"Time might be running out for Atlantic Yards," Hennelly said in the lead-in to Schuerman's segment.
Scheurman said, "The New Jersey folks, it seems, are just positioning themselves to pick up the scraps that Brooklyn leaves behind." He noted that the Nets say they're moving to Brooklyn by 2011, but pointed out that the developer has steadily been promising a move.
"There will be a point where if they don’t complete the Brooklyn arena or get it into the ground, they may well decide to evaluate other options," he said.
There's an Internal Revenue Service deadline this December to issue tax-exempt bonds that could save Forest City Ratner $150 million, Schuerman said. (I've estimated $165 million, but all numbers are approximate.)
Not just lawsuits
Schuerman was asked what was keeping the bonds from being issued. First, lawsuits must be cleared. But even if they are, developer Bruce Ratner "might not be able to issue the bonds in this economic environment as it is. When he first bid on the MTA railyards, he submitted a letter of interest from the AMBAC corporation, saying AMBAC would back these bonds, but AMBAC has been downgraded to junk status… all the institutions he was relying on to finance the arena have really come undone, because of the banking collapse."
Well, Goldman Sachs, at least, is doing fine, and it was to issue the bonds, if not back them.
Also during the show:
--Hennelly described how the Prudential Center works well in an urban area
--Schuerman noted that, while the Nets came in 25th in the league in announced attendance, the reported 76% ticket distribution meant likely much lower actual attendance
--Schuerman suggested Ratner could’ve accelerated the pace of the lawsuits and get them resolved more quickly.
That's not my understanding--what the developer could've done, I think, is accelerated the pace of work on properties not in litigation, while lawsuits (which have mainly have the Empire State Development Corporation as the defendant) were pending.