IBO: Ratner plan brings less than $1M a year to NY

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A long-awaited analysis by the city’s Independent Budget Office, released this week, finds that the Atlantic Yards arena project would bring $28.5 million in revenue to the city over 30 years.

The findings, released Tuesday, fell well short of estimates of the projected benefits made by both the city Economic Development Corporation (EDC) — $139.21 million over 30 years — and developer Forest City Ratner, whose hired sports economist, Andrew Zimbalist, projected a net revenue of $136 million.

Jim Stuckey, the executive vice president of Forest City Ratner, said in a prepared statement this week that the greater benefit would be the additional 6,000 units of housing, along with commercial and retail space that would be created under the Atlantic Yards plan. He cited Zimbalist’s analysis for the Atlantic Yards to generate $1.6 billion in gross revenue over 30 years.

“We are, of course, very pleased that the Independent Budget Office has concluded that the Atlantic Yards project is a win-win for the city and state from a financial perspective,” said Stuckey, who was credited this week for the first time as the project manager for Atlantic Yards.

Critics of Ratner’s $3.5 billion plan, which includes a $533 million professional basketball arena and 17 residential and office towers to be developed along Atlantic Avenue in Prospect Heights, said the 14-page report fell short of what they’d hoped for.

“Ratner’s projected profits for the city and state are exponentially greater than any independent study has shown,” said Daniel Goldstein, spokesman for the anti-Atlantic Yards neighborhood group Develop-Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, and a condo owner living in the footprint of Ratner’s proposed development site.

“Less than $1 million a year is an unacceptably small return on a huge public investment,” he said.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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