Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Revisiting that May 2004 Daily News scoop about Ratner's generous buyouts

On the front page of the 5/14/04 New York Daily News, the headline proclaimed "BONANZA."

The headline on page 5 was no less breathless: "FOR THESE CONDO OWNERS, B'KLYN NETS ARENA DEAL IS . . . SLAM DUNK; RESIDENTS GET A COOL MIL TO GET OUT OF RATNER'S WAY."

Now that we know that taxpayers will pay for nearly all the private property developer Forest City Ratner purchased in the arena block, including the building pictured, it's worth looking back at the article and, with hindsight, revising selected paragraphs.

It would have been a different kind of scoop.

Some revisions


Real estate tycoon Bruce Ratner is showing Brooklyn homeowners the money.

Revised: Real estate tycoon Bruce Ratner is showing Brooklyn homeowners taxpayers’ money.

He's turning residents of one building into instant millionaires so they'll go quietly - letting him knock down their homes to make way for his controversial $2.5 billion Nets arena and housing complex.

Revised: Taxpayer funds are turning residents of one building into instant millionaires so they'll go quietly - letting him knock down their homes to make way for his controversial $2.5 billion Nets arena and housing complex.

That means people who paid about $600,000 for a swank three-bedroom, 1,300-foot condo just last year are being offered a cool $1.2 million to flee.

Revised: That means people who paid about $600,000 for a swank three-bedroom, 1,300-foot condo just last year are being offered a cool $1.2 million to flee. While it looks like the developer was being generous, the enormous increase in development rights made it worthwhile--even if he had to pay, which he doesn’t.

..."It's a lot of money," said another woman, who did not want her name used, citing an internal building pact to keep mum about the deal.

Nearly all the 30 owners in the eight-story condo - a renovated warehouse called the Atlantic Arts Building - are negotiating with Forest City Ratner.

One holdout remains.

Revised: One holdout remains. That holdout, Daniel Goldstein, became spokesperson for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, and has been responsible for--take your pick--helping delay the project through litigation and helping blow the whistle on a sweetheart deal.

"They're kind of mimicking what they did at MetroTech, which is to treat people equitably," said Atlantic Arts Building developer Marc Freud, referring to the downtown Brooklyn office and university complex Forest City Ratner built in the early 1990s.

Revised: "They're kind of mimicking what they did at MetroTech, which is to treat people equitably," said Atlantic Arts Building developer Marc Freud, referring to the downtown Brooklyn office and university complex Forest City Ratner built in the early 1990s. Equitable treatment in this case is eased by the public's money. And those taking the buyouts also knew that eminent domain loomed if they didn't deal.

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