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.