Big Week for Atlantic Yards Sweetheart Deal-Making


The MTA will present a new deal for Atlantic Yards today to its board's finance committee in advance of a possible vote on Wednesday by the authority's board to green-light the revamped plan, according to Daily Intel. The revised plan is poised to be breathtaking in its concessions to Forest City Ratner. Rather than the developer forking over $100 million upfront to the MTA for the right to build on state land, "the MTA appears willing to settle for a drastically reduced price in order to salvage some kind of short-term development at Atlantic Yards: Sources say the new price tag is likely to be either $20 million upfront or $10 million per year for ten years." But wait, there's more! Ratner's pledge to build a new LIRR rail yard may result in a facility with 25 percent less capacity than the existing one. And, as Crain's reports, tomorrow the Empire State Development Corp. board is scheduled to vote on a new timetable for the project that would push the completion date for the mega-project way past the original 2014 target year. (No big surprise there.) AY Report posits that the negotiations are rooted in Forest City's need to start building this year or risk losing out on tax-exempt bonds for the arena, as well as to stop losing money on the Nets. Seven elected officials who have long been opposed to the project—including Councilwoman Letitia James and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery—shot off a letter last week urging the MTA to disclose changes to its deal with FCR to the public before voting on them: "We respectfully suggest that a hasty decision to modify the obligations of the developer could be detrimental to the needs of the mass transit system and that any decision should only be made after the public and elected officials have had a fair opportunity to present their views."
Ratner Close to Railroading MTA on Atlantic Yards [Daily Intel]
Electeds Want Delay on M.T.A. Atlantic Yards Vote [Observer]
Atlantic Yards Won't Be Derailed [Crain's]
AY: "Out of the Barn" or Driven by FCR's Tightening Timetable? [AY Report]

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