July 23, 2008

Hudson Yards: Review of Development Proposal Designs

Noticing New York

Blogger Michael D.D. White contrasts the Yards Hudson and Atlantic, and the results aren't pretty.

Interestingly, the MTA is NOT maximizing the sales price of the land it is selling in the parallel example of Atlantic Yards. Rather than raise more money for capital or operating expenses the MTA is selling its property to the Atlantic Yards developer at a substantial write-down and collecting far less (hundred’s of millions less) than it could. In the case of the Atlantic Yards site the density of the site is being maxed out to an inappropriate degree, but the real estate value of that extra density that is being created with this maxing out is being given to the Forest City Ratner as the developer of the site rather than being captured by the MTA as in the case of Hudson Yards. (See: Friday, June 27, 2008 “No-property-tax status was supposed to raise the price of the Vanderbilt Yard”)

One last thing on Atlantic Yards, vis-a-vis Hudson Yards: The participation of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the other above named political representatives in the Hudson Yards Community Advisory Committee letter on Hudson Yards reveals where Speaker Quinn and the others should stand on the Atlantic Yards. They no doubt know this. There are many parallels between the proposed Hudson Yards and Atlantic Yards projects so that criticisms of Hudson Yards, which is a relatively good project (a high density project in a high density neighborhood), also apply to Atlantic Yards. At the same time, all the ways in which Atlantic Yards is different from Hudson Yards make Atlantic Yards a substantially worse project, probably the worst project being proposed in the City right now.


Posted by eric at 3:25 PM

July 15, 2008

Sports economist Zimbalist criticizes "bogus" economic impact studies, fails to look in mirror

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder follows up on yesterday's appearance by sports economist Andrew Zimbalist on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, and all we can say is that for the sake of his professional reputation, the Professor is lucky that Brian didn't open the phones to the speed-dialing AYR blogger.

So there he was, sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, on the Brian Lehrer Show yesterday to talk about the All-Star Game, and suddenly he had to defend his public statements supporting the Yankee Stadium deal and his not-peer-reviewed study endorsing Atlantic Yards.

Had there been an equal debate, Zimbalist would have been flattened. He continued to insist that the Yankees deserved praise for paying for their stadium, without acknowledging the host of special benefits to the team. He continued to insist that Forest City Ratner was using only as-of-right benefits for Atlantic Yards, despite ironclad evidence to the contrary.

And when challenged to resolve the inconsistency between his criticism of the West Side Stadium deal and his support for Atlantic Yards, he became defensive and suggested that the former might have emerged a decade ago, when it was actually several months after he issued his report for Forest City Ratner.


NoLandGrab: Like "jumbo shrimp" and "military intelligence," "sports economist" is obviously an oxymoron.

Posted by eric at 10:33 AM

June 25, 2008

A Stadium Story: eerie echoes, curious contrasts, and cautionary lessons for AY

Atlantic Yards Report


Remember the battle over the West Side Stadium, that 15-month donnybrook, from March 2004 through June 2005, that dominated the city’s discourse over sports facilities, leaving scant attention for the Atlantic Yards and baseball stadium controversies?

The documentary A Stadium Story, screened in 2006 but not yet in wide release, offers some eerie echoes, curious contrasts, and cautionary lessons for Atlantic Yards watchers. (The film is well worth watching; for now, it’s available for $25 from the official web site, but it should be distributed soon, according to the filmmakers.)
[S]tadium opponents had a wealthy patron, Cablevision (owners of Madison Square Garden), to amplify their criticisms. Thus what on one level seemed liked a David-and-Goliath story was, at least from the perspective of lobbying expenditures, much more of a fair fight.

If Atlantic Yards opponents had had such a megaphone, the public debate, if not the result, would have been different. Even so, the protracted Atlantic Yards battle--already three times longer than the West Side Stadium fight--suggests that the issues raised and the opponents' effort deserve to be taken seriously.


