Mark Winston Griffith
An unwelcomed sound comes out of Atlantic Yards
Proving once again that Bruce Ratner's plans in Atlantic Yards are suspect, the New York Times reported last week that the Atlantic Yards project could be delayed by an economic slow down. This is perfectly reasonable, right? Historically, when a recession hits, building construction, among other things is threatened, sometimes scrapped.
But what really raised alarms is Ratner's suggestion that the affordable residential housing - the part of the project that has been promised to the surrounding community as a way to balance the increased congestion, Manhattan-like skyline and re-mapped streets that the project will deliver - may be put on the back burner, while the arena moves forward.
The Times reported, "Given the current environment, some critics worry that Mr. Ratner will negotiate for deeper subsidies, reduce the amount of low- and moderate-income housing included or eventually sell off portions of the site to other developers who could use their own, less expensive designs."
The thought of Ratner reneging on his affordable housing, and even his job creation, guarantees is breathtaking, but, of course, long predicted by critics of Atlantic Yards. Daniel Goldstein, a founder of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, and one of the project's staunchest opponents, wrote, "We cannot have [Ratner] speculating on 22 acres of land, using public resources to do so. If he can't build his project, it needs to be taken away from him. [Atlantic Yards] is not a private resource. Private property he can hold on to and do what he wishes while the market corrects. The public cannot have that same kind of patience."