over but the shouting

Field of Schemes
by Neil deMause

In the synopsis of the hoopla surrounding the imminent death of the West Side Stadium, deMause mentions what is becoming known in NYC as "the other stadium."

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the Brooklyn Nets arena plans are "quietly coming to fruition" thanks to "a seasoned team of lobbyists who immediately went to work building support among political leaders." This is the latest in the Times' "Lobbyists rock!" series, following a pair of articles by reporter Jennifer Steinhauer bemoaning how hard it is for developers to get politicians to do their bidding.


Posted by lumi at 07:23 AM

Stadium loss is a win-win

by Dan Ackman

Ackman points out that the stadium plan was a liability to the Olympic bid:

But the way to win the Olympics is not to impress the IOC with how much the Olympics will do for the host city; it's to convince them how much the host city will do for the Olympics.

Here's a point that detractors to Ratner's arena proposal take seriously:

In recent years, developers have grabbed every available site to build. If the rail yards were made available for other uses, developers would build there, too. Not a stadium, but someone would build something.


Posted by lumi at 06:34 AM

June 07, 2005

Silver lining for West Side Stadium Opponents

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader Joseph Bruno's representatives on the Public Authorities Control Review Board pulled the plug on the final step in the approval process. Here are the local headlines:

NY Daily News, W. Side story: No way!
NY Daily News, Mike Lupica, West Side glory

Silver stood up to the mayor and the deputy mayor yesterday. He stood up to Gov. George Pataki and Woody Johnson and Jay Cross, the Jets team president in charge of stadium building. In the process, Silver also delivered the speech of his life.

NY Daily News, Editorial, Shelly Silver: Wrong, wrong, wrong
NY Daily News, Juan Gonzales, It was one vote he couldn't buy
NY Times, Olympic Bid Hurt as New York Fails in West Side Stadium Quest
NY Times, Editorial, A Stand Against the Stadium

The board meeting was packed yesterday with protesters, mostly out-of-work laborers pushing for the stadium.

"If someone goes against us politically, we promise retribution," said James Mahoney, business agent for Local Union 580 of the Ornamental and Architectural Iron Workers.

NY Post, John Podhoretz, WEST SIDE BLUES
NY Newsday, Lawmakers say no to stadium
*NY Newsday, Shaun Powell, *No West Side stadium? Fine

Taxpayers should not give a dime to sports owners to build stadiums or arenas. If they want one, let them cover 100 percent of the cost and then charge whatever their football or basketball or hockey nuts will pay.

NY Newsday, A defeat for Bloomberg?

Monday, the former Bronx borough president [Fernando Ferrer] said Bloomberg had "done his best to make New York City a playground for the rich instead of doing his job."

Bloomberg's campaign would rather hear those statements in early June than during the fall general election. In fact, the mayor's public relations and political staff have fretted for months over the damage a long and publicly embarrassing West Side war would have on his re-election chances.

Some have questioned the influence wielded by dollar-a-year Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, the architect of the plan and prime booster of the city's Olympics bid, people familiar with the situation said.

NLG, Q: Though the West Side Stadium and Atlantic Yards proposals have many issues in common, will yesterday's vote mean that the media will turn their attention to the Ratner's plan?

Q: The West Side Stadium fight has embarassed the MTA into issuing an RFP for the Atlantic/Vanderbilt Railyards, but will that be enough?

Posted by lumi at 07:57 AM

June 03, 2005

Hudson Railyards suits tossed out by judge

You've heard the news. Here's the coverage:

WNYC, Major Victory for West Side Stadium
The NY Times, Hurdle Cleared, West Side Stadium Backers Turn to Albany

NY Daily News, Judge throws out lawsuit against West Side stadium

The judge also shot down the lawsuit claim that the MTA had not allowed bidders enough time to prepare their proposals. Both sides were working under the same 27-day time constraints, [Justice] Cahn said.


The state's top fiscal watchdog — sounding a lot like his longtime Democratic ally, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — unexpectedly declared that it would be "premature" for the Public Authorities Control Board to vote for approval of $300 million in state funding for the project.

NY Newsday, Stadium future still uncertain

Despite stern words from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki -- both staunch stadium backers -- Silver suggested to reporters he might seek to again postpone the decision.

Posted by lumi at 06:58 AM

May 23, 2005

WNBC Gabe Pressman Interview: Sheldon Silver


Pressman and Silver add up the costs of the West Side Stadium:

"Well, people advertise it as a $600 million public commitment for a $2 billion-plus stadium. But there are many questions as to that. Part of the so-called Jet payment is a $450 million tax-exempt bond issue by the local development corporation that is designed to finance the Jets' payments for the stadium. In order to pay those bonds off, the Jets will receive a virtual real estate tax exemption and will pay taxes to the city in lieu of real estate taxes. And that money will go to pay the $450 bond issue. So the way I count, that's another public commitment to this stadium..."

