Thursday, November 12, 2009

Arena bonds down to the wire? ESDC likely waiting until mid-December

It looks like the sale of tax-exempt bonds for the Atlantic Yards arena would occur, at the earliest, in mid-December, two months after the date once predicted by developer Bruce Ratner.

A press release (bottom) from the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) today announced a meeting November 16 of the ESDC's Bond Finance Committee.

Was that regarding Atlantic Yards arena bonds? (Seemingly the latter would involve the Brooklyn Arena Local Development Corporation, or BALDC).

No, said ESDC spokeswoman Elizabeth Mitchell. (The ESDC is issuing other bonds.)

Coming in December?

So, when might arena bonds be on the agenda? "We expect by mid-December," Mitchell responded.

That suggests that the ESDC--perhaps nudged by bond rating agencies?--doesn't want to issue arena bonds until and unless the state Court of Appeals rules in favor of the ESDC's use of eminent domain.

A decision is expected in the next weeks.

But a December date already represents a two-month delay for Ratner, who told the 10/1/09 New York Observer that, after bond ratings were determined in "about two weeks... then we'll start selling them."

Is December 31 deadline firm?


A December bond sale runs up against a December 31 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) deadline for tax-exempt bonds and a requirement in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority deal for the Vanderbilt Yard that the bond sale closes before January 1, 2010 (or no alternative financing is closed before March 1, 2010).

Could the IRS deadline be extended? Unclear.

Could the MTA deadline be extended? Unclear--but the MTA, at least, answers to politicians who support the project.

Atlantic Yards is a "never say never" project.

The press release

What: Meeting of the Bond Finance Committee of the Directors of the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a the Empire State Development Corporation.

When: Monday, November 16, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.

Where: Empire State Development Corporation, 633 Third Avenue, 37th Floor Conference Room, New York, New York 10017

Web casting of meeting is available at www.nylovesbiz.com/webcasts/

Due to 633 Third Avenue building procedure, please RSVP by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 13th. Press please RSVP to (800) 260-7313; public please RSVP to (212) 803-3794.

This meeting is open to the public for observation and comment.

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