Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is scheduled to head to China to sell a stack of green cards in order to encourage investment in the Atlantic Yards project. After years of controversy and forcible evacuations of many Brooklyn residents through eminent domain, Bruce Ratner warned recently that the project may never happen.
“We’re all in trouble,” he told the press at a recent press conference unveiling the most recently downsized version of the Atlantic Yards. “If there’s no market for the kind of middle-income housing with the amenities and the numbers that we’re doing, then New York City is in trouble,” he told the Brooklyn Paper.
In the new plan almost all of the 6,430 residential units in the original 22-acre plan were put on hold. And 15 of the proposed 16 skyscrapers were scrapped in the new plan, including an office building near the arena. The building was replaced by an odd triangular grassy public patch.
The new design was referred to by NY Post columnist Steve Cuozzo as a “monstrosity,” an “abomination,” and “a design only a mugger could love.” Forest City officials seemed to agree and announced that groups of more than three might not be allowed to congregate in the public meeting area in front of the stadium.
The largest public project in the history of Brooklyn appears to be derailing as public criticism mounts. At a recent hearing about the proposed MTA fare hikes, Assemblywoman Joan Millman testified that she was “shocked that the MTA sold the Atlantic Yards property for less than half its own appraised value”, providing Ratner with a sweetheart deal. “Who runs a business this poorly?” Millman added (her testimony was published in its entirety in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle).
Things got even worse for the politicians supporting the project when the Independent Budget Office revealed in a fiscal brief that the project would actually cost New York City taxpayers $220 million in revenue through the year 2039, instead of providing the billions promised to voters. Politicians criticized the report, stating that the budget office didn’t correctly identify the benefits from the 16 skyscrapers being completed within 10 years. Ratner has since put the fate of buildings in permanent limbo. In addition, the report outlined how Forest City would receive more than $726 million in guaranteed federal, state and city subsidies on top of the loss in revenue to both the city and state for the next generation and a half.
With next to nothing left to give after sacrificing their character, integrity, legacy and treasury to the Atlantic Yards project, several politicians have opted to go to China and sell the only thing left they have to give: American citizenship.
Independent Budget Office
Steve Cuozzo, Monstrosity of a Design only a Mugger Could Love, NY Post
Rich Calder, Markowitz planning China trip to trade green cards for Atlantic Yards funding, NY Post
Gersh Kuntzman, Arena going up – but will the rest of the project?, The Brooklyn Paper
Andy Campbell, Size does matter! Barclays Center plaza off limits to groups bigger than three, The Brooklyn Paper
Millman Slams Fare Hike, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
NYCRC, NYCRC — New York City Regional Center — EB5 Visa Program — www.nycrc.com, YouTube
KunPeng International Green Card Offering