Posted by lumi at 5:38 AM

June 7, 2008

Answers About Development on the Hudson, Part 2


NY Times' City Room blog hosts Ned Sullivan, the president of Scenic Hudson, answering questions about NYC development and smart growth. Needless to say, Atlantic Yards does not fall into the "smart" category. But the Atlantic Yards bad development example is so pervasive, it's actually used in a question, not an answer:

Q: I saw the renderings and the plans for the Hudson Yards proposal that won. Between now and the time it is built, what economic forces will shape the eventual outcome and what might it actually look like?

Like the Atlantic Yards, might some of it become a parking lot until there is demand for more buildings? Will the park portions come last? What effect will the extension of the 7 train, and the 10th Ave stop in particular, have on what gets built? Will the Hudson River portion of the park come last?

— Posted by AlexB

A: I’ve seen “good” developments transformed almost overnight into projects that harm neighborhoods and the environment, so it’s critical for New York City residents to keep a close eye on future progress at Hudson Yards. It’s also crucial that the city and M.T.A. invite public input every step along the way and force the Related Companies to live up to its promises, especially concerning open space.


Posted by amy at 8:26 AM

May 10, 2008

Hudson Yards plan snagged by lowered revenues; new plan might involve multiple developers

Atlantic Yards Report

When it comes to megadevelopments, it may be better for developers to lock in the deal, then declare (and even negotiate) a flexible timetable, as with Atlantic Yards.

The negotiations over the Hudson Yards project are a notable counterexample. In an article yesteday headlined Deal to Build at Railyards on West Side Collapses, the New York Times reported:
Six weeks after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority selected Tishman Speyer Properties to build a vast complex of office towers, apartment buildings and parks over the railyards on the West Side of Manhattan, the deal has fallen apart.


Posted by amy at 11:38 AM

May 2, 2008

Paterson Sympathizes With the Dolans Over M.S.G.

The New York Observer
by Em Whitney

The Observer reports on Governor David Paterson's appearance this morning on WFAN's Boomer & Carton show. While either the reporter's radio reception wasn't too good, or the Guv wasn't speaking in complete sentences, as far as we tell, he got some things right, and some things wrong.

Speaking about Madison Square Garden's fat tax break:

“A lot of these deals that are tried to make sure that basketball, hockey, football and baseball. The arrangements don’t always work that well for the public,” he said.

No they don't. And Atlantic Yards is a classic example of that. But wait, there's more:

“The Brooklyn arena is going forward,” he said. “If there is continuing delay or legal action against the use of eminent domain, which is when the government condemns property and then excises it, which I didn’t think there was very much at the Atlantic Yards ... I still think the Nets will wind up in Brooklyn,” he said.


NoLandGrab: The Governor seems to have forgotten that he called for a state-wide moratorium against the use of eminent domain in 2005, and we don't recall him equivocating about volume, either. Just as one can't be "a little bit pregnant," you're either against property seizures, or you're not.

Atlantic Yards Report, On eminent domain, Paterson channels.... Gargano?

Norman Oder, in a not-so-flattering comparison, likens the Governor's knowledge of Atlantic Yards eminent domains issues to that of "The Ambassador," also known as former ESDC head (and Reagan-era ambassador to Trinidad & Tobago) Charles Gargano.

Posted by eric at 2:08 PM

March 28, 2008

Yard Work

The Brian Lehrer Show
WNYC Radio

A 17-minute segment from yesterday's Brian Lehrer Show, featuring Crain's New York editor Greg David and WNYC's Matthew Schuerman comparing and contrasting the Yards Atlantic and Hudson.

Download MP3


Posted by eric at 10:51 AM

March 27, 2008

News analysis: The Times gives the ESDC a bye

Atlantic Yards Report

When will The New York Times learn?

A New York Times News Analysis today of the West Side Yards deal, headlined For Railyards, the Hard Part Is Still Ahead, leaves out some important Atlantic Yards context.


Posted by eric at 1:39 PM

March 26, 2008

Tishman Speyer wins Hudson Yards bid

Tishman bid $1.004 billion for rights to the plot, $112 million higher than the offer from The Durst Organization and Vornado Realty Trust.

Crain's NY Business
by Theresa Agovino

In a reversal of its own sullied tradition, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority today awarded the Hudson Rail Yards to the highest bidder, real estate developer Tishman Speyer.

