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BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page


For Immediate Release: June 24, 2006

Phantom Project Pork
State Finalizes $100 Million Appropriation for Highly Speculative Ratner "Atlantic Yards" Proposal


BROOKLYN, NY—The New York Post reported today that the Governor, Assembly and Senate have finalized an agreement to appropriate $100 million for Forest City Ratner's proposed "Atlantic Yards" development in Prospect Heights and Park Slope, Brooklyn. The 8.7 million square foot development proposal­including 16 skyscrapers and a 20,000 arena in a low-rise residential community­is the largest single-source development proposed in the history of New York City.

The city has already approved $100 million for the proposal but the $200 million city and state total is just the tip of the iceberg. The developer claims the project would cost the public $1.1 billion while a study done by project opponents, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), shows that the total public cost could reach $2 billion or more.

The appropriation has come before the public and elected officials even know what exactly the project is, what its total public cost would be, what its return would be, what the environmental impact would be and if those impacts could be mitigated. The appropriation also comes without any public disclosure by Forest City Ratner of its profit-loss statement, and before the state mandated environmental review has even begun.

"Appropriating these taxpayer funds to Forest City Ratner at this point is beyond premature, it’s an irresponsible use of public money. It’s pork for a phantom project built on a foundation of extreme speculation and non-information," said DDDB spokesman Daniel Goldstein. "The Governor claims the project would bring jobs and ‘affordable housing,’ yet for close to $2 billion in taxpayer investment the proposed project would bring, at most, 700 new jobs most of which would not go to those in Brooklyn who most desperately need them. As for ‘affordable housing,’ this is a luxury housing project with only 12% of the proposed units going to those who make Brooklyn’s median income or less. If you make minimum wage, you will not be eligible for any of the housing. This is a terribly cost ineffective project."

In related news Senate Speaker Joseph Bruno has been responding to letters from "Atlantic Yards" opponents with a form letter that pays lip service to genuine government oversight of the proposal and creates the impression that the project is "done deal." (see: www.dddb.net/documents/BRUNO060620.gif)

Goldstein said, "Mr. Bruno’s response to constituents in Brooklyn is ‘thank you for your letter, but this project is coming whether you like it or not­it’s a done deal.’ Well it’s becoming more and more clear that the Forest City Ratner proposal is a dead deal suffering a terminal illness."

The governor also said that this project will "…help transform Brooklyn and bring the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn."

"He’s sure right, the proposed project would transform Brooklyn into a skyscraper city, with extreme density, a traffic nightmare, primary and secondary residential displacement and asthma worsening pollution, creating an insult to the Brooklyn that its inhabitants hold so dear. As for the Nets coming to Brooklyn he may be right, but wrong as for the location of their home; it’s likely to be in Coney Island, as the developer cannot get the land he needs to build an arena in Prospect Heights," concluded Goldstein.