These are just the KNOWN costs.

The Public Authorities Control Board was set up to authorize debt issued by the State through various channels, even Local Development Corporations (LDCs). Silver points out that there are still several questions that remain before the board can vote.


NoLandGrab: For folks following Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards proposal, this conversation will sound very familiar, expect that the PILOT financing of the bond debt for Ratner's project is even higher than the West Side Stadium.

Posted by lumi at 07:28 AM

May 13, 2005

City Council passes Speakers PILOT legislation

Wednesday, the NY City Council passed Speaker Gifford Miller's PILOT legislation (Intro 584-A), which would bar the Mayor from spending City money without the City Council approval, including money disbursed from the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) fund. This legislation is targeting Mayor Bloomberg's proposal that the City contribute $300 million to the building of the West Side Stadium.

This legislation could have bearing on the Mayor's proposal to spend $100 million on the Nets Arena proposal, though New Yorkers can expect that the Mayor will veto the legislation, the Council will overide the veto and the whole ball of wax will end up in the courts.

The Daily News, Council bars mayor from stadium aid
Gotham Gazette, City Council Slated Meeting Notes: West Side Stadium Financing
City Council Press Release

Posted by lumi at 07:17 AM

City Council passes Speakers PILOT legislation

Wednesday, the NY City Council passed Speaker Gifford Miller's PILOT legislation (Intro 584-A), which would bar the Mayor from spending City money without the City Council approval, including money disbursed from the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) fund. This legislation is targeting Mayor Bloomberg's proposal that the City contribute $300 million to the building of the West Side Stadium.

This legislation could have bearing on the Mayor's proposal to spend $100 million on the Nets Arena proposal, though New Yorkers can expect that the Mayor will veto the legislation, the Council will overide the veto and the whole ball of wax will end up in the courts.

The Daily News, Council bars mayor from stadium aid
Gotham Gazette, City Council Slated Meeting Notes: West Side Stadium Financing
City Council Press Release

Posted by lumi at 07:17 AM

May 12, 2005

New York City Council moves to block West Side stadium funding

NY Newsday

The City Council on Wednesday moved to block a source of funding for the football stadium that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Jets want to build on Manhattan's West Side.

Lawmakers passed a bill requiring council approval before the city spends money known as PILOTs, or payments in lieu of taxes, which is what the mayor planned to tap for the city's $300 million portion of the $2 billion stadium.


NY Daily News, Council bars mayor from stadium aid
NewYorkNewsNetwork.com, Miller Goes On Olympics Offensive

Posted by lumi at 06:59 AM

May 10, 2005

Impact of a Stadium: A Look at Other Cities

The NY Times

An examination at two recently built downtown arenas in Miami and Toronto indicate that the jury is still out on whether or not they delivered the benefits originally promised.

Officials for the Jets and the city argue that the building will be an agent of renewal, anchoring and rejuvenating an area that now amounts to little more than abandoned rail yards and urban blight. Opponents say the stadium is a brassy and architecturally undistinguished behemoth that will compromise the neighborhood's character, breed congestion and fail to foster daytime activity in a dormant area.


Posted by lumi at 09:09 AM

May 03, 2005

New York’s Proposed Stadiums and Arenas

localvenues.jpg Gotham Gazette

An overview of how NYC's three proposed sports venues compare to others across the nation.

[W]hen comparing New York’s proposed stadiums and arenas to others across the country, some things are clear:


Posted by lumi at 08:04 AM

April 25, 2005

In City's Push for Stadium, Silver's District Reaps Benefits

NY Times
By Jim Rutenberg & Charles V. Bagli

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is playing hard to get as his support is being sought in several key development projects. Mayor Bloomberg is nuturing their personal relationship and conceeding several key demands of the representative from Lower Manhattan. Will the campaigning result in a win for the Mayor's West Side Stadium project?

Playing the sought-after belle of the ball, Mr. Silver has been musing recently that he sees no need to rush consideration of the stadium plan. And with the stakes rising each day, he seems to be getting his way on matters he has long groused about.

Just a couple of months ago, Mr. Silver complained in an interview about a number of needs in his district - which includes much of Lower Manhattan - that he considered unmet by the city and the state. He expressed displeasure that plans for a badly needed elementary school were "stalled."


Posted by lumi at 07:27 AM

April 20, 2005


NY Post

Approval on West Side Stadium is slowed down by concerns raised by lawsuits.

Final approval for the West Side stadium is unlikely by the May deadline set by the Jets to land a 2010 Super Bowl because of a growing number of lawsuits filed against the project, a key state lawmaker warned yesterday.

