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Who Is This Guy and Why Is He in China Making Stuff Up About Atlantic Yards Norman Oder looks at the sales job the New York City Regional Center (NYCRC) is doing in China to scare up $249 million in loans (from Chinese lenders seeking green cards) for Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project—specifically building a new rail yard. Lo and behold it is as overhyped and fudged as the sales job Ratner and partners laid on New Yorkers.
"Members shall not engage in any professional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, or deceit or commit any act that reflect adversely on the Member’s professional reputation or integrity." --Best Ethics Practices for EB-5 Regional Centers, Association to Invest in the USA (IIUSA)
During a videotaped forum in China September 12 aimed at millionaires seeking green cards in exchange for an investment into the Atlantic Yards project, a representative of the New York City Regional Center (NYCRC), the private firm delegated to manage such investments, made some astounding claims.
Notably, Gregg D. Hayden on video (excerpts below) claimed that:
"the Barclays Center is... the most significant project in the city and state of New York in the last 20 years"
"it generates well in excess of 10,000 jobs for years to come"
"because we involve government and government investment, we create a very significant 54% surplus in job creation"
All of those claims are very dubious, as is the prominent effort to link the investment sought--$249 million to build the railyard and possibly to pay off a land loan--to the Barclays Center arena and Nets basketball. See for example the NBA banner in the screenshot above.
And Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz wants to let the NYCRC pay his way to China to promote the project.
Evading the central question
Also, when Hayden was faced with a simple but challenging question--why, if Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is involved in the project, is new investment needed?--he evaded the question with a non sequitur.
The candid answer would have been: Forest City Ratner and parent Forest City Enterprises want to lower the cost of capital. …
Hayden, in his opening statement, made two outlandish claims.
Thank you very much for having us, it's delightful to be here, and thank you very much to Kunpeng for putting this together. The New York City Regional Center was approved in 2008 and we have done in China two successful projects to date: The Brooklyn Navy Yard and Steiner Studios. And the Barclays Center is our third project and the most significant project in the city and state of New York in the last 20 years. It is very significant because it generates well in excess of 10,000 jobs for years to come, future job creation, with the support of government, on government-owned property, and the support of one of the largest real estate companies in the United States, Forest City Enterprises.
Why is new money needed?
The moderator passed on a sensible question about the need for new money:
They see that the Russian oligarch is the owner of the team. And that he spent a lot of money and has a lot of money. And so, if he has so much money, why do we need Chinese investment on this project?
Hayden's response evaded the question, dropping the name of some irrelevant celebrities:
Very important. The Barclays Center is a significant project. It creates a redevelopment of the railyards, which is the third largest transportation hub in New York, as well as this arena. And in the arena, the New Jersey Nets, the NBA franchise team, which is owned by the Russian oligarch, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Forest City Enterprises, is the primary tenant. This is their home arena, at which they'll play in excess of 40 games per year.
Note that the railyard at issue is not the transportation hub, but connected to the hub. It's needed for the storage and maintenance of trains.)