When the NY MTA agreed to sell the Atlantic Yards [note: not "the Atlantic Yards"] to Forest City Ratner to build the Barclays Arena and some 17 other buildings, the authority’s board waxed enthusiastic about how the city was getting a new subway entrance out of the deal.But it's not being used, except by--natch--arena-goers. Bernstein observes:
The subway stop is set in a vast, uninviting plaza, with not much there to entice a morning subway rider, like newsstands or coffee-shops.That's true: it's much easier for people coming from the east than going to the Atlantic Terminal complex.
However, once you do cross Flatbush Avenue from Park Slope to get there, it is by far the cleanest and easiest way to enter the subway stop.
That said, the subway station should get some more use when buildings around and beyond the arena get built. Some will use the plaza entrance, though others will be closer to the Bergen Street, Grand Army Plaza, and even Fulton Street stops.
The biggest contributor to the subway hub should be the office tower once slated right on top of it, but that building is perpetually delayed.
That MTA bid process
The closing paragraph:
Ratner, BTW, paid $76 million for the new subway entrance. But the whole deal with Ratner was heavily criticized at the time as a sweetheart deal for the developer, which was allowed to work with the MTA over a period of years to develop a bid. After much pressure, the MTA opened the bidding process for the rail yards to other developers, but then rejected the one other bid it got because it wasn’t as detailed as Ratner’s bid.As I commented:
The one bid the MTA got wasn't as detailed because, understandably, the bidder had less time to develop it. That bidder, Extell, actually offered $150 million in cash, compared to Ratner's $50 million.
The MTA deemed Ratner's bid more valuable even then, given ancillary benefits (including the arena), and proceeded to negotiate solely with Ratner, rather than ask both bidders to increase their bids. Ratner then pledged $100 million.
Four years later, Ratner renegotiated, putting down $20 million, with 22 years to pay for the the rest (at a gentle interest rate), and building a smaller replacement railyard than promised.
The MTA, controlled by political appointees, agreed this was the best they could do. Actually, given Ratner's desperation to get tax-exempt bonds issued by the end of 2009, was in the weaker negotiating position.