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Did the Community Get Too Much out of the Atlantic Yards Deal?

In a recent filing, Forest City Ratner reported that it will lose $250-$350 million of its initial investment in the Atlantic Yards project. Higher-than-expected costs to build affordable housing, among other things, are being blamed for the loss.
December 13, 2013, 5am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The massive Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn was one of the most contentious land use deals assembled in New York in recent memory. A complex series of public incentives and developer agreements were necessary to achieve the project's final approval in 2009.

But Stephen J. Smith makes the provocative argument that the developer's recent disclosure of significant loses, which comes as a result of its efforts to sell a sizable stake in the project to Chinese developer Greenland Group, proves that the public's demands were excessive.

"The loss is poetic justice for a developer who many saw as using his political savvy to take advantage of New York, but it should give pause to affordable housing advocates and those who want to see new construction fund infrastructure projects," writes Smith.

"Turns out it’s possible to ask developers for too much. New York may have inadvertently pulled one over on Ratner to get hundreds of millions in extra benefits, but developers in the future won’t make the same mistake."

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Published on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 in Next City
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