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The Extell Plan
(download proposal submitted to MTA - pdf)
The "Atlantic Yards" proposal was announced in December 2003. In March 2004 Councilwoman Letitia James and the Atlantic Yards Development Workshop (AYDWS), led by urban designer and architect Marshall Brown, convened a community charette bringing together stakeholders, laypeople, and professionals to envision community-based planning for development over the rail yards (officially known as Vanderbilt Yards) which form a border between Prospect Heights and Fort Greene.

The UNITY Community Development Plan grew out of this charette and a fifteen month Period spent refining the plan and presenting to stakeholders all around the communities that surround the rail yards–Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Boerum Hill, and Park Slope.

In February 2005 a loose coalition of community-based organizations began meeting to prepare for the environmental review of the Ratner proposal. Using the principles behind the UNITY Plan, the groups developed and forumulated a document called Principles For Responsible Community Development On The Vanderbilt Rail Yards which has since been endorsed by 23 community based organizations, as well as Congressman Major Owens, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, and Councilwoman Letitia James, all of whom represent the districts where the rail yards are located.

In May 2005, after much public pressure, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) for the sale or lease of all or some of the 8.4 acre Vanderbilt Yard (Vanderbilt Yard is the MTA's official name for the rail yards.) The MTA barely advertised the RFP (2 placements only). So, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn mailed the RFP, along with a cover letter and the Principles For Responsible Community Development On The Vanderbilt Rail Yards to one hundred developers. The few who responded were deterred by the political situation swirling around Ratner's project. But one firm, Extell Development Company, agreed to meet with some DDDB members.

After showing the UNITY Plan and The Principles to Extell, the development firm decided to submit a proposal to the MTA, with thirty days left in the ludicrously short 42-day time period the MTA had set for proposal submission. The plan submitted to the MTA by the Extell Development Company is guided by the principles underlying the UNITY Plan. (See: Yard Fight, by Peter Slatin. July 8, 2005 in The Slatin Report.)

Extell bid $150 million for the rail yards, versus Ratner’s low-ball bid of $50 million. Despite the MTA’s own appraisal of $214.5 million, the clearly fixed and deficient bidding process led to a decision by the MTA board to negotiate exclusively with Ratner–whom they had been working with and negotiating with for over two years–over an extended 45 day period.

When that period ended, to nobody’s surprise, Ratner upped his offer to $100 million and, still well below the Extell bid and well below the appraisal, the MTA approved the sale of the yards to Ratner. But that sale will not close unless “Atlantic Yards” is approved. MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow, when challenged by the only dissenting board member Mitchell Pally, said, “I’m not going to be beholden by that appraisal, it’s just some guy’s idea of what those yards are worth.”

The Extell Plan is a viable, financially-backed plan proving that Forest City Ratner's porposal is not the only option that taxpayers have..
3:1 For every dollar that Ratner has offered the struggling MTA, Extell has offered three.

The MTA's own appraisal for the Yards is $214.5 million.
Total Purchases Prices for Vanderbilt Yards (aka Atlantic Yards)
Cash Amount:   $150 million $50 million
FCRC claims the following line items as part of their purchase price, when in fact, they are costs that any developer would have to bear to build on the site.  Extell budgets these items as part of their construction costs.
Estimated Payment to MTA for Net Operating Increases over 50 years (PV)   $25.4 million
Construction of New Vanderbilt Yard   $182 million
Environmental Remediation & Clean-up   $20 million
Construction of Mass Transit Improvements   $29 million
The Estimated Revenues to the MTA from Sales Tax are purely speculative and is not part of the "purchase" of the yards.
Estimated Revenues to MTA from Atlantic Yards Sales Taxes (PV)   $23 million

Total Purchase Price Offered:

$150 million
($56/sq. ft)
$329.4 million
$50 million
($15.15/sq. ft)

The MTA has appraised the cost of relocating the Yards (building a new yard), and building a platform between $56 and $72 million.

Extell has estimated the yard relocation and platform cost to be $150 million or less, and has said that they need further discussion with the MTA to understand what their needs are for the new yard. (But the MTA needs to allow TIME for such discussions to take place!)

FCRC has estimated the relocation and platform cost to be $345 million. That is five to six times as much as the MTA cost estimate, and it seems clear that FCRC has done this to artificially inflate their purchase price with those figures.

