Thursday, February 14, 2013

Atlantic Yards Report Fine Tunes Calculation Of Mounting Land Subsidies For “Barclays” Arena

Bloomberg arriving to give his State of the City Address at the "Barclay" arena
Mayor $25 Billion-and-counting-in-personal-wealth-since-entering-politics Bloomberg is visiting the piled-up pirate plunder of the so-called “Barclays” arena today to deliver his (last?) State of the City Address.  Norman Oder’s Atlantic Yards Report today has new calculations posted about the freebies handed out to Ratner for that Ratner/Prokhorov arena just in terms of land: $124 million?  See: Thursday, February 14, 2013, Uncounted savings on the Barclays Center: perhaps $124 million in free land for developer Forest City Ratner.

Mr. Oder carefully adds updates, just with respect to city land giveaways for the arena, the cost-of-subsidy-to-Ratner calculations Noticing New York has addressed on previous occasions: See: Wednesday, October 10, 2012, Weighing The Change In Brooklyn: The True Cost Of “Barclays” Center Glitter, The Cost Of “Barclays” Center Tickets and Monday, February 8, 2010, Award of No-Bid Mega-Monopoly Means Forest City Ratner Hopes To Claim an Awful Lot of Housing Subsidy, ALSO Without Bid.

The total cost of subsidies to Ratner with respect to just 22 acres out of the 30+ contiguous acres of the Ratner Atlantic Yards mega-monopoly is in the billions ($2 to $3 billion).  No one has yet tried to aggregate the cost of the Ratner subsidies for the entire 30+ contiguous acres, not Noticing New York, not Atlantic Yards Report, not the New York City Independent Budget Office, (IBO).
In other words, if the money flowing into “Barclays” arena for land giveaways were redirected into the city libraries it would make all the Bloomberg-manufactured financial problems of the libraries evaporate.  (Manufactured to create real estate deals.)

It would not be nearly as important to pay attention to the almost obsessively fine-tuned calculations Mr. Oder presents with respect to the arena land giveaways if this heap of “uncounted” subsidies had not been given to Ratner without competitive bid.  More than once, the MTA, the city, and ESDC made it very clear they did not want an effective bid process bringing in alternative bidders to compete with Forest City Ratner. . .

. . . This was important on Day One when the deal was intentionally structured as a “private-public” partnership with Forest City Ratner, where the priority was to set up and then protect a Ratner monopoly on the development opportunity of all those multiple acres and it was subsequently important as the terms of the deal with Ratner have been continually and malleably shifted to confer even greater benefit on Ratner.

Taking such a careful look at the actual amount of these subsidies would hardly matter if Atlantic Yards, like the properly-managed Battery Park City, was carved into multiple building sites and bid out to multiple developers.  That’s just what the community is demanding and it can still be done with the rest of the enormous site.  And if that is done we can start paying for essential city services like libraries.

Instead, it looks like Bloomberg wants the city to sell off city libraries, including the Brooklyn Heights branch and downtown business library, and the Pacific Street library, likely enough to Forest City Ratner, in a “private-public partnership” so that we can be faced with all sorts of other deep, hidden subsidies to the likes of Ratner that are a challenge to ferret out and properly count.

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