Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

GL Analysis: It’s Time to Completely Rethink Atlantic Yards

January 14th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Symbolically, the final shoe dropped yesterday. One of the people chiefly responsible for Atlantic Yards, Borough President Marty Markowitz told the New York Times that in the paper’s words he was “calling on the developer and state officials to review the design with an eye toward paring costs so that the long delayed project is more financially viable.” We are not getting into another long Atlantic Yards diatribe. There have been many problems with the Atlantic Yards approval process including that it has been one of the most anti-democratic and divisive exercises in the last half century in urban America. It has been a textbook case in how not to plan a major urban project.

Yesterday, Mr. Markowitz–for whom we have little respect for reasons that have to do with a frightening disassociation between his jolly public persona and his volcanic and mean-spirited private nature–said that Bruce Ratner should come up with a “sports and entertainment venue that is more economically feasible but provides the modern amenities our residents and visitors to Brooklyn demand and deserve.” He also said that, again in the words of the Times, “the developer could incorporate some design and construction changes that would lower the bottom line, while celebrating Brooklyn architecture.” Given that his ideal would seem to be Metrotech and Ikea, this is a frightening statement in and of itself.

We highly doubt whether Atlantic Yards will ever be built, although we think there’s slightly less than a 50-50 chance that a cheap, ugly arena might end up plopped at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. We strongly believe that a lot more than value engineering is needed and a lot more than a cursory examination is called for. We doubt Gov. Paterson has the political courage or ethics to step in and put a halt to this process, but what is needed is nothing short of an entire freeze on the process and a thorough re-examination of the project. We’d even go so far as to say that the proposal as it currently stands is so radically different than what was shoved down the public’s throat that it should be scrapped and the entire project should begin from scratch. Perhaps with another developer. If the price tag is a decade of emptiness, so be it. The tragedy is that the state allowed blocks of Prospect Heights to be leveled that will now become blights on a decent community. Maybe by the time everyone comes up with a new and workable plan that is achieved through a genuine and open public process (what a unique concept), there might even be a financial market healthy enough to get it done.

Tags: Atlantic Yards

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Anonymous // Jan 14, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Hey Marty

    How about having that hack developer pay for this project himself instead of the taxpayers. He was so for this project and now the 180. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again……. he is nothing more than a media whore.