Thursday, January 7, 2010

An Updated Map of Forest City Ratner’s 50+ Acre Prime Brooklyn Real Estate Mega-Monopoly

(Above: Our updated Ratner mega-monopoly map.)

We realized the other day we needed to update the map we generated showing the 50+ acre mega-monopoly that government officials are giving Forest City Ratner (via eminent domain abuse) of the most densely “zoned”* and accessible commercial properties sitting astride most of Brooklyn’s “public” subway lines. (See: Saturday, November 21, 2009, Mapping Out Forest City Ratner’s Monopolistic Strategy of Subsidy Collection and also Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Noticing New York Testimony at Senator Perkins’ Hearing on New York State Patterns of Eminent Domain Abuse)

(* “Zoning” has actually been superseded by an override permitting extra density.)

We realized our map needed to be updated because reading some vintage Atlantic Yards Report articles it struck us that if we didn’t include the three new towers Forest City Ratner plans to build atop the Atlantic Center mall we would have persisted in the mistake of helping Forest City Ratner hide “in plain sight” these three additional towers (and the full scope of FCR’s plans for the Atlantic Yards.) (See: Monday, May 15, 2006, Hidden in plain sight: new towers over the Atlantic Center mall.)

(Above: From Atlantic Yards Report coverage, which contains other original renderings provided by the developer, a clear identification of the three new towers Ratner is putting atop the Atlantic Center mall.)

People have gotten into the habit of speaking of Ratner’s proposed Atlantic Yards megadevelopment as if it is a sports arena plus 16 enormous towers. It’s understandable that people don’t fully appreciate that it's really even bigger than that because the project was deceptively disclosed to the public; among other things its description was divided up into a memorandum of understanding that the public was originally told about and another “secret” MOU discovered later, revealing that there was still more to the megadevelopment. It is quite confusing to parse out. Suffice it to say that the plans are for 19 new towers to be owned by Forest City Ratner, not 16, bringing the total on the entire set of adjacent blocks to 20 Ratner-owned towers (there is an already existing tower over the Atlantic Terminal mall previously shown by Google on our map), plus the arena, plus the two shopping centers. Then there is all the other property Ratner is collecting atop the Brooklyn subway lines, like the 17+ acre (and growing?) MetroTech. (Our map has also been updated to depict the tower of Ratner’s 80 DeKalb.)

The three towers typically forgotten about will constitute 1.25 million square feet of residential and commercial development over the Atlantic Center mall. For comparative reference, Ratner got ACORN to sign on to support and withhold criticism of a project that was 7.799 million square zoning feet, so this increases the megadevelopment at least 16% over what even ACORN “signed on” for. Of course this is not to say ACORN was itself swindled by the way these three other towers were put on the side: we’ve long maintained that ACORN was just in it for themselves and never negotiated anything for the community’s benefit. But for the record, this makes the percentage of affordable housing theoretically "negotiated" by ACORN even smaller. (See: Thursday, July 24, 2008, Falling Acorn! How Far from the Tree? and Saturday, June 28, 2008, Selling out the Community for Beans (A Giant Wrong).)

Resource Links:

Here are some handy resources if you are researching the plans for the three additional towers or the “secret” MOU involved in tying the megadevelopment plans together (the third link is especially helpful in trying to parse things through acurately):

Monday, May 15, 2006
Hidden in plain sight: new towers over the Atlantic Center mall

Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Why the Atlantic Center mall is blighted (and it's not the design), as per ESDC

Thursday, May 04, 2006
Building bigger at Site 5: a correction and clarification

DDDB Reveals Secret Agreement Among Bruce Ratner, New York City and State.
Besides Private Memorandum of Understanding, What Else is Bruce Ratner Hiding?
“So, instead of about 1.6 million square feet of development over the the Atlantic Center Mall–separate and apart from the square footage of the "Atlantic Yards" proposal–there will be approximately 1.25 million square feet of residential and commercial development over the Mall, sometime before 2010 according to FCR. The 328,272 square feet added to Site 5 increases the size of the structure over that parcel to 636,000 square feet of development.”
DOUBLE DEALING While heralding Atlantic Yards, city & state officials quietly agree to let Ratner build atop adjacent sites
By Jess Wisloski
The Brooklyn Paper

Private Memo Guarantees Ratner Space
By DANIEL HEMEL, Special to the Sun, August 18, 2005

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