The $4.2 billion Atlantic Yards project is intended to generate more than 1,500 construction jobs during the 10-year building process, plus hundreds of permanent jobs afterward and $1.4 billion in tax revenue.
1500 construction jobs? Forest City Ratner has long promised 15,000 construction jobs, though construction jobs are calculated in job-years, so that would mean 1500 jobs a year over ten years. And FCR's Jim Stuckey recently began estimating 33,000 direct and indirect construction jobs, based on some more generous Empire State Development Corporation projectings.
I've long urged the media to report the construction jobs figure more accurately. (The point was first raised in the 6/26/04 Brooklyn Papers and was made last December in the New York Observer.)
However, the Times hasn't reported that number before, instead choosing to report the cumulative figures issued by the developer or government supporters. (See my report.) Is the more precise figure a response to the analysis that recently appeared in New York magazine?
Either the Times is wrong, and project supporters should demand a correction, or the Times is slipping in a change without acknowledging it. That's called rowback, which former Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent described in his 3/14/04 column as "a way that a newspaper can cover its butt without admitting it was ever exposed."
Note that the Times practiced rowback on the "Downtown Brooklyn" error before finally publishing a comprehensive correction.
Atlantic Yards may be intended to produce $1.4 billion in tax revenue, but that's net, not gross. As I've written, there's ample evidence that the net gain would be much lower. The organization doing the intending is the Empire State Development Corporation, which has refused to release documents to back up the claim.
It's irresponsible to use the $1.4 billion figure without adding major caveats or doing some additional analysis.