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MTA full board rubber-stamps Ratner bailout

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As expected, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved a massive public bailout of the struggling Atlantic Yards project today, changing the project’s financing to save developer Bruce Ratner hundreds of millions of dollars.

The full MTA board, following a presentation on Monday, met this morning and overwhelmingly rubber-stamped a deal to allow Ratner, who had originally promised $100 million for rights to build over the Vanderbilt railyards in Prospect Heights, to pay just $20 million up front for the prime eight-acres.

The remaining $80 million would be paid out, at 6-1/2 percent interest, over the next 22 years.

Ratner secured the railyard development rights in 2006 for less than its MTA-appraised value because he also promised $345 million in infrastructure improvements to the MTA facility.

Under the new deal, though, Ratner would make just $147 million in railyard improvements.

The MTA board vote was 10-2, and it came moments after the main Atlantic Yards opposition group, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, tried to upstage the meeting by offering $120 million for the development rights over the Vanderbilt Yard.

The group’s spokesman, Daniel Goldstein, made the offer during the public comment period. The offer was not accepted. In fact, it was not discussed at all by the board members.

On Monday, MTA Chief Financial Officer Gary Dellaverson admitted that the deal was “not quite as good as we had hoped,” but necessary to jumpstart the stalled project. Dellaverson did not comment at today’s vote.

“Obviously, from every vantage point, it would be better to have $100 million at closing,” Dellaverson said earlier this week. “[But] if they don’t [break ground by the end of the year], everything unravels.”

The full board also approved a naming-rights deal with Ratner, who will pay $200,000 per year over the next 20 years to have the Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street subway stations co-named “Barclays Center.”

It’s the first licensing deal for a subway station. Neither the Yankees nor the Mets pay to have stations near their new stadiums include the team names.

Many of Ratner’s biggest allies have abandoned the developer in light of the recent changes to the project, which include firing architect Frank Gehry earlier this month, and inking a new deal with the state on Tuesday that lets him take longer to build — or not build — the entire project.

On Wednesday, the New York Post, which has long supported the project, called on the MTA to reject the bailout and hold Ratner to his original promises.

“We backed the Atlantic Yards development, including a new basketball arena for the Nets and 16 new buildings, from the start,” the Post editorial stated. “We still think investment there will benefit Brooklyn. But the MTA needs to watch its wallet. It can’t afford to subsidize private developers, and it shouldn’t try.”

Updated 12:54 pm, June 24, 2009: Updated to include a slam from the pro-Yards New York Post.
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Reasonable discourse

freddy from slope says:
i was at this one.

one of the board members made it a point to state two things:

1 - It ws the best offer available and that there were no other offers on the table.

2 - that although there had been less than 2 days of public review that the negotiations had been deep negotiations of some time.

implications:

#1 - they didnt let anyone know they were accepting new bids. idiots from a fiduciary standoint.

#2 - back room negotiations are the norm at the MTA. idiots from a transparency standpoint.

other asides:

-the board members claim that ratners feet can be held to the fire by the terms of the modified agreement. all of the board members will be dead by then(they are really old)

-and that a 7 track yard is just as good as a 9 track yard. value engineering. that assocates degree must be worth a bachelors degree. its the same(a degree), only cheaper.

cant wait to see the dddb salvo.
June 24, 2009, 1:23 pm
Judah Spechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Freddy they already fired their salvo. $120 over 21 yrs & it was rejected!!!!
1. Where is DDDb getting that $$$$. First Goldstein bought parts of FCR. Now he wants to buy the railyards. Hummm!

Why did you not make this offer back in 2006 or
was this a desperate attempt at extending your 15mins Mr. Goldstein?

Anyway, see you on opening night. Brooklyn Lager on me! Oh wait a minute Daniel, you have $120 mil. Shhht you buy the beer. You hear that Brooklynites, Goldstien is buyng on opening night.
June 24, 2009, 4:44 pm
freddy from slope says:
judah:

your chickens(ratners) havent hatched yet. go back to your coop and keep the eggs warm.

and if you think that the opposition is over...

dont bet the rent on it.

the stench is getting worse. some of the mainstream press is getting a whiff now that the meetings are in manhattan.

couldnt make this up if we tried.
June 24, 2009, 6:21 pm
Judah Spechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Freddy, let's be friend. You, I & the other Brooklynites are the little guys here. Who knew this was a fight amongst rich kids. Ratner v. Goldstein.

DDDB $120 mil for 21yra.

"BREAKING NEWS"
According to the MTA there are no other bidders. Hear that no other bidders for the railyard. NO OTHER BIDDERS>>

Freddy, Freddy, let's be homies!
I love ya man!
June 25, 2009, 12:04 am
Norman Oder says:
Here’s extensive coverage of the MTA meeting/vote, with video:
http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2009/06/mta-approves-deal-10-2-despite-warnings.html
June 25, 2009, 6:40 am

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