Tishman Speyer edged out three other development teams to win the fierce competition to develop the Hudson Rail Yards, the 26-acre site on Manhattan’s far West side that is envisioned as an extension of midtown’s business district.

Tishman Speyer bid $1.004 billion for the rights to the plot, where it plans to build 10 million square feet of office space and 3 million square feet of housing while leaving 13 acres of open space. Its offer was $112 million higher than a competing offer from a joint venture of The Durst Organization and Vornado Realty Trust. That group had lined up Condé Naste Publications as a tenant and its proposed 6.4 million square feet of residential space was the most offered by any developer.

It is expected to cost $1.5 billion to build a platform over the train tracks so construction can begin.


NoLandGrab: How is this railyard deal different from Bruce Ratner's railyard deal? Let's see: high bidder chosen rather than low bidder; $1 billion in midst of failing real estate market vs. $100 million in midst of real estate bubble; city rezoning vs. state override; no eminent domain vs. eminent domain abuse.... Need we go on?

More coverage:

City Room (The New York Times), M.T.A. Votes to Sell West Side Land Rights to Tishman Speyer

The project still faces several prospective hurdles. The $1,004,000,000 deal requires the completion of an agreement over the next 14 days specifying terms and conditions of the deal, and the signing of a formal contract. The slowing economy has prompted some developers, like Bruce C. Ratner, to consider delay the schedule for major developments like the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. And a portion of the rail yards of the Far West Side that would be controlled by Tishman still must undergo a rezoning process that could take up to 18 months.

Curbed.com, Yardsmania: It's Official!, Yardsmania: OK, So Now What?
The Real Estate, Tishman Speyer Win Not Quite Official
AP, via The International Herald Tribune, Developer Tishman Speyer to build skyscrapers, apartments on New York City waterfront

Posted by eric at 2:25 PM

February 23, 2008

Plan to Rebuild Penn Station Area May Be Close to Failure

The New York Times
by Charles V. Bagli

The sweeping $14 billion proposal to transform Pennsylvania Station and the district around it is in danger of collapse because of the softening economy, shortfalls in government financing, political inertia and daunting logistical problems, government officials and real estate executives involved in the project said this week.

Some government officials and real estate executives are concerned that a slowing economy and the current state of the credit markets, where there is little money available for large real estate deals, could cause problems for both the sale of the railyards and the Moynihan project.


NoLandGrab: And what about New York City's other railyard deal?

Posted by eric at 3:27 PM

January 30, 2008

MTA prefers leasing Hudson Yards

Crain's NY Business
By Theresa Agovino

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority would rather lease the Hudson Rail Yards to a developer for 99 years than sell the 26-acre site.
A source at one developer said the MTA was caving in to public pressure not to sell the property, which includes active MTA rail operations. But the MTA spokesman says that under a 99-year lease agreement the developer would still control the site.


Since the early days, just after Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner announced his arena and high-rise megaproject for Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, the comparison between the Vanderbilt Railyards and the Hudson Railyards has enabled New Yorkers to understand the MTA real estate giveaways. Uproar over the dispensation of the Hudson Yards led to a pro forma RFP for the Vanderbilt Yards, which led to Ratner's low ball bid coming out on top.

Yesterday, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn continued the "Tale of Two Yards" on DDDB.net.

Remember the "bidding process" over the Vanderbilt Rail Yards, the 8-acre MTA/LIRR property which comprises part of the Atlantic Yards footprint? Remember how the MTA appraised the Yards at $214.5 million back in 2005? Remember how Ratner bid $50 million and Extell Development Company bid $150 million? Remember how the MTA forced Ratner to up his bid to $100 million and then awarded him the winning bid?

Well, today Crain's reports that at least three of the bidders on the Hudson Yards on Manhattan's West Side offered "about $1 billion."

Posted by lumi at 5:42 AM

January 10, 2008

Regarding Hudson Yards plans, a Community Advisory Committee offers pointed criticism

Atlantic Yards Report


If there was a Community Advisory Committee involved in the Atlantic Yards planning, it certainly wasn't heard from. But there is a Hudson Yards Community Advisory Committee (HYCAC), set up by the mayoral administration and City Council, and it has issued a forceful open letter to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority regarding the plans for new development at the West Side yards.