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum joined the legal fray yesterday, filing the third lawsuit aimed at blocking the MTA's sale to the Jets of the air rights over the West Side rail yards.


Posted by lumi at 06:20 AM

April 17, 2005

Mike Lupica: Shooting from the lip

NY Daily News

Our elected politicians rolled over for Caring Bruce Ratner in Brooklyn.

Then Mayor Money and his trusty aid, Shifty Doctoroff, did everything in their powers to give away the Hudson Railyards to the extremely needy Woody Johnson of the Jets.


Posted by lumi at 07:56 AM

April 13, 2005

DDDb Press Release: West Side Boondoggle is Just the Beginning

New Report Reveals $2 BILLION Cost to Public
of ESDC’s “Understanding” with Bruce Ratner

NEW YORK—As the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) rushed to rubber stamp the hotly-contested West Side Stadium today, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) released Anatomy of a Sweetheart Deal: The Atlantic Yards MOU for Dummies and Public Subsidies for Dummies —a report on the ESDC’s Memorandum of Understanding with Mega-Developer Bruce Ratner, and the cost to taxpayers of his proposed development.

The report analyzes subsidies described in the Memorandum signed by Ratner, the ESDC, and the City in March, and concludes that the 17-skyscrapers and arena proposed for Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (“Atlantic Yards”) would cost New York City and State Taxpayers close to $2 billion dollars, and potentially a lot more.

“The ESDC must think taxpayers really are dummies,” said Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn Spokesperson Daniel Goldstein. “This is an utter misuse of public dollars, and the biggest act of public theft since the days of the Robber Barons. With maximum public subsidies, no accountable political oversight, and no public input it makes what’s going on with the West Side Stadium look like some kind of warm-up act.”

To Download Anatomy of a Sweetheart Deal: The Atlantic Yards MOU for Dummies and Public Subsidies for Dummies, go to www.dddb.net/dummies.

Posted by lumi at 10:19 PM

West Side Stadium Watch

No suprises here. Brooklynites will get that deja-vu-all-over-again feeling when Ratner's Nets arena is approved by the same rubber-stamp board that voted on Tuesday to advance the West Side Stadium to the next stage in the approval process.

What next? Some call it "legislative approval," but it is really just approval by representatives of the proverbial "Three Men in a Room" (Gov. Pataki, Sen. Majority Leader Bruno and Assembly Speaker Silver). Silver's support is not guaranteed as the City is trying to mollify his disappointment with the lack of attention on Lower Manhattan redevelopment.

The NY Times, State Agency Votes for Jets Stadium, but in Legislature, Obstacles Remain
NY Newsday, State economic development board approves stadium
NY Daily News, Jets gain yards on stadium OK
Crain's New York Business, ESDC approves Jets stadium plan
Crain's New York Business Albany quarterbacks blitzed by city's stadium players

Posted by lumi at 07:21 AM

March 25, 2005

Battle for City Hall Top Job Hits the 'Hood

Columbia Spectator: Democratic mayoral candidates try "to out do each other on bashing [Bloomberg's] stadium plan at the Three Parks Independent Democratic Club.


Posted by lumi at 07:36 AM

March 23, 2005

Your tax dollars at work

Field of Schemes:

Neil deMause reports on the City Council hearings on legislation requiring City Council approval for use of PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for mayoral pet projects.

The PILOT slush fund issue now seems certain to end up in court, at which point maybe the mayor's lawyers will actually show up to explain themselves.

The second half of the day's hearings covered repealing MSG's tax breaks.

gravytrain.jpg And, if the initial $100 million for Bruce Ratner and $300 million for the Jets isn't enough:

...both Newsday and the Village Voice report that the city plans to provide more than $100 million in tax breaks and loan guarantees for a plan to redevelop the Bronx Terminal Market into a shopping mall and Olympic velodrome. The real-estate tycoon scheduled to receive this taxpayer windfall: Steven Ross, would-be NASCAR developer and former partner of deputy mayor for economic development Dan Doctoroff.


Posted by lumi at 07:23 AM

March 21, 2005

MSG unveils details of W. Side plan

Crain's NY Business:

Cablevision Systems Corp. unveiled a plan for the Hudson Rail Yards that includes the development of nearly 6,000 apartments, a 750-room hotel, commercial space for theater designers and producers, a public elementary school, a library and a five-acre park.


NoLandGrab: Doesn't Cablevision know that the Mayor is concerned that more housing would cause a "glut of housing on the West Side?" School? Library? Does the Mayor support that kind of stuff over stadiums?

