Thursday, October 27, 2005


Ferrer calls for project to be scaled down, defenders repeat jobs/housing mantra

In an interview with the Daily News, in a 10/27/05 article headlined Freddy fires Net salvo, Democratic mayoral candidate Freddy Ferrer called for the Atlantic Yards project to be reduced significantly, though he didn't offer specifics.

The article stated:
Ferrer told the Editorial Board that he supported the project's affordable housing and other benefits it would bring to the community, but he lambasted the overall "secrecy and lack of transparency" surrounding the development.
He also rebuked what he called "apparent abuses of eminent domain," citing a secret memo that recently emerged about two businesses that could be evicted if a site were not made available by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Secret memo? I'd like to know more.

Ferrer said:
"We're talking about a lot of mass in that project, a lot of mass. And if we don't deal with a lot of the other issues - like traffic, like schools, like police protection, like sanitation and health care - I think we have a problem," Ferrer said.
"We've got to make this human-size now," he concluded. "This can't be the mother of all real estate deals. If it is that, then, I think it's wrong."
Ferrer declined to specify precisely what part of the project he intended to scale back. He said he would only support eminent domain for businesses that were "unperforming."

Unperforming? The standard for eminent domain is supposed to be "public purpose,' though the proponents' interpretation is that the project would yield more revenues. But there are certainly some "performing" businesses within the potential project footprint, such as Simon Liu's art supply company.

Supporters of the Atlantic Yards project fired back at Ferrer:
Stu Loeser, a Bloomberg campaign spokesman, said Ferrer's proposal "means less affordable housing, less jobs, and less economic development for Brooklyn and the city."
...Joe DePlasco, who represents the project's developer, said the development team disagrees with Ferrer and welcomes the opportunity to explain the project to him.
"We have generated so much support and excitement because the project will also generate thousands of jobs and thousands of affordable apartments in an area with a dire need for housing and jobs."

Again, this is an example of lazy reporting. A smaller project may mean fewer jobs and less housing, but Forest City Ratner has already cut the amount of proposed office space by two-thirds--thus already cutting promised jobs, with less than 700 new office jobs to be added to a few hundred arena/hotel jobs and 1,500 (or 1,200) construction jobs a year over ten years. Also, the amount of luxury housing more than doubled after Ratner announced a 50-50 "affordable" housing plan.

So support has been generated because of promises about housing and jobs, but the public has not been informed how the developer hasn't kept those promises.

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