Saturday, April 26, 2008

All in the timing: "when" but not "if," says FCR (but not on AY.com)

From the FAQ page at the Atlantic Yards web site:

Obviously, ground hasn't been broken. And the plan, at least that passed by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), may have been to phase construction over ten years, but it was hardly realistic. Now it's an impossibility, and the ESDC gives the developer a long leash. So the FAQ needs an update.

Promises of "when," not "if"

From a front-page Wall Street Journal article yesterday headlined Economy, Credit Woes Foil Cities' Big Projects:

One project being watched closely is Atlantic Yards, a $4 billion development that Forest City Ratner Cos. is building on 22 acres in Brooklyn, N.Y. After a number of court battles, the developer plans to finally begin construction on a new arena for the New Jersey Nets basketball team by the end of this year.

However, the schedule for its planned office tower, called Miss Brooklyn, likely be will pushed back until an anchor tenant is signed given the current market conditions, says Loren Riegelhaupt, a Forest City spokesman. He stresses that the entire project eventually will be built. "It's not a question of if, but when."


Well, the plan may be to break ground this year, but how can he be sure? As to whether the entire project will be built, well, there's no guarantee that housing subsidies will be available.

More importantly, the governmental authorities don't require the project to be built as approved; the State Funding Agreement includes a City Purpose Covenant that allows for the amendment of the General Project Plan and contemplates its abandonment for a smaller project. Maybe that's why Frank Gehry is laying off architects, as the Los Angeles Times reports on its blog.

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