Posted by lumi at 04:57 PM

Deadline Today in Showdown Over Stadium

The NY Times: As the clock ticks down on the 5PM deadline for bids to develop atop the Hudson Railyards, "The Jets have said they will substantially increase their $100 million offer for the right to build a 75,000-seat stadium...."

The bidding may not end at sundown tonight. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to turn the offers over to its adviser, the Newmark real estate company, for evaluation. As Newmark sorts through the materials and the offers become public, one transit official said, there may be another round of bidding.


Posted by lumi at 09:09 AM

March 09, 2005


NY Post: State Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer voiced his opinion that the, "Olympics are not contingent upon" the West Side Stadium.


NoLandGrab: The BIG question is, where does he stand on the West Side Stadium in general and the Ratner's arena plan. Stay tuned.

Posted by lumi at 07:05 AM

Arena foes: Where do Dem bigs stand?

NY Daily News
By Hugh Son

Where do the Democratic Mayoral candidates stand on Ratner's arena plans?

Despite the similarities between the West Side Stadium and Ratner's arena project (see DIRTY LAUNDRY LIST), Miller and Weiner have stated lukewarm support, while Ferrer and Fields have stated lukewarm opposition.

"They all need to get off the fence and take a firm position by looking deeply into the details of this project," said Daniel Goldstein of the anti-arena group Develop - Don't Destroy Brooklyn.

The group sent candidates letters this week demanding they oppose the Ratner project on the same grounds they oppose the West Side development.


Posted by lumi at 06:57 AM

West Side Stadium & Nets Arena Comparison

Now that the MOU has been released and more details about Ratner's plan have emerged the list of issues tied to the West Side Stadium controversy have become clearer. Here's NoLandGrab's Dirty Laundry List so that you can tell your friends why they should scrap Ratner's arena along with the West Side Stadium.


Plus: Ratner wants to use eminent domain to displace residents and small businesses.

Posted by lumi at 06:06 AM

March 08, 2005

Council may get say on stadium

NY Daily News columnist Juan Gonzales has learned that City Council Speaker Gifford Miller plans on introducing a bill tomorrow to prohibit the Mayor from diverting funds from the PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) fund to pay for the City's $300 million tab for a new Jets Stadium on the West Side.

What does this have to do with the arena?
The PILOT fund is being raided by the Mayor for the $100 million dollars he has promised to the Ratner development. Make sure that your fellow New Yorkers understand that these issues are one and the same.

Since the NoLandGrabbers spent the entire marketing budget on beer at our last meeting, we won't be running commercials on local television stations. So it is up to you to get out the word.

Gonzales's column

Posted by lumi at 04:39 PM

West Side Stadium Insanity

The Gothamist

The funniest thing to come out of this is how Bruce Ratner's Brooklyn Nets arena is not a sure thing (in spite of Ratner, the city and the state signing an agreement last week) because there were no other bids on the site and the MTA may pursue an auction. What's crazy for these developers is that it's like the MTA suddenly remembered, "Hey, we can make more money if we put the lots onto the open market." Again, who are the dopes running this agency? And speaking of the Nets, you guys are killing us. Rebuilding, reschmuilding - this is just sad.


Posted by lumi at 12:44 PM

March 03, 2005

Obstacle Rises for Bloomberg on West Side Stadium Plan

The NY Times:

With the Far West Side stadium emerging as a central issue in the mayoral race, Council Speaker Gifford Miller yesterday sought to take the lead in opposing the Bloomberg administration by introducing legislation to require a public review of any taxpayer money used for the stadium.


Posted by lumi at 09:48 PM

Stadium losing support in NYC: poll

Crain's NY Business:

A new Quinnipiac poll not only shows that New Yorkers are opposed to the West Side Stadium and a sweetheart deal for the purchase of the Hudson Rail Yards.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority should sell the site to the highest bidder, even if a new stadium is not part of the plan.


Posted by lumi at 09:29 PM

February 26, 2005

Bloomie: Nets arena is real rival to MSG

Brooklyn Papers: Mayor Bloomberg, tried to sic Cablevision on the new Nets arena instead of Jets stadium.

"The best thing would be for Cablevision to build a new Madison Square Garden on the west side of the old Farley Post Office," said Bloomberg. "That will give them a great venue, especially with the Nets project in Brooklyn, because that is their real competition – the stadium is not, they just couldn’t be more wrong about that. 


Posted by lumi at 10:53 AM

February 25, 2005

Miller Tries To Seize Control Of Stadium Financing

NY1: In his State of the City Address, City Council Speaker and Mayoral Candidate Gifford Miller, "announced legislation requiring Bloomberg to get the City Council’s approval to finance construction of the West Side stadium."

