Wednesday, September 14, 2005


WNYC assesses Ratner's "mixed record"

A 9/13/05 WNYC radio report, Developer Has Mixed Record in Brooklyn, points out that Forest City Ratner (FCR) did not produce new jobs for Brooklynites at MetroTech and has been forced to find government tenants for vacant retail space at the Atlantic Center mall. On the other hand, analysts say that MetroTech did retain jobs in the city and that the Atlantic Terminal mall is better than its neighbor, the Atlantic Center mall. (Well, the report left out the subsidized office tower at Atlantic Terminal.)

The final paragraph of the radio report, however, summed things up too vaguely regarding the proposed Atlantic Yards project: Forest City has promised to build thousands of units of affordable housing. It says it will give preference to people from surrounding communities for the jobs created by the housing, offices and Basketball arena. And it put those promises in writing.

First, as my report points out, the definition of "affordable housing" means that it mostly helps the middle class. Also, Forest City Ratner may control construction and arena jobs, but it does not control the office jobs--the lion's share of the jobs in the project.

City Council Member Charles Barron cross-examined FCR's Jim Stuckey on this issue at the 5/26/05 City Council hearing:
STUCKEY: Well, we’re not even sure who those companies will be yet, Council member. I can’t tell you who the employees will be.
BARRON: Those jobs won’t be controlled by you?
STUCKEY: Those jobs are controlled by the companies that --
BARRON: That’s right. So, those, they could hire whoever they want basically.
STUCKEY: Typically that’s what happens with businesses in our country.

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