Friday, November 10, 2006

Fewer retail jobs than promised at AY? The Brooklyn Papers suggests yes

An article in this week's Brooklyn Papers, headlined Ratner jobs fall short, suggests that, given the track record at Forest City Ratner's two Brooklyn malls, there would be fewer retail jobs than projected at the Atlantic Yards project.

The article states:
Ratner’s Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls created a combined 1,680 jobs — a whopping 42 percent, or 1,220 jobs, less than what should have been created according to the state’s standard job-projection formula.
That state formula — one job for every 300 square feet of shopping area — is now being used to create the impression that Ratner’s Atlantic Yards’ proposed 247,000 square feet of retail space would generate 824 jobs.


Apply the track record to Atlantic Yards, and there would be only 477 jobs. (Forest City Ratner initially predicted 770 retail jobs.) “The state should be basing all its decisions on information that is verifiable and creditable,” Assemblyman Jim Brennan (D-Park Slope), told the newspaper.

Not all the space at the malls is filled, and two government agencies--the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Empire State Development Corporation--occupy space at Atlantic Center initially designated for retail, but isn't open on evenings and weekends.

Should it get built, Atlantic Yards retail might benefit from better design and thus come closer to fulfilling predictions. Still, the track record is an argument for a closer look and continued caveats.

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