NY1 transcript & video

Posted by lumi at 07:00 AM

City Council speaker outlines West Side rezoning

Crain's NY Business:

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller... said that he would propose legislation requiring Mayor Michael Bloomberg to get council approval to finance construction of the proposed West Side Stadium.


Posted by lumi at 06:34 AM

February 24, 2005

Thrown for a loss in the arena of logic

NY Newsday, Neil DeMause, op-ed: DeMause outlines the lessons to be learned from the "onging Jets squabble" in relation to the Nets arena.


Posted by lumi at 08:34 AM

February 22, 2005

New Bid Entered As Olympic Committee Visits Stadium Site

NY1: New offer for Hudson Railyards by TransGas puts the high bid at $700 million.

transcript and video

Posted by lumi at 11:32 AM

February 20, 2005

City Offers Compromise On Stadium Plan


This is funny - the title says the city offers a compromise. The story says Bloomberg sent a televised plea/threat to Cablevision.

Article from NY1

Posted by amy at 02:37 PM

February 19, 2005

Mike slams housing plan

From the Daily News: Mayor Mike finally drags Atlantic Yards into the fracas of bidding on the West Side Stadium.

The mayor argued that the Garden's main competition is not the proposed Jets stadium but the planned basketball arena for the Nets in Brooklyn.


Newsday: Mayor: Garden's real rival is Brooklyn arena, not stadium

Field of Schemes: Today on "As the Jets Turn"

Posted by amy at 10:40 AM

February 18, 2005

Hudson Yards/Olympic-Jets Stadium/MTA Open Bid/NYS Shadow Government News

The MTA's sham bidding process has thrown everyone for a loop. First, if your head is spinning by news and events surrounding the West Side Stadium controversy, go to newyorkgames.org where Brian Hatch covers this issue in more detail than we can.

In today's headlines, the Governor and Mayor cover their tracks on Doctoroff's threats that rezoning of the Hudson Yards would not happen for anyone but the Jets. The State Comptroller wants more oversight of state agencies like the Empire State Development Corporation and MTA who operate behind closed doors.

NY Newsday: "Pataki backs stadium, but invites rail yard bids"
The NY Daily News: Mike's zonin' in on stadium site

[Charles Bagli from the Times and Juan Gonzales from the Daily News probably took yesterday off for some well-earned rest.]

Posted by lumi at 07:29 AM

February 17, 2005

Builders Wary of Pursuing Site Sought by Jets for a Stadium

The NY Times:

A day after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that it would allow anyone to bid on the development rights to the West Side railyards, which the Jets want for a stadium, real estate executives began wondering who would dare to take up the offer.

Developers have no incentive to bid under the current zoning regulations and are concerned with drawing the ire of Mayor Bloomberg.


Posted by lumi at 08:25 PM

February 16, 2005

Stadium Fear Factor


The Village Voice's Tom Robbins gets former MTA chairman Richard Ravitch and Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association to reveal why only out-of-staters might be bidding on the Hudson Yards:

Last year, Doctoroff lobbied the RPA heavily not to oppose him on the West Side. "We were under all kinds of pressure," Yaro said. "Our board members were as well." Two members, Keyspan Energy and developer Jerry Speyer, both quit the board after Doctoroff's arm-twisting, according to Yaro.

"There is a reign of terror in this town," Yaro said. "The litmus test is 'Do you support the Olympics?' If so, then you can do business with the city."


Also be sure to read Tom Robbin's History Lesson of West Side development.

Posted by amy at 09:53 PM

February 13, 2005

Cablevision Says $600 Million Offer Stands For MTA's Hudson Rail Yards

From NY1

Posted by amy at 10:55 AM

February 12, 2005

Pols pile on Jets

From Field of Schemes:

Could that be ... the fat lady? Yesterday brought an avalanche of bad news for the New York Jets' $1.7 billion stadium plan, as three top state legislators threw roadblocks in the proposal's path...

Meanwhile, the growing clamor over the rail yards sale could come back to haunt New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner, who's attempting a similar noncompetitive bid for Brooklyn rail yards where he wants to build his basketball arena. Skelos, in fact, specifically urged that competitive bidding be used for the Jets because of the precedent it would set for the Nets project. Could that be two fat ladies singing...?


Posted by amy at 11:40 AM

February 10, 2005

Powerful Republican calls for open bidding on W. Side yards

Crain's NY Business:

State Sen. Dean Skelos, deputy majority leader for legislative operations, says the MTA’s financial position necessitates an open bidding process for the yards, where the New York Jets want to build an arena. The move is a big coup for opponents of the project, which requires the approval of state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

“We believe that a competitive RFP process would maximize the value received for the West Side Yards’ development rights.” [Skelos] adds that it will set an important precedent for future projects, such as developer Bruce Ratner’s proposal to build a sports stadium in Brooklyn.


