Thursday, March 06, 2008

AY financing documents have been signed, city official confirms

A city official has finally confirmed that both the city and state have "executed and registered" financing documents regarding Atlantic Yards, and $55 million of public funds has been distributed. The exact nature of the deals had been in question, as Atlantic Yards Ombudsman Forrest Taylor in early January indicated they haven't been signed. (It may be, however, that more financing documents remain to be signed.)

Last week, after I reported that the developer last October had indicted the documents were "executed," Crain's New York Business reported that a source said they were still waiting for approval by the city and state comptrollers.

EDC president has the news

Seth Pinsky, the new president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), appeared yesterday at a New York City Council oversight hearing held by the Economic Development Committee and the Small Business Committee.

City Council Member Letitia James said that Pinksy indicated that $40 million of city funds and $15 million of state funds had been distributed. The state has pledged $100 million and the city $205 million. At the request of fellow Council Member David Yassky, a member of the Economic Development Committee, Pinsky said he'd release the financing documents to the committee, James said.

Will the documents ensure the provision of affordable housing, part of the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)? That's unclear, though state officials had indicated that such guarantees were forthcoming. James said Pinsky acknowledged that the CBA is not incorporated in financing document but some city priorities, such as affordable housing, are reflected in it.

3 comments:

  1. So Ratner is presently accessing maybe 02.5% of the total no-bid subsidy he is hoping to get?

    Signing these agreements means a lot less than people might believe.

    One thing hasn’t changed: it is still the duty of any straight-thinking politicians to walk away from this thing poste-haste. If you do the math, we could walk away from this thing after having dumped multiple hundreds of millions on Ratner and the public would still be way ahead in the end.

    Nor has Ratner in his no-bid deal earned anything by virtue of any “signatures.” Nobody should ever think that he is owed anything by virtue of this failure or process. . A failure of process for which he is quite personally responsible.

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  2. This project is exactly what the borough of Brooklyn and the City of NY needs to remain vital and to grow in a way that makes the best use of the amazing transit hub that sits over that ugly open wound of a train yard. I've lived and worked in this neighborhood for years and I'm sick and tired of the NIMBY attitude being dished out by special interestes in neighboring affluent communities. This project should get the same subsidies for affordable housing that other developers around new york city and state are entitled to. This project can revitalize and elevate Brooklyns status world wide, it will provide commerce and housing within easy walking distance to every subway line in the city of NY save two and the LIRR to boot. It's value is obvious. The nay sayers are fighting to preserve a stagnant industrial corridor to serve their own agenda to limit traffic in their affluent neighborhoods. I feel for those that will really suffer the hardship of moving when their buildings are taken but they are of very small number in comparison to the political funding machine that is championing their cause.

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  3. Regarding Mark’s comment.- It raises a few points worth responding to.

    The suggestion that “This project should get the same subsidies for affordable housing that other developers around New York city and state are entitled to,” if accepted, may be just enough to kill the project.

    But Atlantic Yards shouldn’t get that. It should get less in the way of subsidies. That depends also where you start counting the subsidies from since almost no matter where you start it is already getting to much.

    This project should be recognized as the no-bid subsidy hog that it is. Why should it get any subsidies when whatever it gets is through a no bid process? Then, if it ever got subsidies it would get many times what anyone else could get because it is hugely and inappropriately more dense than anything around it via the permission it is getting from a special zoning override permitting it to be different than anything else permitted for the surrounding neighborhood. It is more immense and multiplies its inappropriate density by being largely built on land purchased at below market prices through eminent domain abuse. You see Mark is ill informed: this project doesn’t sit “over that ugly open wound of a train yard.” Only 40% of the project involves train yard property. 60% is over other land including at last one whole block that is being gratuitously grabbed just for the eminent domain windfall. That is why the project foot print is so oddly shaped. Mark probably doesn’t know why it is called the “Boymelgreen Wrench.”

    So where does this process stop? What if the buildings were twice as tall and what if double the land were taken from the neighbors through the extra low prices of eminent domain abuse? Would Mark advocate that the project receive quadruple the subsidies? All these subsidies get drained away from other worthwhile projects where the force of natural economics would be calling for them to be built. It would be nice if we had some diversification where we were building up the strength of some other developers rather than using fictions to dump several times that amount of money on Ratner and turning him into a super giant subsidy collector depriving everyone else. Maybe Mark hasn’t noticed Atlantic Yards is poorly designed and is closing down streets and avenues that ought to be kept open?

    But where do you start counting the no-bid subsidies to Ratner? It is not just the no-bid housing subsides and not just the zoning override subsidy and not just the eminent domain subsidy, or the MTA land donations, all these subsides are an afterthought pegged on the $1 billion plus in no-bid subsidies he is supposed to get for arena that the public will pay for and he will own while getting to pocket tens of millions on day one.

    The project is close to subway lines and that is an argument for some density. In fact the A-line probably has some absorption capacity. Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future all the numbered subways lines have a capacity problem, # 2, 3, 4, & 5. The head times can’t be shortened and the trains can’t be lengthened. I am willing to go for a little squeezing in, but let’s not be ridiculous.

    Mark is wrong- It isn’t a NIMBY thing- It is a NIABY thing- No one would want this ANYBODY’s back yard. Brooklyn needs the kind of growth that is naturally occurring “to remain vital and to grow.” We don’t need this project which is so poorly designed that it will blight the neighborhood tremendously. It is blighting it now. Which brings me to this point, if Mark thinks that the project sits amidst “neighboring affluent communities” he is basically right about that but he seems to disagree with the ESDC blight findings that are essential for it to be possible.

    Mark is also wrong about what the projects’ opposition wants. The project’s opposition doesn’t want “to preserve a stagnant industrial corridor.” The project opposition wants substantial development over the rail yards at an appropriate density that would be high, perhaps as high as Battery Park City but not multiples thereof. They would like good design, a continuing street grid and a process that bids out the construction, preferably to multiple competent developers who get to build it based on merit and a high bid rather than political connections.

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