A Hole Grows in Brooklyn

Some excerpts from an article in Fridays WSJ.  Essentially taking the example of the Atlantic Yards Development as a warning to the dangers of governments subsidized large redevelopment.

I post this here for two reasons.  One – Newark is tied to this redevelopment in that the Nets could end up in Newark should this project fail – Corey Booker is quoted on the topic.  Two – Newark has several large redevelopment plans that have support from the city and the state where it really should look to the enabling existing property owners and developers active in the community for redevelopment as  opposed to large scale projects requiring complex funding, condemnation and eminent domain abuse.

See Article Here Subscription required

“In December 2003, Mayor Michael Bloomberg thought he had a slam dunk. He along with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and developer Bruce Ratner struck a deal for a $4.3 billion development project that was to remake downtown Brooklyn by building expansive residential and retail space, and a gleaming new $950 million arena that would bring the New Jersey Nets to the borough.

Now, more than five years later, what’s been brought to Brooklyn is a very large hole in the ground and a project that is coming to symbolize why large government projects can be riskier than allowing local residents to fix up their own communities. What we see in Brooklyn is the beginnings of the failure of a massive government plan to revive the economy of a neighborhood”

“The ill-fated project in Brooklyn reflects a breakdown of the state and city’s strategy of favoring big-government, centrally supported, highly subsidized projects over the kind of small, privately funded, unsubsidized, incremental development that was already occurring in Prospect Heights, as the area is officially known.

It seems that smaller scale redevelopment wasn’t happening fast enough for government officials, eager to jump-start Brooklyn’s economy. They leapt to support the developer’s contention that the neighborhood was blighted, and that its property owners were therefore vulnerable to the state’s exercise of eminent domain.

Now officials have a mess on their hands. The development got just far enough to do considerable damage to the neighborhood without progressing far enough to do any good. Atlantic Yards has razed 26 buildings, with government help, creating the blight its developer had argued was there all along. Now there are gashes where late-19th century and early-20th century buildings once stood.”

And Here’s Mayor Booker…

“Meanwhile, Forest City Ratner is losing $20 million a year on the Nets after having bought the team in anticipation of moving it. Adding insult to all of this injury, Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker has been publicly wooing the Nets by saying Newark has a stadium ready to go. Indeed, the Nets will be playing two exhibition games in it this year.”

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