Thursday, July 26, 2007

Behind closed doors, a "compromise" on the Ratner clause

A Daily News article today headlined Pols slash tax-break on Atlantic Yards could just as easily have said "Ratner keeps two-thirds of Atlantic Yards tax break" or "Atlantic Yards still gets special tax break."

Because the gist of the exclusive, published unaccountably in the newspaper's Brooklyn section--is this not of citywide interest?--is that the "Atlantic Yards carve-out" would be reduced from $300 million to $200 million because the 1930 condos would get tax exemptions for 15 years rather than 25 years.

But that still means special treatment, since any other condos in the same neighborhood would be required to provide 20% on-site affordable housing in exchange for the 421-a tax break.

So it would still be "economic segregation," in the words of Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who was not quoted in the story. Rather, we hear from the unelected developer:
"As far as we're concerned, the issue has been resolved," said Forest City Ratner spokesman Loren Riegelhaupt.

And we hear from the organized opposition to Atlantic Yards:
"The city and state have already moved heaven and Earth to favor this developer, with $300 million in subsidies, with other tax breaks, with the right to use eminent domain and the private rezoning," said Daniel Goldstein of the anti-Yards group Develop, Don't Destroy. "That's enough."

Missing is the voice of any neutral analyst, but surely such person could point out that, while Forest City Ratner did expect to get tax breaks for all-condo buildings before the law changed, the justification for treating this development differently is hard to get past the average citizen, as noted Tuesday by Jeffries' constituency.

Larger deal

While city officials wouldn't provide details, apparently the Ratner "compromise" is part of a larger package of changes to the 421-a law that the city requested.

The New York Post, in a more vague "exclusive" headlined RATNER-CITY DEAL NEAR ON HOUSING, reported:
While the Bloomberg administration has concerns about Atlantic Yards, the bigger issue appears to be how the legislation would rip into the mayor's plans to build more housing for middle-income families.

It would directly kill the construction of 10,000 subsidized units citywide for which middle-income families could qualify.


Not necessarily--it would change the income requirements for eligibility for such units and affordable housing, as we know, is all in the details.

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