Please note our new postal address when sending
contributions to the legal fund:
121 5th Avenue, PMB #150
Brooklyn, New York 11217
Our coalition consists of 21 community organizations and
there are 51 community organizations formally
aligned in opposition to the Ratner plan.
DDDB is a volunteer-run organization. We have over 5,000
subscribers to our email newsletter, and 7,000 petition
signers. Over 800 volunteers have registered with DDDB
to form our various teams, task-forces and committees
and we have over 150 block captains. We have a 20 person
volunteer legal team of local lawyers supplementing our
We are funded entirely by individual donations from the community at large
and through various fundraising events we and supporters have organized.
We have the financial support of well over 3,500 individual
Atlantic Yards Is Too Costly and Too Risky for NY State & City
In August, Governor Paterson took
listener questions on WCBS-radio:
WCBS: "With the state in such dire fiscal straits why are
you supporting this costly project, which according to this writer may end up
costing the State and New York City about 2 billion in subsidies and tax breaks?"
Governor Paterson: "There is a point that the listener
correctly has addressed. That if it starts to become too costly, a lot of these
projects that we were for, we might have to change our mind. To this point we
don't think that we are there with the Atlantic Yards and continue to try to help
The enormous amount of public financial support (through cash subsidies, tax breaks,
tax-exempt bonds, and below-market land sales) for the 22-acre, 8-million-square
foot Atlantic Yards project has always been a risky and costly proposition,
and has been overly dependent on a single developer. Now, with New York State
in a fiscal crisis, the Wall Street meltdown, the global credit crisis, real estate
market downturn, skyrocketing construction costs, high office vacancy rates and
overall poor local, state and national economies further clouding the fiscal picture,
Atlantic Yards is certinaly too costly and too risky...
Just Some of the Current Costs to New York State and New York
Just Some of the Risks for New York State and New York City:
- $200 million direct cash subsidy from the state. (It had
been thought that the state's direct cash subsidy to Forest City Ratner was
$100 million, but this legal brief
(pages 8-9) from the Public Authorities Control Board appears to say that
the state has committed $200 million in direct cash subsidy to Ratner.)
- Forest City Ratner (FCR) will seek more subsidies: Forest
City Enterprises President Chuck Ratner said, during an investment analyst
conference call, “we
need more” subsides for Atlantic Yards. (April 2nd, 2008)
confirmed that Ratner is asking government officials for $100 million more
in taxpayer subsidies.
- MTA Vanderbilt Rail Yards appraised at $214.5 million in 2005,
while MTA has agreed to $100 million sale to Forest City Ratner (FCR).
- An estimated $1.4 billion worth of tax-exempt housing bonds
over an undefined time period. By comparison, the state's annual allocation
for all affordable housing is about $1.6 billion.
- Average cost to construct one new affordable unit in NYC is $250,000,
while the Atlantic Yards project would require an estimated $430,000
per new affordable unit.
- $205 million direct cash subsidy from the city.
- A blank
check promised by the city for "extraordinary infrastructure
- The NY
Post tallied the total cost of government-backed financing and
subsidies for Atlantic Yards to be more than $2 billion. Develop
Don't Destroy Brooklyn's analysis,
based on best available information, also estimates more than $2 billion in
It appears that Forest City Ratner is speculating on the land, which is the prerogative
of a private real estate development firm. But allowing and fostering FCR's speculation
on 22-acres of public land, city streets and private land at the crossroads of
Brooklyn is not in NY State and City's interest, or in the interest of taxpayers.
- The state will be on the hook for the $800 million in tax-exempt
bonds sought by FCR to finance its $950 million arena, by far the
most expensive arena ever proposed or built:
> 2003 Project unveiled — arena cost was $435 million;
> 2006 Project approved by ESDC, PACB — arena cost was $637 million;
> 2008 FCR states arena cost is $950 million; this is sure to rise;
Authorities Control Board (PACB) will have to approve financing and construction
again due to increased arena costs.
(The UDC defaulted in 1975 on more than $100 in “bond anticipation notes.”
The PACB was formed to protect the state from such default. Now, the Atlantic
Yards Arena cost has drastically increased—FCR is seeking more in debt then
the entire cost of the arena when approved.)
- A $950 million arena represents a substantial opportunity cost
during a housing and fiscal crisis.
IBO Fiscal Brief on the Arena , updated with added subsidies, shows
the arena would be a net loss.
- Proposed new IRS regulations would prohibit tax-exempt bond financing
FCR anticipates for arena.
(Congress is holding
a hearing on this issue on September 18th.)
- FCR has not closed its deal with the MTA for the Vanderbilt
Yards, 8 acres of the 22-acre project site.
- Entire 22-acre site would be under control by FCR and dependent
on its fiscal health, ability to find an anchor commercial tenant,
and ability to secure financing.
- No independent study of the project's financial impact has been
undertaken, and there has been no independent fiscal (cost/benefit)
analysis of the project.
- There is no evidence that FCR can secure all necessary financing
to build the arena or most of the housing.
- The ESDC has allowed FCR 12 years to build just Phase 1
(the arena and 3 or 4 towers), and has set no timeline whatsoever
for the building of Phase 2, which contains 11 or 12 towers and the
large majority of the proposed affordable housing units. (There is no apparent
penalty if Phase 2 is not built.)
- An arena, surrounded by parking lots for decades. (See:
- Continued community opposition and litigation of violations
of the law, and resistance to eminent domain property seizures.
Ratner's land speculation is too costly and too risky.
It is time to start over. It is time to go with the superior and economically
feasible community developed plan for the Vanderbilt Rail Yards—The