Sunday, May 16, 2010

Times columnist criticizes corporate welfare for stadiums and companies making bogus threats to leave city; Atlantic Yards would have fit right in

In a column in today's New York Times headlined Companies We Keep, and Pay For, Metro columnist Jim Dwyer criticize the willingness of city mayors to subsidize companies to move from other parts of the city into the rebuilt World Trade Center.

Such corporate welfare has been provided in response to threats to leave that "were barely disguised feints, and sometimes not even that." Dwyer cites the magazine publisher Condé Nast, and other media businesses, including the Times itself. The biggest winners were in the financial industry.

And while Mayor Mike Bloomberg canceled his predecessor's subsidies for new baseball stadiums, writes Dwyer, "A few years later, Mr. Bloomberg used hundreds of millions in public money to help the Yankees and Mets build stadiums."

What about AY?

Equally worthy of mention--but unmentioned--is Bloomberg's willingness to subsidize a new basketball arena in Brooklyn.

Also worth mentioning is that subsidies for Yankee Stadium and tax breaks for Madison Square Garden were predicated on highly implausible threats that the teams might leave the city.

Remember that the once-ballyhooed figure of 10,000 office jobs at the Atlantic Yards site was bogus on multiple levels: it overestimated the amount of jobs that could be accommodated in the then-projected amount of 2 million square feet, and it assumed the jobs were new.

Stated the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which is quite sympathetic to Atlantic Yards, in its June 2005 analysis, stated:
It is expected that approximately 2 million square feet of commercial space will be added to the City as a result of this project. This new construction creates the potential for 7,100 jobs to be added based on an average of 250 square feet per employee and a 7% average vacancy rate. The fiscal impact analysis, however, assumes that only 30% of these jobs, or just over 2,000 workers, are new to the New York economy.
(Emphasis added)

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