Wednesday, November 05, 2008

AY supporter Thompson clarifies position: no more subsidies

From the New York Observer's interview with Comptroller William Thompson, who remains a mayoral candidate:
The Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn faces some clear challenges, and the developer has asked for more than $100 million in additional assistance from the city. Do you think the project should get more government assistance if it can’t go forward otherwise?

No. I think that that project has received a lot of government assistance to this point. It’s a project I supported in its original form. It continues to morph and change, and that may be one of the projects that you have to reevaluate on a staged basis before you move forward. It is still a project that I support, but it continues to change.


Well, the city originally pledged $100 million for infrastructure or land, but later devoted that entire sum to land and added another $105 million for infrastructure. Total: $205 million.

So, I'm not sure whether the "more than $100 million in additional assistance" is a reference to the initial addition of subsidies or a reference to a specific request on the table. Publicly, the developer has simply said, "We still need more [subsidies]."

[Update: To clarify, the Times reported in September that "Mr. Ratner has asked government officials recently for as much as $100 million in additional cash for the project."]

What Thompson said last month

Thompson two weeks ago was less equivocal (though he wasn't queried specifically about subsidies), saying, "If those projects made sense two-three years ago, when things were booming, they make sense during slower economies, also."

Maybe he's thinking more like Newark Deputy Mayor Stefan Pryor, who said last week about municipal decisionmaking, "We want to look for the least necessary insertion of subsidies."

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