Posted by lumi at 07:55 AM


NY Post, Opinion Columnist, Steve Cuozzo:

THE New York Times is evidently unafraid to make an ass of it self if it can add even incrementally to the growing hysteria against the West Side stadium project.

Worse still are the Times' editorials against the stadium deal — which flagrantly ignore striking similarities to the Times' own recent purchase from the state of the land for its new Eighth Avenue headquarters.

Similarities between the Jets and the Times-Ratner deal are:


NoLandGrab: If you added eminent domain abuse at taxpayers' expense to this list, then you would have the complete real-estate-developer playbook written by Forest City Ratner. Who can blame the Jets for stealing a few pages from the NYC Builder's Bible?

Posted by lumi at 07:53 AM

Cablevision offer spurs debate

The Cablevision offer has muddied the waters enough to give political cover to politicians who have thus far remained silent. Meanwhile the merits of the deal is being analyzed in the press as the MTA awaits more details.

The NY Times: Bruno Urges Going Slower on Decision for Stadium
NY Newsday: Lawmakers in no rush to sign off on stadium
NY Daily News: Cablevision plays out of bounds
The NY Observer: The Dolan Family: Dysfunction Clan Makes A Gutsy Bid
The Villager, Editorial: A stadium referendum is required
The NY Times, Editorial: Eyes Wide Open on the Stadium

Posted by lumi at 07:52 AM

New Jersey in Talks With Giants and Jets

The NY Times: New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is reaching out to the Jets to try to convince them to stay in Jersey for at least the next 10 years.


Posted by lumi at 07:47 AM

February 09, 2005

City Plans to Use Real Estate Revenue Stream to Finance Stadium

The NY Times: After a year of questions about how the City is going to pay for its $300M-portion of the Jets Stadium, Bloomberg reveals that it will be financed from "annual payments in lieu of taxes, known as PILOT." The use of the revenues from the PILOT are soley at the Mayor's discretion and do not require City Council approval.

PILOT explained:

Many of these payments flow to the city's Industrial Development Agency when it strikes a deal with a major corporation, like CBS, Credit Suisse First Boston and Bear Stearns, to build a new headquarters or expand its operations. The city provides various incentives and, because the project is on city-owned land, sets an annual payment in lieu of taxes that is usually less than the property taxes on privately owned land.

The entire project attempts to sidestep any City Council authority:

Much to the Council's chagrin, Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff designed a stadium project that sidestepped the normal budget process and a vote by the Council. And at the hearing on Monday, he and [City Budget Director Mark] Page revealed that the city would subsidize the stadium with funds over which the Council had no authority.


Posted by lumi at 07:39 AM

February 07, 2005

Round 2: MSG sues NYC over West Side rezoning

Madison Square Garden added the City Council to its suit over the West Side's environmental impact statement.

The NY Daily News: Garden sues Council

The NY Daily News: The lawsuit calls the Council's approval of the rezoning "arbitrary and capricious" and an "abuse of lawful procedure," arguing it was based on a flawed environmental statement.

NY Newsday: Madison Square Garden sues city over stadium rezoning

NY Newsday: The suit was originally filed in December as part of an attempt to stop the Jets from building a new stadium that would be near the Garden. The council became a defendant after it approved a city plan to rezone part of the West Side for housing, offices and parks.

NoLandGrab: All of MSG's efforts are tying up the Jets project, which keeps Ratner's Atlantic Yards proposal on the back burner. Also, they publicly highlight the controversial issues surrounding Ratner's Brooklyn Boondoggle.

Posted by lumi at 08:19 AM

EDITORIAL: West Side Super Bowl

The NY Sun:

Mayor Bloomberg and the Jets would have an easier time dismissing the Cablevision bid as anti-competitive if their own plan for West Side development weren’t itself still awaiting a market test. These columns have argued from the beginning that the city and state would do better by issuing a request for proposals and establishing an open, transparent bidding process for the West Side rail yards. Instead, the city and the state adopted the Jets’ plan without such a process and thus without inviting, let alone considering, other alternatives. The Cablevision bid suddenly has many New Yorkers — left and right,ourselves as well as, say, the Times — thinking that Mr. Bloomberg’s central planning approach was shortsighted.


Posted by lumi at 07:39 AM


NY Post: NJ acting Gov. Richard Cody wants the chance to keep the Jets in NJ.


NoLandGrab: Cody has given the NJ State Exposition Authority permission to try to keep sports teams in NJ. Under former Gov. McGreevey this was not the case. McGreevey even nixed a proposal to move the Nets to Central Jersey, thus leading to Ratner's purchase of the team. Since Cody is not running for election to the seat vacated by McGreevey, the question remains of how aggressively the next governor will try to keep the Nets in NJ if things stall out in Brooklyn.

