Because, assuming the NBA approves, the city will reap substantial benefits from the opening of a major arena in Brooklyn, along with the arrival of a sports franchise. (LeBron! LeBron! LeBron!)They can claim that the city "will reap substantial benefits," but they still have to grapple with the New York City Independent Budget Office's conclusion--not rebutted by the Empire State Development Corporation--that the arena would be a net loss to the city, some $220 million.
Even more important, the Atlantic Yards plan calls for building 6,400 housing units, a third of them affordable, on a tract that has been fallow for half a century. Those will take time. Right now, it's enough that we end the dark half-century that began with the defection of the borough's Dodgers and enjoy all the jobs that building the arena will create.
(That was based on a somewhat larger amount of tax-exempt bonds, so the total for the city would be adjusted slightly downward. The bigger impact of the switch from projected $678 million to actual $511 million in tax-exempt bonds is on federal taxpayers.)
Housing on a "fallow" tract?
There's no guarantee that the housing would be built in the quantity and timing promised.
As for the "tract that has been fallow for half a century," no the Atlantic Yards site has not been fallow. Rather, the head-in-the-sand editorial writers are pointing to the Vanderbilt Yard, a working railyard that would make up less than 40% of the site.
It was not fiscally feasible to build there until recently. And when it was, there was not an open RFP process but a belated one, after Forest City Ratner was anointed the site.
Oh, and the Daily News didn't mention the role of BALDC, either. There would have been no tax-exempt bonds to celebrate without a curious "local development corporation."