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September 05, 2006

Poll: New Yorkers like Nets arena if not told of cost

A Crain's New York poll of 601 New Yorkers found that most supported developer Bruce Ratner's plan for the Atlantic Yards development project, which would include a Brooklyn arena for the New Jersey Nets: 23% says they felt "very favorable" toward the project, 37% "somewhat favorable," 13% "somewhat unfavorable," and 13% "very unfavorable."

Support rose slightly after pollsters listed arguments made by opponents (the city will be forced to spend more on schools and water and sewer services for the project, it's out of scale with the surrounding neighborhood) and proponents (it will provide affordable housing and bring the Nets to Brooklyn) of the plan. But Crain's notably neglected to mention one issue that's proven decisive in prior polls: That the project would require several hundred million dollars in city and state subsidies.

Ratner, meanwhile, appears to be taking steps to win over critics of the plan by offering to scale down some of the tallest buildings - even, according to "executives briefed by the developer" (per the New York Times), if it pisses off Ratner's celebrity architect, Frank Gehry. The Times also reports that in exchange for scaling back the size of the project - though apparently only to the original size he proposed in the first place - Ratner is expected to "seek additional subsidies" for the housing part of his development. This is a tradeoff that state assemblymember Jim Brennan tried and failed to get passed by the state legislature back in May, but maybe the second time's a charm.


Brennan called for a 30% scale down not 6%. Brennan commented on this "scale down" in the Times article you link to:

"I don't think the bottom-line community concern is really about aesthetics, which is what shaving a few stories off the heights of the buildings is about," said James F. Brennan, a Brooklyn assemblyman. "I don't think this flies."

Posted by anonymouse on September 6, 2006 08:56 AM

Right, but it was Brennan who first suggested trading off increased subsidies for a reduced project size. It seemed like a bad precedent to set at the time, and if Ratner's now picking up on the idea, all the worse.

Posted by Neil on September 6, 2006 10:19 AM

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