you get my vote!
Honest question, is this truly 950 million bucks out of the taxpayers pockets or is it 950 mil in tax breaks as an incentive to build over a railyard and bring a professional franchise from Jersey to NYC. If its the latter, then aren't you arguing to use money for transportation that does not exist? Something is better than nothing, right? Unlesss you really like railyards.
If i am wrong about the hand vs tax break scenario then I apologize.
If it's tax breaks again those tax breaks can be put towards better uses, like attracting bio-medical research firms to the Brooklyn Army terminal. Or to encourage CSX, NS etc to invest in upgrades to freight rail infrastructure in the boroughs.
Anything other than hand outs to an NBA franchise, that no matter how fancy their arena will always be second to the Knicks in the City. And speaking of the Knicks it looks like the Moynihan deal is again in trouble, the $950 Million in tax breaks would be much better spent shoring up the cluster f#CK that is the Moynihan station project. Lets concentrate on that redevelopment which is desparately needed, before sinking money Ratners arena.
thank you lbj.
the better use for city funds argument doesn't really make any sense b/c it's not like funding for ay is coming out of a purse that would have gone elsewhere or would have been used elswhere if not toward the development. the funding exists as a result of the planned development - but for AY there would be no such city funds to talk about.
in other news:
EXCLUSIVE: Gehry to Brooklyn Paper: Miss Brooklyn ain’t dead — in fact, she’s hotter than ever
By Gersh Kuntzman
The Brooklyn Paper
Atlantic Yards architect Frank Gehry told The Brooklyn Paper Thursday night that his “Miss Brooklyn” tower at Atlantic Yards is not dead.
In an exclusive interview, he told The Paper that not only will it be built, but it will “look better than anyone imagines.”
Gehry admitted that developer Bruce Ratner has struggled to find an anchor tenant for the 511-foot iconic, shimmering glass-walled skyscraper.
But Gehry quickly added: “Bruce will have a tenant soon — and then he’ll begin construction.”
The Miss Brooklyn tower, proposed for the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, would be the gateway to Ratner’s ailing Atlantic Yards project, which once called for 16 skyscrapers, a basketball arena and 6,800 units of housing, but has since been trimmed back to two or three buildings, the arena and hundreds of apartments.
Whatever shape Miss Brooklyn finally takes, it will no longer include a hotel component, Gehry said.
Gehry’s comments come two weeks after Ratner admitted that he was having trouble finding an anchor tenant for Miss Brooklyn, telling the New York Times that he “won’t build” the tower without such a tenant.
But if Ratner gets a tenant, Gehry said, his design is “better than ever.”
“We’ve made some adjustments that people will absolutely love,” he said. “This is the part of the process I enjoy — tinkering, making things better.”
Gehry suggested that he was disappointed by Ratner’s comments to the Times two weeks ago, in which the developer admitted that he cannot build the bulk of Atlantic Yards because of the current economic downturn.
“He really does want to build it [all]” Gehry said. “But he can’t get the financing. I don’t know why he would tell the papers that, but it is true.”
Gehry spoke with The Brooklyn Paper during the Brooklyn Museum’s annual gala, where Ratner was given the Augustus Graham Medal, an award that honors a Museum patron.
Outside the Eastern Parkway art institute, hundreds of protestors started gathering at around 6:30 pm to greet more than 1,000 Museum supporters as they entered for cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres of miso-marinated cod and spicy taro with caviar.
Celebrities including designer Marc Jacobs and tennis legend John McEnroe were also on hand.
Protesters condemned the Museum’s decision to honor Ratner, some holding signs reading, “Con Artist” and, in a particularly nifty bit of memory, “Dung Deal,” a reference to the Museum’s 1999 controversy over its “Sensation” exhibition, which featured a painting of the Virgin Mary adorned with elephant dung.
Joining the protesters was former city Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Marilyn Gelber.
Referring to the protesters outside, Borough President Markowitz — a major support of Atlantic Yards — smiled and said, “It shows that this is a great country.”
In his acceptance speech hours later, Ratner did not mention Atlantic Yards, but merely said that he was honored to accept an award that “represents the essence” of what he does as a developer, namely, building with “a social purpose and responsibility.”
By the time he started speaking, at around 10:15 pm, there were no protesters left out front.
©2008 The Brooklyn Paper
i heart gehry.
That a boy, Frank. Now, that's the right attitude.Quote:
In an exclusive interview, he told The Paper that not only will it be built, but it will “look better than anyone imagines.”
Too bad it was cut down in size though. :(
I don't heart Gehry, but I do appreciate his frankness in telling us what's going on right now.
Is that suppsed to be a pun? :cool:
Unintended, but apparently so!
What I think you're confusing is the funding itself, which is government revenue diverted from other uses; and the opportunity for a return-on-investment for the AY project, which wouldn't have existed without the project.
But since this project is not the only investment the government can make to increase the economic health of the city, STT757 makes a valid point.
Atlantic Yards Subsidies Might Total $2 Billion
Posted by Duncan Meisel at 12:24 PM, April 16, 2008
The NY Post did the math earlier this week on Atlantic Yards subsidies to developer Forest City Ratner and came up with a remarkable result: the company stands to receive $2 billion of your tax dollars in direct and indirect subsidies.