The committee offers praise for the public presentations and models provided by five development teams: This amount of public disclosure with little formal public process is an important contribution to open government and better planning.

However, much is missing, and some of the criticism, as I'll explain below, echoes criticism of the Atlantic Yards plan.


Posted by lumi at 5:40 AM

January 3, 2008

The Hudson Yards Proposals: Plenty of Glitz, Little Vision

The Wall Street Journal
by Ada Louise Huxtable

The noted Wall Street Journal architecture critic bemoans the proposals for the Hudson Yards, and concludes her review with a scathing indictment of government's role — an indictment that applies just as aptly to the fiasco better known as "Atlantic Yards."

The city thinks like a developer; that vision thing, the long-term overview, the balance of private investment and public utility and amenity, is just not there. The disposition of public land is expedited on the developers' terms even though the land is the most powerful negotiating tool of all -- something so valuable in New York that builders would kill for it -- and the Hudson Yards are an estimated $7 billion prize. It is accepted that whatever the plans are for these vast tracts of squandered opportunity, they will ultimately be controlled, compromised, or scuttled by the winner of the financial contest that is at the heart of the matter. New York will continue to sell itself short all the way to the bank.


Posted by lumi at 10:18 AM

December 1, 2007

West Side yards plans compared; unlike AY, a better chance at "city-making"


Atlantic Yards Report

Friends of the High Line has assembled graphics and compiled a chart comparing some basic aspects of the five competing plans for the West Side yards. (Click on graphics to enlarge.) Likely more information will surface at Monday's public program featuring the design teams, but we still may be waiting for financial details that will drive the deal.

Needless to say, no such offerings were possible for the Atlantic Yards plan. Extell's competing bid for a portion of the site, the Metropolitan Transporation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard, came more than 18 months later, and any matrix would've compared apples and oranges, since Forest City Ratner's project extended beyond the railyard. But other issues, such as a basketball arena and the willingness to use eminent domain, would've had to be included in the chart.


Posted by amy at 9:52 AM

November 21, 2007

Public input sought! A stop at the West Side yards storefront gallery

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder the Mad Overkiller "wandered" over to the exhibit of Hudson Yards proposals:

Last night I wandered over to the corner of 43rd and Vanderbilt Avenue to see the storefront exhibit set up by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) featuring scale models, videos, and other information provided by the five bidders for the Hudson Yards (aka West Side yards) development project.


Frankly, given the information available, it's almost impossible for a layperson to sort through the proposals. Someone should produce a matrix comparing key aspects of the project. Also, though it may have been because I stopped by late in the day, there were only two handouts, such as the brochure unfolded below from Brookfield Properties.

Snark aside, here's the point:

Still, the fact that public opinion is being solicited before a developer is anointed offers a distinct contrast to the sequence involving the Atlantic Yards project. And a layperson can at least offer an opinion about the general design of each proposals.

That doesn't mean the MTA will listen to comments offered in the brochure pictured above, or that public input will truly shape the project. Or that these massive projects are the best alternatives. Then again, the developers responded to a lengthy Request for Proposals, far more detailed than that belatedly issued for the MTA's Vanderbilt yard 18 months after Forest City Ratner's project for that property was endorsed by the city and state.

In other words, in comparison to the sequence involving Atlantic Yards, anything that suggests more transparency inevitably looks somewhat better.


Posted by lumi at 5:27 AM

November 20, 2007

What's right with this picture? For West Side yards, the market speaks

HudsonYardsProposals-NYTa.jpg Atlantic Yards Report

What a difference a few years make. The city's market-driven effort to develop the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's West Side yards continues in blinding contrast to its fait accompli with the MTA's Vanderbilt Yard in Brooklyn.

Four years ago, the city announced its support of a deal for the 22-acre Atlantic Yards project over and beyond the railyard; crucially, the latter would occupy less than 40 percent of the site. The New York Times offered further anointment with a rapturous review (A Garden of Eden Grows in Brooklyn) by architecture critic Herbert Muschamp.