For infrastructure costs Extell anticipates direct subsidies of $150 million, while FCRC anticipates direct subsidies of $200 million. However, in addition to the $200 million, FCRC also expects an unspecified amount contributed by the City and State towards their "extraordinary infrastructure costs", as described in 8ii) of the MoU between the ESDC, City and FCRC. The total "extraordinary infrastructure costs" are shown to be $163,000,000 on page 2.3 of the FCRC bid. These costs include the platform amongst other items.

For more information on FCRC's direct and indirect subsidies, which total at least $1.9 billion, click here .
The Extell plan:
  • Would go through ULURP (the City's democratic planning process).
  • Would not use eminent domain.
  • Would be built only over the Vanderbilt Rail Yards.
  • Proposes to construct a school.
  • Proposes eleven buildings ranging from 6 stories (the school) to 30 stories, which is the height of the tallest building (except for the Williamsburgh Bank Building) in the area.
  • Doesn't propose super blocks or demapping streets.
  • Would be much less of an expense for the public.
  • Like Ratner, proposes 30% affordable housing.
  • Commits to negotiating a real Community Benefits Agreement.
  • Would use union labor.
The NYC 07 08 05
Peter Slatin, The Slatin Report

Click photos to enlarge.

News Coverage:

DDDb Press Release: Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn To Request Finder's Fee From MTA

Nets double up

MTA to transit riders: It's deja screw all over again!

DDDb Press Release: The MTA Accepts Low-Ball Bid From Bruce Ratner

Ratner wins rights to Brooklyn rail yards

DDDb Press Release: 32 Organizations Demand MTA Release Ratner Profit Projections

Ratner doubles cash offer to less than Extell bid

DDDb Press Release: MTA Set to Accept Low-Ball Bid From Bruce Ratner

Offer Is Doubled by Developer to Build Arena in Brooklyn

DDDb Press Release: Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn Attorney, Jeffrey Baker Reprimands the MTA on Atlantic Yards

New York Skyline in the Balance As Real Estate Titans Square Off

Down to the Wire for MTA Decision on Atlantic Yards?

MTA Tells Ratner: Come Up with More Money, or Else


MTA Board Leans Towards Ratner

MTA picks preferred developer over interests of public, again

MTA Asks Ratner To Sweeten Bid For Atlantic Rail Yard

DDDb Press Release: The MTA Chooses Exclusive Negotiations with Low-ball Bidder Ratner

MTA to negotiate exclusively with Ratner

MTA to take additional 45 days to negotiate exclusively with Ratner

MTA board to vote to agree to not decide?

DDDb Press Release: The Developer Has No Clothes

DDDb Press Release: Develop Donít Destroy Brooklyn Attorney Warns MTA Ratnerís Bid is Contingent on Eminent Domain

Sharpton Backs Ratnerís Plan for Altantic Yards

Development Rival Offers Compromise on Nets Arena

Pass up Yards sale, boro pols urge MTA

Nets score key votes in railyards bid battle


DDDb Press Release: Extell Bids $150 Million vs. Ratnerís $50 Million for the MTAís Rail Yards in Brooklyn

ATLANTIC YARDS: Supporters of Project Vow To Fight If MTA Decides To Reject Ratner Bid

Brooklyn land bids: The winner is...?

Railyard plans are detailed

Rival Bid Tops Ratner's Offer to Develop Brooklyn Site

Barnett 3, Ratner 1

MTA unveils Brooklyn railyard site bid details

Competing Bids For Atlantic Rail Yards The talk Of Brooklyn

The Atlantic Yards' 'Extellent' Adventure

DDDb Press Release: We Demand MTA Accountability and Transparency

Blogosphere: Reponse to July Surprise

Rail Yard Redux

Ratner, Extell Bids Reveal Radically Different Visions for Brooklyn, NY

Second Development Plan for Atlantic Yards

Another Brooklyn contender

Brooklyn Prez Prefer's Ratner's Rail Yard Plan

TODAY, The Brian Lehrer Show: Another Vision for the Atlantic Yards

DDDb Press Release: Ratner, Extell Bids Reveal Radically Different Visions for Brooklyn

Surprise competing bid for the MTA railyards

Gehry: Bumped Out Again?