Atlantic Yards Report gives the detailed breakdown on the issue, dividing out direct payments for development from the variety of tax breaks and ‘sweetheart deals’ given to the project by the city. The $2 billion figure uses an estimate of long term savings netted by Forest City Ratner from under or non-payment of taxes on projects such as the Nets arena, and would cover about half of the projected cost of the project. (Incidentally, with New York City Public School enrollment hovering around one million students, that could also cover a $2,000 increase in services per student) Prepare for more: according to a conference call transcript, Forest City Ratner President Charles Ratner said that "We need more subsidies" to pay for development of Atlantic Yards.
Also, worth a read is a response about the Atlantic Yards from Diana Lind, an author and architecture critic, who is fielding questions from readers of the Times's CityRoom blog:
Though the [Atlantic Yards] project has promoted the fact that it’s going to create jobs and housing, the scheme of using public money to finance this endeavor sounds like robbing Peter and Paul to pay Mary (sorry, the pope’s coming to town)....
....Gehry is good at what he does, and as others have noted his voluptuous style would nicely contrast with the phallic bank building, but more than seven million square feet of his outlandish style (of any architect’s style) starts to look pretty tacky and boring, no matter the context.
So, if the project goes ahead as it’s planned now, how this will affect life in Brooklyn? A lot. Irreversibly. It will complete Brooklyn’s transformation from a post-industrial residential borough to a city unto itself and will extend Downtown Brooklyn to Fort Greene, Prospect Heights and Boerum Hill.
....Spending time in Brooklyn now, one senses the borough’s promise and mutability. When and if Atlantic Yards is completed, I think many people will feel an enormous opportunity was lost on a not particularly innovative project. If I were in charge of the development site, I’d scrap the plan, build a platform over the railyards, and auction off small parcels of the site to varied developers, cultural organizations and schools. The diversity of approaches to the parcels would mimic the city’s naturally haphazard development process and allow for more community involvement.
The NY Post article:
YOUR 'NET' LOSS
By RICH CALDER
April 14, 2008 --
Developer Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn is boosted by so many sweetheart deals that the public stands to pay for more than half the cost of his controversial $4 billion plan, a Post analysis found.
BREAKDOWN: Ratner's Nets Gain
The project - which would bring an NBA arena and 16 residential and office towers to Prospect Heights - is in line to receive at least $2,157,260,000 worth of government subsidies, according to project records and interviews with past and present state and city officials.
And the developer is gearing up to ask for even more corporate welfare.
The president of Ratner's parent company said in a conference call with investors last week that the project will "still need more" subsidies.
The state and city say Ratner has yet to ask for extra assistance, but the developer last month admitted that a sagging economy is holding up construction of the project's residential and office space.
Among the biggest revelation of the Post analysis is what project skeptics have feared for years - that Ratner can build the planned 18,000-seat arena for his New Jersey Nets to move to with little financial risk.
"The setup is basically like paying taxes on your home and then having the government use that money to help you pay off your mortgage," said Michael D.D. White, a former vice president and top lawyer for the state finance authorities.
White - who provided the newspaper with subsidy projections based on his own review of project documents --estimates that Ratner would save slightly over $1 billion in tax payments through a Payment in Lieu of Taxes deal with the state.
Under the deal, he said these payments would be "intercepted" and go directly towards settling debt service on state bonds to build an $950 million arena that Ratner will "all but own," with remaining cash going towards arena operating costs.
While the state will technically own the arena, Ratner under a cozy $1-a-year lease deal, will control it and all its potential profits.
Anticipated arena financial windfalls include a record $400 million naming-rights deal signed with Barclays Bank and up to $35 million annually through the sale of luxury suites.
Ratner has an option to buy the arena at market value after 30 years, records say. But it doesn't pay because the average life span of an NBA arena is about three decades, and he is eligible to continue the buck-a-year lease arrangement for up to 99 years.
Other benefits for Ratner include:
* Saving $261.25 million in taxes through tax-free bonds that will finance affordable housing, White said.
* $150 million in tax credits through special state legislation set up to benefit Atlantic Yards, officials said.
* Saving $114.5 million buying the Atlantic Rail Yards site for the project at less than the MTA's own appraised price.
Ratner spokesman Loren Riegelhaupt refuted most of the subsidy estimates made by White and the Post, adding "it is too early to know" the exact tally and that the only subsidies currently guaranteed are $305 million coming from the state and city for infrastructure and land-acquisition costs.
"Yes, there's investment from the city and state, but what they get back is even greater," he said.
He added that the entire project will eventually be built and bring in nearly $1 billion in net tax revenues over the first 30 years, create over 21,000 permanent jobs and construction jobs and 2,250 units of affordable housing for low- and middle-income families.
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) warned that Ratner must deliver what was promised when the state approved the project in December 2006.
"All the big projects -- the 7-line, downtown Manhattan, Hudson Yards, Atlantic Yards -- they're all hanging by a tread, and the notion the taxpayers are going to invest money while the developers don't meet their commitments, if that's what people expect, there is going to be a fight about it," said Brodsky, who chairs the Assembly committee that oversees state entities that approved these projects.
Spokespersons for the city and state said it's unclear whether Ratner would receive more subsidies if he asked, adding it would need to be reviewed. But some Brooklyn-based council members have said their dead set against giving Ratner more cash.
While Riegelhaupt said Ratner plans to break ground on the arena and one of the residential towers later this year, construction on other parts of Atlantic Yards is being pushed back because of the downtown in the economy.
Project opponents, however, are still attempting to block the entire project through pending lawsuits.
^ that would be more adequate for Hudson Yards.