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January 29, 2007

Nets' city subsidy doubled?

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg released his capital budget on Thursday, and Atlantic Yards Report proprietor Norman Oder noticed something odd about it: The sum allocated for developer Bruce Ratner's Nets-arena-and-condo-towers-and-office-tower plan has more than doubled, from $100 million to $205 million. Oder noted that it's possible this somehow includes the $100 million in state funds that were also promised to the project - or that the extra $105 million is part of the mysterious "additional contributions for extraordinary infrastructure costs" that were noted in the city's original memorandum of understanding with Ratner.

Project opponent Dan Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy lost no time jumping on the news, issuing a statement saying that since Atlantic Yards already received final governmental approval last month, the increased city spending amounts to "a bait and switch at taxpayer expense."

As of this morning, the mayor's office still hadn't responded to questions about the inflated city capital costs. Watch this space for further updates.

UPDATE: As I just reported over at the Village Voice's Power Plays blog, the extra $105 million really is an extra $105 million, for additional infrastructure costs related to (but not on the site of) the Ratner project. Elsewhere in the mayor's capital budget, meanwhile, there are indications that the city has budgeted an additional $123 million for the Mets and Yankees stadium projects, though it claims it doesn't plan to actually, you know, spend any of it or anything. Further updates to follow, I'm sure.

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