Barclays Center/Atlantic Yards
• USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN ON BEHALF OF A PRIVATE DEVELOPER• LARGE-SCALE DEVELOPMENT IN A LOW-RISE, RESIDENTIAL AREA• LACK OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT• OVERRIDING ALL LOCAL ZONING• LACK OF LOCAL POLITICAL SUPPORT• LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN PROCESS• CORPORATE WELFARE AT ITS WORST• NET LOSS TO TAXPAYERS
The Atlantic Yards development, which is a 22-acre site on which only theBarclays Center arena has been built as of Sept. 2012, is a boondoggle ofhistoric proportions. The largest single-source development in NYC history—subsidized to the hilt and dependent on eminent domain and the override of
all local zoning—did not have to face a vote by a single elected ofcial in NYC
or in Albany. Many citizens recognize that there is an established patternacross our country of private developers and pro sports franchise ownersconning governments into somehow paying for arenas and stadiums–andwant to stop this kind of expensive, massive loss from happening ever again.The developer, Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), and its CEO, BruceRatner, used political and personal connections and an army of lobbyists toensure that Empire State Development (ESD), a quasi-public state authority
with little accountability, would be the ofcial developer, providing protectionfrom lawsuits and scorn by presenting the image of a non-prot, government
project. Among other things, these maneuvers allowed FCRC to acquireinhabited private property for its private development in a residential areathrough the state’s use of eminent domain, something that many people feelis unconstitutional.This abuse of eminent domain, compounded by the giveaway of morethan a billion dollars in public subsidies and tax breaks (a net loss to thetaxpayers), is what makes this a boondoggle, underlined by the fact that theoriginal promises by FCRC on the creation of jobs and affordable housingseem to have been empty. Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn feels stronglythat is important for all citizens to know the facts in order to avoid suchboondoggles in the future.
ribbon-cutting ceremony. As or local sup-port o. As or local support o citizens, thereis no evidence o abundant support. DDDBover 7 years raised about $1.8 million or itslegal und rom more than 6,000 individualdonors with a median donation o about$60. Dozens o civic groups signed on ascoalition participants. That is a clear sign o public disenchantment with the project.
The opponents are anti-development
The lead opposing group is called De-velop Don’t Destroy or a reason. It encour-aged competitive bidding or the airspaceover the MTA railyards, fnding architectsand community leaders to create an alter-native plan, called the UNITY Plan, whichormed the basis o Extell DevelopmentCompany’s viable competitive proposal tothe MTA.
The project would have been built long agoi not or the opponents
The plan was never fnancially easible(per a 2004 economic analysis); marketconditions stopped many major develop-ments at the same time. FCRC says it wasalways market-driven, despite the enormoussubsidies. Additionally, i the project hadn’tbeen dependent on eminent domain and acomplete override o all NYC zoning regu-lations, there would have been no meaning-ul opposition.
The Nets are Brooklyn’s team.
Bruce Ratner, cash-starved by the re-cession, sold 80% o the team and 45% o the arena to a Russian billionaire, MikhailProkhorov. Early investors have very smallstakes, including Jay-Z, who now onlyowns .067% o the team.
A lot o people in the ootprint proftedhandsomely rom being bought out.
First o all, most renters received nocompensation. For those owners who gotmore than they paid or their properties,they were FORCED out, either under thethreat o eminent domain or through theprocess itsel; the market had increasedtheir properties’ values anyway. Note thatcity and state taxpayers picked up a largeportion o the tab.
I the New York media is not entirely criti-cal o the Atlantic Yards development, itmust be OK.
. The New York Time’s editorial pag-es have gone easy on Ratner in part be-cause they are development partners inthe Times’s new headquarters. The DailyNews has published huge advertising sec-tions or FCRC and purchased namingrights to the plaza. And none o the threedaily editorial pages have ever met a devel-opment they didn’t like.
All of the sources for these facts are links found on Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’swebsite: DDDB.netFor more information, please visit these other websites:atlanticyardsreport.com nolandgrab.org brooklynspeaks.net aycrimescene.com