But, hey, that's no way to develop railyards, is it? PlaNYC 2030 says there should be much more community consultation. Real estate usually generates a better deal when there's an open bidding process. And the design of megaprojects generally improves when there's a detailed request for proposals and an opportunity for the public and interested parties to weigh in.

So today it was big news that five developers had released their plans for the Hudson Yards.

Norman Oder explains how the response to develop the Hudson Yards:



NoLandGrab: Is it just us, or is anyone else thinking that Forest City didn't submit a bid for the Hudson Yards because it WASN'T a backroom deal?

Posted by lumi at 6:15 AM

October 14, 2007

Five Firms Vie for Chance to Build on Far West Side


New York Times

The transportation authority, which had hoped to reap $1 billion from the sale of the development rights to the yards, confirmed that it had received five offers, but declined to provide any details. The authority said it expected to select the winning bidder, or combination of bidders, by February or March, after conducting a design review that would include an opportunity for public comment.

NoLandGrab: In other words it's like the sale of the Vanderbilt Yards, only exactly opposite.

Posted by amy at 10:41 AM

July 13, 2007

Early Steps in the Transformation of Hudson Yards

The NY Sun
By Eliot Brown

The State is planning on issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for development over the Hudson Yards:

The state is expected to invite developers to submit plans for up to about 12 million square feet of new commercial and residential development and a generous amount of open space — by contrast, Brooklyn’s $4 billion Atlantic Yards project is planned to have 8 million square feet — allowing for a giant new complex to sprout in a corner of the rapidly transforming Hudson Yards district.


NoLandGrab: "By contrast" the State of New York NEVER issued an RFP for the Vanderbilt Yards until after the "Atlantic Yards" project was announced.

Posted by lumi at 8:18 AM

May 21, 2007

Hudson Yards vs. Atlantic Yards, again

Atlantic Yards Report

Back when the Jets were coveting the Hudson Yards for a new stadium, there were multiple parallels to Brooklyn's Vanderbilt Yards and Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project (MTA land giveaway, public financing of sports venues, traffic, etc.).

Years later, the MTA is bidding out the development rights again and the city has a new redevelopment plan for the neighborhood.

How does it compare to Atlantic Yards?


Posted by lumi at 7:43 AM

April 13, 2007

Colossal Plans for Hudson Yards

City Soon To Request Proposals

The NY Sun
By Eliot Brown

The city is about to unveil its preliminary proposal for the 26-acre Hudson Yards site over the MTA's rail yards, a colossal development that is said to include about 13 million square feet of an undetermined mix of residential and office space.

The project, which could be handed over to a single developer, would be substantially larger than either the World Trade Center redevelopment or the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.

Nearly two years after the city lost its bid to build a stadium on the West Side site, the Bloomberg administration and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the rail yards site, will come forward with design guidelines at the end of the month, a city official said. It plans to issue a request for proposals in May.


NoLandGrab: Request for proposals? Shouldn't the State or City have done the same for the Vanderbilt Yards? Well they didn't, which created more fodder for a couple of the lawsuits challenging Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards plan.

Norman Oder from Atlantic Yards Report commented:

Note the contrasts between the 26-acre Hudson Yards site and the 22-acre Atlantic Yards site: * the design guidelines come first, rather than after the environmental review begins (note how Jerry Armer of Community Board 6 last year called the process "backwards") * an RFP is issued before the city and state announce support of a specific developer.

Posted by lumi at 7:08 AM

September 15, 2006

MTA: Hudson Yards

HudsonYards02.jpgTossing the MTA's Hudson Yards around like a political football for three seasons has exposed the surreal nature of NY State's public authorities.

Gone are the bad ole days when the MTA was able to quietly give away development rights, like the deal scored by Bruce Ratner for the Atlantic Terminal mall. The City and State overreached on the West Side Stadium deal and now the "smell test" is being applied to every move to strike a deal for the Hudson Railyards.

Meanwhile, it stinks in Brooklyn, as Bruce Ratner's low bid for the Vanderbilt Railyards still stands.

