Thursday, February 05, 2009

ESDC CEO: focus on infrastructure projects

Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) CEO Marisa Lago, in a recent video interview posted on the Crain's New York Business web site, was recently asked what the city and federal governments should do to help New York business.

Her answer: "We have to inject an element of realism in today's market. We have to be smart about where we continue to invest. But the important thing is: we do need and will be continuing to invest."

Back to basics

"In a time like this, what do you focus on?" she asked rhetorically. "You get back to basics. And the basics are infrastructure projects. As so you can see through the state submission for the [federal] stimulus bill, we're focusing where we can put dollars today that will both put people to work today but also just lay that groundwork that, when this economic crisis turns around, and it will at some point, we will be prepared with the infrastructure that will allow the private sector then to come and continue with development."

Isn't that the way it's supposed to work? Infrastructure first. The "public realm." (I suppose she means things like the Second Avenue Subway.)

Some of the Atlantic Yards project would certainly be infrastructure, but it's not "shovel-ready," as the ESDC has acknowledged. And, more importantly, rather than set up a process to enhance infrastructure to lure the private sector, Atlantic Yards was a package deal, and one developer had the inside track.

3 comments:

  1. Is "shovel ready" a static term? Will the Atlantic Yards become "shovel ready" when the legal cases are resolved and financing is obtained? Will "ground breaking" translate to "shovel-ready"? Aren't those questions you should be asking or at least raising?

    "Public realm" could also apply to things like, oh I don't know, moving an LIRR railyard east...or maybe some improvements to the Atlantic Terminal subway stops.

    Why do you not raise these questions? It seems as if you don't because it would also raise troubling concerns, like the city and state see AY as something they want to succeed.

    Please, go back to your Mad Overkiller mode and do some digging.

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  2. Bobbo, ensconced in Cranford, NJ--and who really ought to be using his own name, right?--asks if groundbreaking means shovel-ready.

    Good question, since it depends on whether groundbreaking is something that occurs once Forest City Ratner puts a shovel in the ground or whether the transfer of property via eminent domain is completed. Given that the developer had consistently announced groundbreaking at a time when eminent domain could not have been completed, that wouldn't be shovel-ready.

    As for "public realm," had Mr. W. (aka NetIncome) actually read Alexander Garvin's description, he would've noticed that Garvin said, "I think it’s high time we started spending money and stop trying to get private property owners to do things that we the city should be doing, whether it’s building schools or improving our streets.”

    Sure, the city and state see Atlantic Yards as something they want to succeed--so much so that too often they close their eyes.

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  3. Bobbo should sign his name as Bob Windrem.

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