Saturday, July 16, 2011

Former FCR executive Stuckey: "A really bad decision that rewards naysayers for delays. A bad day for affordable housing."

He's supposed to be an academic expert, but former Forest City Ratner executive Jim Stuckey, Divisional Dean, NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, and Divisional Dean, NYU SCPS Division of Programs in Business, has a not-so-supportable opinion about the July 13 decision ordering a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the second phase of Atlantic Yards.

Yesterday, he offered a tweet that distilled the developer's talking/spinning points to their essence:


Looking more closely

How exactly is this a "really bad decision"? It's highly unusual for a judge to declare that a state agency's decision doesn't meet the minimal "rational basis" test.

Why are the petitioners "naysayers"? Couldn't they simply be citizens trying to vindicate their rights, trying to hold a not-so-accountable government agency to the law? If they were merely naysayers, would they have pursued such detailed and complicated arguments? Wouldn't it be more accurate to dismiss many Forest City Ratner supporters as unquestioning "yea-sayers"?

How does it reward "naysayers for delays"? Actually, it does the opposite. It doesn't delay a thing, given that Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman chose not to stay construction of Phase 1, declaring it was too far along.

In fact, it rewards the Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner for delays. The agency was supposed to release the Development Agreement--which gives the developer 25 years to complete the project, rather than the official ten years--in early January 2010. It did not do so until later in the month, a week after the oral argument in the first iteration of this case. Friedman, later blaming a "misapprehension," admitted the document into evidence, and used it as the basis for her decision--16 months after her initial decision.

How is it a "bad day for affordable housing"? Forest City Ratner can and must build affordable housing in Phase 1 of the project, and that hasn't been delayed. However, the developer has repeatedly postponed its plans for the first tower and the Development Agreement allows an Affordable Housing Subsidy Unavailability to be claimed for up to eight one-year periods for each Phase 1 building.

The "bad day for affordable housing" happened when his former employer negotiated a Development Agreement that gave them 25 years to finish the project and the capacity to delay each individual building.

The role of p.r.

Why'd Stuckey tweet? Well, he answered himself a few weeks ago.
And that extends to executives turned academics, who, despite the cloak of the university, outdo even FCR's professional spinmeister, "dark genius" Joe DePlasco.

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