Here's the coverage on yesterday's Hudson Yards hearing, at which Assemblymember Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) grilled MTA chief Peter Kalikow for over an hour:
Metro NY, MTA’s ‘smell test’
NY Daily News, Railyards deal not on track
NY Sun, Assembly Member Wants Hudson Rail Yards Opened Up to Bids From Private Developers
WNYC, Kalikow Asked to Consider Other Bids for West Side Rail Yards

Posted by lumi at 8:46 AM

September 1, 2006

Appraisal Puts West Side Railyards’ Value at 3 Times the City’s Offer

The NY Times
By Charles V. Bagli

There's been no scrutiny of Bruce Ratner's amazing $100-million lowball-bid for the Vanderbilt Railyards (Charles Bagli, where's the love?), so for your reading pleasure we offer you this Times article about the brouhaha over a recent $1.5-billion appraisal of the Hudson Railyards, and NYC's attempt to quickly seal the deal for $500 million.

The Bloomberg administration’s plan to buy the development rights to the 26-acre railyards on the Far West Side of Manhattan has hit another snag: money.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the railyards on both sides of 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets, received an appraisal this week that pegged the value at $1.5 billion, according to authority board members and city officials.

That is three times the $500 million offered by the Bloomberg administration in a surprise bid in July.

The appraisal further complicates a deal that the administration had hoped to wrap up quickly.

The city’s offer has already come under fire from Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who is running for governor, as “grossly under market value.”
Buying the development rights, he said, would ensure that any development would be consistent with a comprehensive zoning plan adopted last year by the city.


NoLandGrab: After the West Side Stadium was killed by the Public Authorities Control Board, the City came up with a plan to buy the development rights over the railyards to "ensure that any development would be consistent with a comprehensive zoning plan."

The opposite tack is being taken in Brooklyn: one of the purposes of the NY State takeover of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project is to override all city zoning, leading to a 22-acre project that would become the densest residential community in the nation (NOT "consistent" with local zoning).

NewYorkGames.org links some recent coverage of the bad blood between NYC Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff and gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer, and offers this explanation for the rush to close large real estate deals comprised of state-owned land, such as MTA railyards:

City Hall has been spoiled by an inert governor. The new team will likely show leadership, and not rubber stamp whatever developer or city plan comes through the door.

Posted by lumi at 8:18 AM

August 13, 2006

Hudson Yards project got three months for review

Atlantic Yards Report

Here's another example in which the enviornmental review process for a large project in New York got more time than the Atlantic Yards project, and avoided a late summer hearing. As with the Yankees project mentioned yesterday, the Hudson Yards project proceeded under the auspices of New York City, rather than the Empire State Development Corporation.

Here's part of the timeline:
June 21, 2004: Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS)
September 23, 2004: Public Hearing on the DGEIS held by the City Planning Commission and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in conjunction with the ULURP process
Ten days later: Close of public comment period

That's more than three months, as opposed to 66 days for the Atlantic Yards project.


Posted by amy at 12:22 PM

July 24, 2006

TWU President Pushes MTA To Delay Vote On Development Rights of Hudson Rail Yards

The NY Sun
By David Lombino

The president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, Roger Toussaint, and the staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, Gene Russianoff, have asked the MTA chairman, Peter Kalikow, to postpone a vote, which could come at a board meeting Wednesday.

“If the property is sold for significantly less than it’s worth, that could mean hundreds of millions less for new subway cars, buses, commuter rail trains, station rehabilitations, and infrastructure, such as track and signals,” Mr. Toussaint and Mr. Russianoff said in a letter.


NoLandGrab: Where were these powerful voices when the MTA accepted the lowest bidder and awarded the Vanderbilt Railyards to Bruce Ratner?

Posted by lumi at 11:55 AM

July 16, 2006

"A Second Chance on the West Side"--but in Brooklyn?

Atlantic Yards Report examines today's New York Times editorial:

A New York Times editorial today in the City Weekly section, headlined A Second Chance on the West Side, calls the city's plan to develop the Hudson Yards in Manhattan "impressive and bold." A key line: "Having failed to seek local input on the stadium project, Mr. Bloomberg promises to work with the City Council and local residents to find the best use for the property. This could animate a real vision for the area."

Again, the double standard is staggering. The City Council and local residents have been bypassed in plans for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) Vanderbilt Yard in Brooklyn, a key component of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project.


