Thursday, March 11, 2010

Forest City Ratner still claims Atlantic Yards will generate $5.6 billion in tax revenues and 8000 permanent jobs

From the Brooklyn Ink:
Forest City Ratner says that’s not the case. According to a fact sheet sent from Dan Klores Communications, a public relations firm representing the developer, the project will generate more than $5.6 billion in new tax revenues over the next 30 years and create a net positive fiscal impact of more than $1.3 billion. The fact sheet also states that the project will uphold the promise to ensure affordable housing units and create 8,000 permanent jobs. A spokesman for the real-estate group was not available at press time. The representative from Dan Klores Communications said he could not speak on specifics concerning the project.
The figures in my FAQ yesterday were a little bit different.

Will the project bring in $6 billion in new tax revenues?

That was the notorious $6 billion lie touted by sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, modified to $5.6 billion and $4.4 billion (net), touted in legal papers by FCR executives and a lawyer as a state estimate--but later withdrawn.

The most recent estimates by the ESDC suggest nearly $1.2 billion in net revenue, but that depends on an unrealistic ten-year buildout of the project, highly doubtful office jobs, an unlikely full buildout of the project of nearly 8 million square feet (the development agreement allows for a much smaller project, less than 5.2 million square feet) and a likely underestimate of costs.

Will the project include 15,000 construction jobs or, as the developer's more recent promotional material contends, 17,000 construction jobs?

No, it would be 17,000 job-years, or 1700 jobs a year for a decade--or, if the project takes 25 years, 680 jobs a year. (The ESDC says 16,427 new direct job years.) And that's only if the project is built as announced. It could be some 44% smaller--and thus the figure for jobs could be much, much lower.

Would there be 8000 permanent jobs? 4000?

There were once supposed to be 10,000 jobs, a figure that was bogus from the start. The figure of 8000 jobs promulgated by Forest City Ratner relies on a completely unrealistic configuration of office space, for which there is no market.

The ESDC's current estimate of about 4000 jobs should be discounted by one-third given the office market. Building service and retail jobs would be dependent on a full buildout of the project, and also could be cut significantly.

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