In Our Time Press, the notorious Stephen Witt hails Ratner's modular plan, cites support from Caldwell of BUILD
In Build Atlantic Yards in Bedford-Stuyvesant (from this issue), Witt writes:
If developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) wants to prefabricate all planned 16 high-rise buildings in his $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project that’s fine with me as long as most of the factory work stays in Brooklyn.This is a version of an argument made by Crown Heights residents (and then-Daily News columnist) Errol Louis, as expressed at a forum in September 21006: "If they’re going to get a billion-dollar TIF [tax-increment financing] deal in Rensselaer County, I think where I live, in Kings County, if somebody wants to bring a billion-dollar deal there, with way too much paid per job, in my neighborhood, where there’s a lot of unemployment, personally, I would say, ‘You know what? I’ll take that.’”
And a good place to start looking for a site to build modules components of the skyscrapers that will be trucked and bolted together on the 22-acre site starting at the Flatbush/Atlantic avenues intersection is in Bedford- Stuyvesant.
The only sour note in Ratner’s announcement was that he was looking to locate the factory in Long Island City Queens, which would take jobs out of Brooklyn.The only sour note? Didn't he notice that the number of jobs, and pay, for the construction phase would go down significantly, and that several unions are upset.
So I called Ratner spokesperson Joe DePlasco, who said the company, is also looking at sites in Brooklyn. A good place to start is northwest Bed-Stuy, which is currently zoned for manufacturing.
Another good spot would be in and around the Brooklyn Navy Yard – also zoned for manufacturing.
Note that Forest City would build the factory where it's cheapest to build, and where industrial synergies are available. That suggests they'd choose Long Island City or the Navy Yard over Bed-Stuy.
Cover from Caldwell
Witt finds his favorite source:
James Caldwell, president of Brooklyn United for Innovative Development (BUILD), one of the signatories of the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) also hailed the move.As No Land Grab's Erid McClure comments, referring to Caldwell's most famous utterance:
“If it creates jobs in manufacturing it will be a throwback to a different era with a new twist,” said Caldwell, whose non- profit organization is funded by Ratner.
It's like "An Angel sent from God II!"Witt writes:
Caldwell said since signing the CBA, BUILD has put about 350 people to work either through Ratner or on other Ratner projects throughout the city.If so--and we haven't seen the Independent Compliance Monitor report, because there is no ICM--most of those jobs are at Ratner's malls. In February, Forest City Ratner reported a total of 150 workers at the Atlantic Yards site.
The article closes:
The announcement came as the mostly wealthier and white opponents of the project continue to decry it. Interestingly, some of these people have made opposing the plan a cottage industry and have already benefited from the project.As McClure comments:
Caldwell said he finds it interesting that opponent bloggers never even try to tell both sides of the story, and continue to demonize anyone that tries to see both sides of the coin.
“I was just at Cataldo’s Restaurant and Pizzeria on Dean Street and Vanderbilt Avenue and the owner told me how he is doing a great business from arena construction workers,” said Caldwell.
“The bloggers and people against the project don’t talk or write about the positive economic impact the arena has already had in the area,” he added.
Ouch. But we thought it was the wealthier and white proponents of the project who were benefiting from the project — that is, until the Feds swooped in.The other night, as it happens, I was talking to someone who lives on the Prospect Heights/Crown Heights boundary. Nobody in her building--mostly poorer and black (to use the converse of Witt's term)--supports Atlantic Yards.
Maybe that's a limited sample, but Witt's sample is just as limited. And everyone he cites is making money from Atlantic Yards. Maybe he should consider the other side of that coin.