Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pullout without penalty? Maybe, but not without pain

The New York Post reports today, in an article headlined BUILDER CAN NIX NETS PLAN:
Bruce Ratner can pull out of his $4 billion Atlantic Yards project for Brooklyn without penalty, The Post has learned.

That's because the developer never signed binding contracts for the controversial state-approved project or drew on hundreds of millions in government subsidies, officials confirmed yesterday.


Not that that's likely; Forest City Ratner officials say it won't come to pass. But if so, there'd be questions about who's responsible for the closing and reconstruction of the Carlton Avenue Bridge and the start on a new railyard, costs that the government would have to pick up.

(The Empire State Development Corporation has been reimbursed for many of its costs in the environmental review process. As I reported earlier this month, ombudsman Forrest Taylor said that funding agreements and subsidies had yet to be formalized.)

Not without pain

But the developer wouldn't exactly go away without pain. First, the Nets consistently lose money, and the loss of the Barclays Center naming rights deal would be huge.

And Forest City Ratner would be sitting on a patchwork of property for which it paid generously for under current zoning, but would be a bargain given the expected zoning override that allows for much bigger buildings. But the demise of the project would mean the demise of the bargain and a certain amount of pain.

There's surely much more to the potential scenario; if the project does come closer to stalling, we should expect public officials to be more forthcoming.

1 comment:

  1. Pain?

    Is the absence of excessive pleasure pain? How much pain is there when you don’t land a fish you hooked and hoped to land? Maybe we should all have such pain!

    And if this is a kind of “pain” it should not be confused with the kind of deterrent to a developer pull-out that can be contracted for.

    It would be wonderful if the Ratner organization does pull out. It would also be quite wonderful if our politicians don’t feel they are bound to some sort of one-way-commitment-to-Ratner (they aren’t). The City Council and any of the candidates for city-wide office should be able to think alternative GOOD uses for the hundreds of billions of dollars that will be freed up when the plug is pulled on this.

    And this “pain” would only be the absence of EXCESSIVE pleasure. The Ratner organization could still take a great deal of (none-excessive) pleasure in the profit they will make from all the land they have acquired at below-market value through the abuse of eminent domain and its threat.

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