Thursday, October 02, 2008

AKRF's very selective literature review for the Atlantic Yards Blight Study

This may be old news, but it still deserves another look.

In the battle over the dubious Atlantic Yards Blight Study conducted by consultant AKRF for the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), those challenging the environmental review were told by the ESDC that claims about about improvements in Prospect Heights and the site footprint were merely anecdotal--and a judge agreed. An appeal is pending, and the appellate court may be more skeptical.

(Above right, a 12/18/05 New York Times Real Estate Section article.)

In the Blight Study

However, we should remember that AKRF did include, in Appendix C of the Blight Study, a compendium of articles about the AY footprint. Well, maybe not a compendium. Appendix C consists of exactly one report, an August 2005 article from the AY-friendly Courier-Life chain (and reporter Stephen Witt) blaming Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn for not dealing with the homeless problem on Pacific Street.

Omitted was, journalistic evidence about market trends, steady improvements in the neighborhood, and spotty but clear improvements within the footprint--improvements could be accelerated by spot rezonings or a larger rezoning.

No redevelopment without AY

Instead, we got the "Blind Eye to Atlantic Yards Homeless?" article and the ESDC's conclusory and unwarranted statement in the Final Environmental Impact Statement:
While the City, if it desired, could rezone the project site, it has not. Given the attempts over the life of ATURA to encourage development, the challenges of developing over the rail yard have resulted in the project site remaining underutilized and blighted, rendering any rezoning of the rail yard parcels unable to affect desired change.

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