Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Public Advocate de Blasio defends eminent domain for Atlantic Yards; he's apparently forgotten his "no more subsidies" position

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who issues daily press releases but did not see fit to attend or comment on the Atlantic Yards groundbreaking in March, now concludes he's happy with the project, at least according to a speech before the business-friendly Association for a Better New York (ABNY).

Globe Street reports:
Certain projects that provide affordable housing to residents here are in the best interest of the city and require the need for eminent domain, said Bill de Blasio, New York City’s public advocate, speaking at a breakfast put on by non-profit association ABNY. He specifically pointed to the controversial mixed-use Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn being built by developer Bruce Ratner, which bought out a number of residences and building in the area and was the center of a contentious legal battle.

"I do think there’s a place for eminent domain," de Blasio said, explaining that he is a "pro development progressive." "When appropriate you do maximize height and density to maximize affordable housing."
(Emphasis added)

Well, the project didn't buy out anybody. Ratner did, thanks to the hammer of eminent domain.

As for "pro-development progressives," there are other ways to maximize height and density without signing on unquestioningly to a private developer's plan. They're called rezonings, and they require some smidgen of democratic process.

DDDB comments:
A "pro-development progressive" would realize that Atlantic Yards and the use of eminent domain for it, is all about the developer's profit.
No more subsidies?

During the campaign last August, de Blasio said in a debate, "But no more subsidies. That project has gotten all the subsidy it deserves. And they either have to figure out a way to make it work or we should pull the plug."

As I wrote, de Blasio came a little late to "no more subsidies," given his silence when the developer gained more than $100 million by renegotiating the Vanderbilt Yard deal with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

Beyond that, when the Empire State Development Corporation a few weeks later announced new concessions to developer Forest City Ratner, de Blasio was silent.

No comments:

Post a Comment