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About DDDB
Our coalition consists of 21 community organizations and there are 51 community organizations formally aligned in opposition to the Ratner plan.

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"Why should people get to see plans? This isn't a public project."
Bruce Ratner in Crain's Nov. 8, 2009

Ratner's Corporate Welfare

It's not quite news that Ratner's Atlantic Yards proposal is a big burden on city and state taxpayers by way of direct subsidies, breaks and government-backed financing. What's news is that a New York daily has attempted to do the accounting work...just in time for tax day.

As we've been saying for years now, the project has an enormous public cost--for taxpayers and the tax coffers. Here it is from Rich Calder in the NY Post:

YOUR 'NET' LOSS
$2B IN TAXES TO RATNER

Developer Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn is boosted by so many sweetheart deals that the public stands to pay for more than half the cost of his controversial $4 billion plan, a Post analysis found.

Ratner's Nets Gain

The project - which would bring an NBA arena and 16 residential and office towers to Prospect Heights - is in line to receive at least $2,157,260,000 worth of government subsidies, according to project records and interviews with past and present state and city officials.

And the developer is gearing up to ask for even more corporate welfare.

The president of Ratner's parent company said in a conference call with investors last week that the project will "still need more" subsidies.

The state and city say Ratner has yet to ask for extra assistance, but the developer last month admitted that a sagging economy is holding up construction of the project's residential and office space.

Among the biggest revelation of the Post analysis is what project skeptics have feared for years - that Ratner can build the planned 18,000-seat arena for his New Jersey Nets to move to with little financial risk.

"The setup is basically like paying taxes on your home and then having the government use that money to help you pay off your mortgage," said Michael D.D. White, a former vice president and top lawyer for the state finance authorities.

White - who provided the newspaper with subsidy projections based on his own review of project documents --estimates that Ratner would save slightly over $1 billion in tax payments through a Payment in Lieu of Taxes deal with the state.

Under the deal, he said these payments would be "intercepted" and go directly towards settling debt service on state bonds to build an $950 million arena that Ratner will "all but own," with remaining cash going towards arena operating costs.

While the state will technically own the arena, Ratner under a cozy $1-a-year lease deal, will control it and all its potential profits.
...

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) warned that Ratner must deliver what was promised when the state approved the project in December 2006.

"All the big projects -- the 7-line, downtown Manhattan, Hudson Yards, Atlantic Yards -- they're all hanging by a tread, and the notion the taxpayers are going to invest money while the developers don't meet their commitments, if that's what people expect, there is going to be a fight about it," said Brodsky, who chairs the Assembly committee that oversees state entities that approved these projects.

Spokespersons for the city and state said it's unclear whether Ratner would receive more subsidies if he asked, adding it would need to be reviewed. But some Brooklyn-based council members have said their dead set against giving Ratner more cash.
...

Full article

And remember, Ratner stands to make an enormous profit on the back of these subsidies and breaks, a profit the developer has tellingly withheld from the public.

DDDB first attempted to crack the opaque public cost and convoluted financing of the project back in 2004; our most recent update from June 2007 is here (it could use some tweaking). It is our best, educated estimate of the total cost of government-backed financing for Ratner's proposal based on available public information.

To date, no government agency has produced a full accounting of the project's public cost, which is another way of saying that government has not been transparent about the project's burden on the taxpayers and tax coffers, which is another way of saying that government has been hiding such information.

Today the NY Post, in tandem with its article, compiles its own line item accounting of the public cost of Atlantic Yards. It's the first mainstream media attempt to account for the project's cost:

RATNER'S NETS GAIN
PROJECTED ATLANTIC YARDS SUBSIDIES (SAVINGS TO BRUCE RATNER)

*1. Arena real estate tax savings through 30-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with state = $1,032,740,000

*2. Taxes saved on $1.406 billion federal-state-local tax-free bonds to create affordable housing = $261.25 million

3. Cash from New York City for infrastructure and/or land acquisition costs = $205 million

* 4. Taxes saved on estimated $1.032 billion fed-state-local tax-free bonds to finance $950 million arena = $191.9 million

5. Tax credits through special 421-a "carve out" state legislation = $150 million

6. Savings from purchase of Atlantic Rail Yards at price less than MTA appraisal= $114.5 million

7. Cash from New York State for infrastructure costs= $100 million

* 8. Mortgage recording tax exemption (on residential buildings) = $39.37 million

* 9. Value of city land under arena given to developer= $27.1 million

* 10 Potential tax credits for low-income housing units= $18 million

*11. Sales tax exemptions (only arena) = $17.4 million

12. Sale tax exemptions (other than arena) = Undetermined

13. Extra funds for "extraordinary infrastructure costs"= Undetermined

14. Credits for public utilities relocation= Undetermined

GRAND TOTAL=AT LEAST $2,157,260,000

*Estimations by Michael D.D. White, an urban planner and former top lawyer for New York State's finance authorities, after reviewing public documents. Other figures based on New York Post examination of state records and interviews with government officials.

Note: Atlantic Yards is estimated to cost $4 billion.

(Note: as Norman Oder explains on his Atlantic Yards Report the fully built out project cost is well over $4 billion by now.)



Posted: 4.14.08
DDDB.net en español.
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Eminent Domain Case
Goldstein et al v. ESDC
[All case files]

November 24, 2009
Court of Appeals
Ruling

[See ownership map]

EIS Lawsuit

DDDB et al v ESDC et al
Click for a summary of the lawsuit seeking to annul the review and approval the Atlantic Yards project.

Appeal briefs are here.

2/26/09
Appellate Divsion
Rules for ESDC
What would Atlantic Yards Look like?...
Photo Simulations
Before and After views from around the project footprint revealing the massive scale of the proposed luxury apartment and sports complex.

Click for
Screening Schedule
of
Isabel Hill's
"Atlantic Yards" documentary
Brooklyn Matters


Read a review
-----------------------
Atlantic Yards
would be
Instant
Gentrification
Click image to see why:


-No Land Grab.org

-Atlantic Yards Report
-Atlantic Yards Deathwatch
-The Footprint Gazette
-Brooklyn Matters
-Noticing New York
-NY Times "The Local" FG/CH
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-Pardon Me for Asking
-Clinton Hill Blog
-Only The Blog Knows BK
-Brownstoner
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-A Child Grows in Bklyn
-Williamsburg Warriors

-The Real Estate
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-OnNYTurf-Atlantic Yards
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-www.DANDOCTOROFF.com
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