Posted by amy at 4:21 AM

July 10, 2006

Hudson Yards back in play

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."

Today's NY Sun editorial outlines a market driven approach for development over the Hudson Railyards.

Posted by lumi at 6:53 AM

July 7, 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 9:16 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 6:13 AM

September 1, 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 6:02 AM

August 1, 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 7:04 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 7:23 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 6:34 AM

June 7, 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 7:57 AM

June 3, 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 6:58 AM

May 23, 2005

WNBC Gabe Pressman Interview: Sheldon Silver


Pressman and Silver add up the costs of the West Side Stadium: * Financing of bonds by Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOTS), * Eminent Domain condemnations, * conversions of City streets.

"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 7:28 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 7:17 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 7:17 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 6:59 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 9:09 AM

May 3, 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 8:04 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 7:27 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 6:20 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 7:56 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 7:21 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 7:36 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 7:23 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 4:57 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 9:09 AM

March 9, 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 7:05 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 6:57 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 6:06 AM

March 8, 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 4:39 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 3, 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 9:48 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 9:29 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 7:00 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 6:34 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 8:34 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 2:37 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 7:29 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 8:25 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 9:53 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 7:55 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: * sweetheart land deal, * a litany of tax-breaks, and * lack of competitive bidding on the site.


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 7:53 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 7:52 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 7:47 AM

February 9, 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 7:39 AM

February 7, 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 8:19 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 7:39 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 6:49 AM

February 6, 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 5:19 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 5:58 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 7:51 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).


* The New York Sun: Stadium Hearing "Resembles Rival Pep Rallies, CHANCE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT TURNS INTO SCREAMING MATCH"
* Newsday: Tempers flare at stadium hearing
* New York Daily News: "Friends, foes of stadium scrimmage"

Posted by lumi at 9:29 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 7:27 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 7:37 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: * construction of structures in the model but not in the plan, * tax-incremental-financing-type debt repayment (now called "pilot"), and * Olympic conversion costs.

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 8:52 AM

March 10, 2004

Jets Get Museum If City Gridiron Rises On 33rd St.

The NY Observer

"Trying to dress the stadium up in some fashion does not in any way obfuscate the real issue," said Gerald Schoenfeld, chairman of the Shubert Organization, which owns 17 of some 35 Broadway theaters. Mr. Schoenfeld and many theater owners have been among the stadium’s vocal opponents. "Is a stadium the right use in this part of New York? My answer is no," he said.


UPDATE, 3/10/07: This article is only available through The NY Observer subscription-only online archive. The full text appears after the jump in accordance with 'fair use' of the information as allowed under section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

Jets Get Museum If City Gridiron Rises On 33rd St.

The NY Observer
By Blair Golson

On the latest act of the mayor’s West Side development drama, the New York Jets are pursuing talks with several cultural institutions to build a museum and performing-arts theater at the base of their proposed stadium there, The Observer has learned.

According to team officials, the Jets are particularly interested in partnering with the Queens-based New York Hall of Science to create a "Science of Sport" museum.

"We’ve been considering for some time how to incorporate other community uses into the facility, and in the past few weeks we decided on a theater and a museum," said Matthew Higgins, vice president for strategic planning with the Jets.

Restaurant and retail space will also be added to the eastern side of the stadium, in a bid to make the face of the stadium more friendly to neighbors who imagine a windswept canyon on non-game days.

Mr. Higgins’ comments, along with the team’s decision to add ground-level cultural space to the facility, come as the Jets are under fire from community groups, elected officials and business leaders, who claim that the proposed 75,000-seat stadium will discourage, rather than attract, street life on non-game days. The issue is critical because the Jets and the Bloomberg administration claim that the stadium will act as a catalyst for the redevelopment of the far West Side.

"Trying to dress the stadium up in some fashion does not in any way obfuscate the real issue," said Gerald Schoenfeld, chairman of the Shubert Organization, which owns 17 of some 35 Broadway theaters. Mr. Schoenfeld and many theater owners have been among the stadium’s vocal opponents. "Is a stadium the right use in this part of New York? My answer is no," he said.

