So, if Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) CEO Marisa Lago thinks Atlantic Yards would take "decades," as she said in April, when did she and other ESDC officials come to that unsurprising conclusion?
Keep in mind that project supporters like Assemblyman Roger Green and Partnership for NYC's Kathryn Wylde in 2005 and 2006 projected decades-long delays. Then the project was approved in December 2006 with an announced ten-year timeframe. In May 2007, Rob Lane of the Regional Plan Association suggested AY could take many, many years.
Lago was named to the ESDC last August.
May 2008 IRS letter
As I wrote last June, in a May 5, 2008 letter to the IRS and U.S. Treasury Department, the New York City Industrial Development Authority and the ESDC cited the discredited and chimerical decade-long timetable in arguing that the PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) plan for arena financing should stand.
Part of the argument was that Atlantic Yards had already proceeded significantly. But no construction had begun--no construction has begun, a year later--and a realistic timetable would have acknowledged the project was much farther away from its completion date.
The letter stated:
In order to illustrate the substantial progress that has been made with the Project prior to the issuance of the Proposed Regulations, we have provided the chronology of events set forth below. The Project commenced in 2003; the Arena is anticipated to be completed in 2010, and the balance of the Project is expected to be built over the next decade.
The claim that the arena would be completed in 2010 was doubtful then, and the developer's current estimate of 2011 is equally dubious.
The claim that "the balance of the project" would be "built over the next decade" was and remains extremely unlikely, given the loose deadlines already established, not to mention the continually shifting projections from the developer.