Sunday, January 03, 2010

AP article says "holdout hopes dim," bypasses legal challenges

An AP story today headlined (on the AP wire) "Holdout hopes dim as NYC arena project moves ahead" describes life in the AY footprint for condo owner Daniel Goldstein and renter David Sheets, both of whom have resisted Atlantic Yards out of principle.

While the conditions described have been ongoing rather than ramped up in the last month, the final approvals, the eminent domain decision, and the bond sale have led both to be thinking more about where they might have to relocate.

Missing the endgame

Yes, AY is in its endgame, but the article--not unlike an October 2008 AP article that overstated the "far bleaker picture" for AY--misses some of the picture.

The new article states:
It has been years since a state authority approved Ratner's plans to replace a rail yard and existing buildings with the arena, 16 new apartment and office towers and thousands of new residents for the development, called Atlantic Yards.
(Emphasis added)

Actually, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) had to revise the plan and rapidly re-approve it in September 2009. And that approval was the subject of a lawsuit that has yet to be heard. (Remember, the bonds are in escrow.)

Other legal challenges are likely. (Here's Goldstein's comment on NetsDaily about continuing to fight.)

Looking forward

The article quotes Sheets:
"If, in fighting Atlantic Yards, we've made it any easier for people to fight their own battles, then we've accomplished something," he said.
There's more to that than even the example of the Columbia University expansion cited. Can New York state really get away with allowing "underutilization" to be among the criteria for blight?

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