The proposed stadium is located on a stretch of M.T.A.-owned railyards from 30th to 33rd streets, between 11th Avenue and the Hudson River. The museum and theater will be located on the western, waterfront side of the facility. Mr. Higgins said the museum would probably be around 10,000 to 15,000 square feet, and the theater would have 199 seats. He also said the eastern side of the stadium, along 11th Avenue, would contain between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail or restaurants.

Officially called the New York Sports and Convention Center, the stadium will double as expansion space for the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which lies one block to the north. In addition, the NYSCC would host the 2012 Olympic games in the case of a successful American bid. The Jets have pledged to pay $800 million for the construction of the stadium, and the city and state will contribute $600 million for a deck above the railyards at the site, in addition to a retractable roof and an air-conditioning system.

The NYSCC has emerged as the most contentious aspect of the Bloomberg administration’s plan to redevelop the Hudson Yards district. Jets and city officials estimate that the stadium will generate $75 million in economic benefits to the city, largely from tourists and visitors who attend the facility’s convention shows. But many critics argue that the stadium will prove a poor convention hall, and will generate far less revenue for the city than is being claimed. In December, the Jets dropped plans to construct the area in such a way that it could serve as an arena—to host events like medium-sized concerts—which fueled criticism that the stadium will prove even less of an economic boon to the city.

Bloomberg administration officials maintain that the stadium will prove a magnet for development and pedestrian traffic in the area. The Jets’ decision to add cultural and retail elements to the stadium is an attempt to buttress that claim.

"This is another way to get the message out that this facility is going to serve many uses beyond a stadium," said Mr. Higgins. "In fact, the majority of uses won’t be stadium-related."

At least at first glance, however, that argument doesn’t seem to have much traction among the local officials opposed to the stadium.

"This is just window-dressing," said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who represents the area. "You can dress up a monstrosity, but it’s still a monstrosity."

The Jets’ decision drew praise, however, from the city’s tourism bureau, NYC and Company, whose president, Cristyne Nicholas, said that coupling the stadium with cultural offerings will help to make the far West Side a tourist destination. The Municipal Arts Society, one the city’s most respected urban-planning organizations—which has yet to take a formal position on the stadium in general—said that anything that encouraged street life around the facility would be a welcome addition.

Eric Siegel, director of planning and program development at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, said the Jets first contacted him about a week ago with the idea of opening a branch at the NYSCC.

"It looks like a very attractive space, and we could imagine a facility that would be about the science of sports that would fit their goal of making a community and visitor destination," said Mr. Siegel. "There’s a lot of great science in sports."

Mr. Siegel said the museum and the Jets are still in a very preliminary phase of their talks. At the earliest, the stadium wouldn’t open before 2009. (Incidentally, the Hall of Science is located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park—the very site many activists are pushing as an alternative for the construction of the Olympic stadium.)

The Jets are also carving out between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet of retail space on the eastern side of the stadium. According to real-estate agents, that’s about enough room for a Pottery Barn and an Anne Klein Store. The theater the Jets are proposing will have 199 seats. That puts it in the league of a very small Off Broadway or community theater. Mr. Schoenfeld, of the Shubert Organization, said that such theaters can be difficult to sustain economically, as their small size prevents them from incorporating the infrastructure necessary to support multi-set performances.

Mr. Higgins didn’t dispute that claim, but pointed to the lack of performance space in the city to support the team’s choice.

"Community theater is an integral part of the theater industry in New York, and such space is in short supply," he said. "It’s unfortunate that Schoenfeld doesn’t see the need for it—but we do."

You may reach Blair Golson via email at: bgolson@observer.com.

This column ran on page 1 in the 3/15/2004 edition of The New York Observer.

Posted by lumi at 9:33 AM

March 7, 2004

Hardhats and residents clash over stadium plan

hardhatsJets-TVill.jpgThe Villager

By Albert Amateau

“We want jobs,” chanted construction workers in favor of the stadium.

“We want our neighborhood,” replied residents and elected officials from the redevelopment area — roughly between Ninth and 11th Aves., from 29th to 43rd Sts"


Posted by lumi at 8:52 AM