Home Asides A groundbreaking at Atlantic Yards

A groundbreaking at Atlantic Yards

by Benjamin Kabak

Earlier this afternoon, Bruce Ratner and a bunch of New York politicos celebrated the groundbreaking of the Barclays Center at the Atlantic Yards. The ceremony was filled with all of the pomp and circumstance one would expect from an oft-delayed groundbreaking, but I can’t help thinking about how the MTA has voluntarily allowed itself to get screwed over by Ratner at a time when it most needs the money.

Less than nine months ago, the Board agreed to sweeten their sweetheart deal for the land rights above the Vanderbilt Yards. Instead of a $100 million payment, the agency agreed to accept $20 million now and $80 million deferred over the next 22 years. Without reappraising the land and without considering other offers, the cash-strapped agency simply forewent money it badly needs.

Over the last few months, a few who pay more attention to the Atlantic Yards happenings than I do have written about this decision. Norman Oder at Atlantic Yards Report tackled it in December, and Noticing New York wrote an extensive post on the topic as well. Today, the Daily Intel calls everyone involved with the deal losers, and the MTA’s fiscal woes march ever onward.

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Russell Warshay March 11, 2010 - 3:57 pm

“I can’t help thinking about how the MTA has voluntarily allowed itself to get screwed over by Ratner at a time when it most needs the money.”

As I see it, the MTA allowed itself to get screwed over before it really needed the money by not having an open bidding process. The deferred payments is just icing on the heavily discounted cake.

Nesta March 11, 2010 - 4:46 pm

Real estate deals like this done by the MTA all to often is another of the many reasons they will never EARN the trust of the public.

Subutay Musluoglu March 11, 2010 - 6:15 pm

Ratner was also let off the hook to upgrade the existing LIRR facilities which will be relocated/reconfigured to make way for the arena. You know who will have to pay now – the rest of us.

bob March 11, 2010 - 6:16 pm

Was it really the MTA, or the politicians telling the MTA what to do?

rhywun March 11, 2010 - 10:32 pm

the MTA has voluntarily allowed itself to get screwed over by Ratner

Well, sure, he screwed over the entire city and the MTA is part of that, so…. We have traded a few hundred million poured into Ratner’s pockets for a few thousand temporary construction jobs and a further weakening of what used to be known as “property rights”.

Scott E March 12, 2010 - 8:11 am

I’m still holding on to a shred of hope that the Nets will stay in New Jersey, and the Barclays Center doesn’t get built. Hey, they first “broke ground” on the Second Avenue Subway in 1972, and look where it is today. It’s possible.

rhywun March 14, 2010 - 12:27 am

Nah, it’s over. Despite our tax dollars being generously funneled into Ratner’s pocket, there’s still some semblance of “private” enterprise in the mix. Said enterprise will generate higher taxes than the lesser functions which were present on the site before–which is the whole point of this thing. The unholy alliance between politicians and labor which runs this city has won again.


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