Happy anniversary

The Brooklyn Paper
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It seems like only yesterday, but it was four years ago this week that the borough’s top pols, celebrities and dignitaries (“Is that Frank Gehry or Marty Markowitz’s father over there?) gathered at Borough Hall to watch Bruce Ratner unveil the Atlantic Yards project.

Back then — it was Dec. 10, 2003, to be precise — Ratner made a number of claims that convinced many in the borough that Atlantic Yards would be a “win-win,” as early cheerleader Markowitz called it. But the four-year anniversary gives us a chance to consider the question once again. Thank goodness we saved the press kit!

2003 Claim2007 Reality
The project will make “Downtown Brooklyn a must-see destination,” press materials stated.Possibly, but the project is not in Downtown Brooklyn, but in low-rise Prospect Heights.
4,500 units of housing5,325–6,430 (including 2,250 “affordable” rentals)
A 52,000-square-foot “lushly landscaped … rooftop public park” atop the arena.No longer part of the plan.
Project will “respect the scale of the existing neighborhoods surrounding the site.”Opponents claim that 500-foot buildings do not fit in next to three-story brownstones.
Cost is “estimated at more than $2.5-billion.”Cost now is $4-billion.
“The arena will be primarily privately funded.”The arena is being built with public money, which planners say will be repaid through sales taxes on tickets and food sold at the arena. Plus, the project gets hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies and tax abatements.
Mayor Bloomberg said no public money would be spent.City has allocated $205 million in direct spending already.
Will create “15,000 construction jobs.”The claim is misleading. Ratner is only promising 1,500 jobs per year over the 10-year buildout.
Arena “completion set for the summer of 2006.”Ratner spokesman Barry Baum told the New York Times this week that the “goal is to be in the arena during the calendar year 2010.”
Will generate $6 billion in tax revenues over 30 years.Will generate $944 million in tax revenues over 30 years, according to state officials.
“The ‘Brooklyn Nets’ will give Brooklyn the pride of watching a hometown sports team once again.”Impossible to verify right now, given the lackluster quality of the Nets’ play.
Gersh Kuntzman is the Editor of The Brooklyn Paper. E-mail Gersh at
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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