Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The little economic engine that could? Once Atlantic Yards was called an "economic engine." Now it's the arena.

The Summer 2012 issue of Brooklyn!! (embedded below), Borough President Marty Markowitz's promotional publication, offers an enthusiastic coverage of the new arena, with a curious claim:
Along with pumping up Brooklyn’s reputation as the place for sporting and entertainment events, Barclays Center is its own economic engine, providing 2,000 full and part-time jobs, plus a shot in the arm to the ancillary businesses around the arena.
From Brooklyn!!
Forest City Ratner says those 2,000 jobs add up to 1,240 FTE (full-time equivalent), but I think that's very doubtful.

Either way, it's hard to call the arena "its own economic engine," given the significant subsidies and tax breaks, and the fact that the New York City Independent Budget Office calls it a net loss to the city.

After all, sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, at least before he delivered a report for his client, Forest City Ratner, told the 2/16/04, Courier-Life, "One would not say, 'Let's move the Nets to Brooklyn to help the local economy.'"

Now one would, at least if the one is Markowitz.

Little engines and big

The term "economic engine" has been used frequently by developer Forest City Ratner, such as a July 2011, claim to Crain's New York Business:
Atlantic Yards will be an economic engine for Brooklyn, New York City and the State generating more than $5 billion in new tax revenues over the next 30 years. In addition to tax benefits, the project will also create thousands of new jobs: upwards of 17,000 union construction jobs and up to 8,000 permanent jobs.
The groundbreaking press release, March 2010:
“When we announced Atlantic Yards in December 2003, we anticipated that this project would create buzz and excitement for the borough and the City, as well as needed jobs and affordable housing,” said Ratner. “We did not at the time appreciate that Atlantic Yards would be such an important economic engine. The fact that we can start construction in this financial environment is testament to the lasting appeal of New York City. Atlantic Yards will for many years stand as a reminder that we can build and create jobs and homes and dreams even during the most difficult of economic times.”
Back then, they didn't feel the need to tout those questionable part-time arena jobs.

Summer 2012 issue of Brooklyn!!

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