Friday, July 27, 2007

IBO official confirms (sort of) that the city would lose $ on arena

The Brooklyn Paper picked up my article estimating that the city's new commitment to Atlantic Yards seemingly upends the Independent Budget Office's (IBO) prediction that the Atlantic Yards arena would be a net gain in terms of the city revenues.

And the Paper got an IBO official to agree, sort of.

The Paper article suggests that I conducted a "study" even though all I did was something obvious: plug new numbers into an old chart.

The Paper reports:
The city rift with Ratner comes after a new financial analysis of Atlantic Yards revealed that the Frank Gehry-designed basketball arena at its center will actually be a money-loser for the city.

But the new study by the Atlantic Yards Report, a Web site, reveals that the arena will instead cost taxpayers $77 million over 30 years, according to the analysis.

The amount of direct subsidy that the city will give Ratner to build the arena has more than doubled — jumping from $100 million to $205 million — in the two years since the city’s Independent Budget Office said the arena create “a modest” net gain of $107 million in tax revenue.

IBO Deputy Director George Sweeting said the new numbers came as a little surprise to him.

“Because the size of the city contribution has grown, the gain from the arena is certainly less than $30 million and it could be a loss,” said Sweeting, adding that the organization had no plans to do the math again.

Actually, the additional $105 million wouldn't all go to the arena block, but even if a minimum of $28.5 million were directed to the arena block--and that's likely--the city tab turns into a loss. Too bad IBO won't take another look.

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