It’s been an odd week in the history of Atlantic Yards project. Last Friday, the Mayor said that $300 million worth of tax breaks that Forest City Ratner wrangled out of state legislators are going to “a developer who doesn’t need them.” A couple of days later, Assembly Member James Brennan unveiled internal documents that show, according to his analysis, that the 22-acre apartment-and-arena complex is “financially risky” with a “meager annual profit of 3-6%” for the rental units, “enormous” construction costs and unrealistically high rents.
So, is Atlantic Yards a boondoggle or a house of cards? It could, perhaps, be both, but it is notable that we have arrived at the point in history when the Mayor, who is responsible for awarding much of the $1 billion-$2 billion in subsidies to the project, wants to turn off the spigot, while a Brooklyn politician who thinks the project is too big is warning that it might fail.
By Matthew Schuerman, The New York Observer