Sunday, March 22, 2009

In Baltimore, Forest City's project is stalled, too

Public Radio's Marketplace reported this week on troubles facing the 31-acre Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins, Forest City Enterprises' project in Baltimore, another sign of the developer's struggles.

Half the labs aren't operating; Forest City's leasing head Scott Levitan says, "The challenge now is to ride out the storm, get over the Valley of Death."

The problem: the business model has changed in just three years, as big firms have chosen to buy smaller ones than invest in basic research.

Meanwhile residents who sold their homes for the project are waiting for the promised replacements, but rehabbed houses still await construction loans from banks.

Not walking away

Levitan says Forest City has invested $47 million, while the city, the state, and philanthropic partners have put up $120 million--a nice deal compared to Atlantic Yards, where the direct investment vs. direct subsidy would be $250 million vs. $305 million, except that the other public benefits total hundreds of millions, perhaps more than a billion dollars.

Which means Forest City isn't walking away.

Let's go to the tape:
LEVITAN: No, ha, ha, ha. We're not.

A nervous laugh about an ambitious project trying to tough out the recession.

They're not walking from AY either, I'd bet. It could be Forest City's last project standing.

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