Posted by lumi at 06:49 AM

February 06, 2005

Jets sweat out Dolan's end run

From Mike Lupica at the Daily News:

It all starts with the MTA being prepared to hand over the Hudson River railyards to the Jets for a song.

"It's a whole new ballgame," Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, the biggest voice against the Jets' stadium, said Friday in a release. "There is now a real offer on the table that will give the MTA full value for its property at no cost to the taxpayers."

And for future reference, Lupica has two new nicknames for us:
Deputy Mayor In Charge of 76 Trombones, Daniel Doctoroff and Charles (Rubber Stamp) Gargano of the Empire State Development Corporation. Thanks, Mike!


Posted by amy at 05:19 PM

January 28, 2005

Toilet Paper? Ask the Jets

The NY Times:

Op-Ed Columnist Bob Herbert points out that the City and State have no extra money to spend on anything, except for the Jet's "Bloomberg Boondoggle."

But if there's any justice at all, this stadium will never see the light of day. To take the public's money, which should be used for schoolkids, for subway riders, for hospital patients - for any number of projects that might truly serve the public's interest - and hand it over to a billionaire who will use it as seed money to further his already fabulous interests is obscene.


NoLandGrab: A year of government cutbacks is not the time to be throwing away public money to further enrich favored developers. The Mayor is apparently isn't worried that his willingness to push these projects through at any cost will blow his chances at reelection, despite the fact that the Democratic candidates have honed in on this issue and are circling like sharks around chum.

Posted by lumi at 05:58 PM

December 23, 2004

2 Groups Sue to Halt Action on Jets Stadium

The New York Times:

The battle over a proposed $1.4 billion football stadium on the West Side of Manhattan entered the courtroom yesterday when Cablevision, community groups and transportation advocates filed two lawsuits that could tie up the project.

The lawsuits, which challenge the stadium on environmental grounds, could succeed in thwarting the plan even if they are thrown out of court, if they manage to delay construction for a significant period. Stadium opponents said they hoped that the litigation would push back the beginning of construction until July 6, when they expect the International Olympic Committee to skip over New York and pick Paris for the 2012 Olympic Games. Opponents predict that the stadium effort will then lose momentum and die.

Brooklynites are watching the West Side stadium process closely because the Atlantic Railyards will be going through the same process. Without a Cablevision-sized corporation to bankroll the lawsuit, Develop Don't Destroy is raising money from the community. REMEMBER TO GIVE GENEROUSLY. All donations are tax-deductible.

December 23, 2004

2 Groups Sue to Halt Action on Jets Stadium

he battle over a proposed $1.4 billion football stadium on the West Side of Manhattan entered the courtroom yesterday when Cablevision, community groups and transportation advocates filed two lawsuits that could tie up the project.

The lawsuits, which challenge the stadium on environmental grounds, could succeed in thwarting the plan even if they are thrown out of court, if they manage to delay construction for a significant period. Stadium opponents said they hoped that the litigation would push back the beginning of construction until July 6, when they expect the International Olympic Committee to skip over New York and pick Paris for the 2012 Olympic Games. Opponents predict that the stadium effort will then lose momentum and die.

The 75,000-seat stadium for the Jets is the centerpiece of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's effort to transform the Far West Side of Manhattan and win the city's bid for the 2012 Summer Games. City officials have said they expect to defeat any legal challenge to what they have described as one of the most rigorous environmental reviews in city history.

One suit was filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan yesterday by West Side residents, a small-business owner and Cablevision, which owns Madison Square Garden and views the stadium as competition. It challenges the city's recently completed environmental review, saying it was a process "characterized by manipulated data, baseless assumptions, incomplete disclosure and a distortion of the project's significant environmental impacts." The other suit more narrowly focuses on the city's finding that more than two-thirds of fans will take public transit or walk to Jets games.

In a statement, City Hall dismissed the broader lawsuit as the work of "lying monopolists," referring to members of the Dolan family, which controls Cablevision. The statement called the suit an "ill-disguised and frivolous attempt" to rehash earlier allegations.

The Jets and their supporters say they are confident of winning in court, whether victory comes before or after the International Olympic Committee meeting in July. If the suits are thrown out, the Jets can immediately start work on the project, because they expect to have obtained all the necessary political approvals by that time. Under the terms of their deal, the Jets would invest $800 million in the project, while the city and the state would contribute $300 million each.

In any event, the broader lawsuit contends that the city underestimated the volume of cars and taxis that would flow to and from the stadium on game days because it relied on a flawed survey of 600 Jets season ticket holders. The survey found that about 70 percent of the fans arriving at the 75,000-seat stadium would arrive by public transit or on foot.

Quoting a phrase used in an e-mail message between a Jets executive and consultants for the city, the lawsuit said the survey contained "push questions" intended to elicit responses that would suggest a more limited effect on traffic.

City officials insisted that the survey was a legitimate effort and said they ultimately used a more conservative number in the environmental review: 68 percent of the fans would arrive by public transportation. Yesterday, they released a Department of City Planning memo from June 9 showing that in an initial response, 69.3 percent of those surveyed said they would use mass transit. In response to a push question, the number rose to 76.7 percent.

The results of the survey, the lawsuit said, distorted the assessments of traffic, noise and air pollution. Even so, the review acknowledges that the project would barely meet clean air standards, the suit said.

"Government decision makers cannot make rational decisions about one of the largest and costliest projects in city history when the information on which they are relying is inaccurate, misleading and unreliable," said Randy Mastro, a lawyer for the groups. "This intentional manipulation of traffic data undermines the entire environmental review process here."

In a conference call with reporters, Mr. Mastro said the groups were seeking a new environmental review, which could take months to complete, and an injunction against the construction of the stadium.

The other suit, by two advocacy groups - the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the Straphangers Campaign - was also filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. It says the city "underestimates the traffic and related impacts of the proposed stadium," because it relies on a survey whose methodology is "notoriously inaccurate," according to the Tri-State group.

The two groups wanted to separate themselves from Cablevision and the ongoing feud with Mayor Bloomberg to focus on the issues in a nonpartisan manner, one person involved in the suit said.

The plaintiffs say they do not oppose a $1.4 billion plan to expand the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, a separate but related element in the city's plans for the West Side.

The city's environmental review was undertaken by the Department of City Planning and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in connection with a proposal to rezone a 59-block area and to extend the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street.

Posted by lumi at 07:51 AM

December 17, 2004

West Side Stadium Rubberstamp Hearing

The Empire State Development Corporation's West Side Stadium hearing is a harbinger of events just beyond the horizon for Brooklynites. Pro- and anti-stadium activists clashed during the rubberstamp hearing where the decision to approve the plan will come down to the representatives of "Three Men in a Room" (Pataki, Bruno and Silver).



Posted by lumi at 09:29 AM

December 10, 2004

Sheldon Silver Says He Won't Back West Side Stadium Plan

NY1: NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has stated that he would not support the West Side Stadium, citing many concerns that have not been addressed by the Mayor.

"We are going to create 20 million square feet of commercial space in Midtown Manhattan to compete with the business looking for space downtown," said Silver. "That's the real question, and that commercial development is really the threshold of the financing of that stadium."

For the stadium to be approved, a three-member panel which includes Silver must unanimously support the plan.


Silver must apply the same scrutiny to Ratner's Atlantic Yards plan. The tremendous amount of office and residential space "is the threshold of the financing" of the arena. State subsidies also extend to the fact that the cash-strapped MTA will not be getting top dollar for the railyards site. The representatives of the same "three men in a room" (Pataki, Bruno & Silver) could decide the fate of Ratner's plan. Silver could insist that Ratner's plan go through the local city Land Use review process (ULURP) or even withdraw his support, altogether during a state review process.

Posted by lumi at 07:27 AM

November 24, 2004

Zoning duo are part of city Olympic team

Conflict of Interest on the West Side:
"Two of the 10 city planning commissioners who voted for the city's West Side rezoning plan Monday sit on boards for NYC 2012, which needed passage of the plan to help its effort to secure the Olympics. "Irwin Cantor, a planning commissioner and founder of a prominent engineering firm, is a member of the NYC 2012 facilities committee, and Kenneth Knuckles, the vice chair of the commission, is on the overall board."

Conflict of interest in Brooklyn:
"In August, it was reported that Planning Commissioner Dolly Williams was an investor in developer Bruce Ratner's $2.5-billion Nets arena project in Downtown Brooklyn. She had sat in on Planning Commission meetings on the proposal."
[emphasis added]


Posted by lumi at 07:37 AM

November 14, 2004

Games People Play

The New York Times: Opinion: Sport-facility expert/economist, Andrew Zimbalist, explores "hidden public costs" of the West Side Stadium project:

NoLandGrab readers may remember that Zimbalist was payed by Ratner to do an analysis of the basketball arena and 17-tower project in Prospect Heights. Using numbers provided Ratner and other "public information" Zimbalist determined that the Atlantic Yards project would be a net gain for taxpayers. Which leads citizens wondering, from where did he get this "public information" and just when will the ACTUAL COST to the taxpayer be revealed?


Zimbalist Report

Kim-Peebles Report examines Zimbalist's assumptions and conclusions

Posted by lumi at 08:52 AM