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Mayoral Issue Grid: Development

by Gotham Gazette Staff, Sep 21, 2005
 


Mayoral Issue Grid

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DEVELOPMENT
-Nets Arena in Brooklyn?
-New Stadium for Yankees?
-New Stadium for Mets?

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For the last three years, Michael Bloomberg made the city's 2012 Olympic bid and a proposed stadium on the West Side of Manhattan a major part of his administration's agenda. All of the Democratic candidates for mayor opposed the stadium. But when leaders in Albany rejected the stadium and New York did not get the Olympic bid, the plan died.

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But there are others projects that have not generated the same amount of controversy.

In downtown Brooklyn, developer Bruce Ratner has proposed a 21-acre, $3.5 billion project which will include a Frank Gehry designed basketball arena for the Brooklyn Nets. The plan also calls for housing as well as commercial and retail space. The developer recently signed a "community benefits agreement" with neighborhood representatives that promises that 50 percent of the 4,500 rental units will go to low and middle-income residents, with 10 percent of these set aside for seniors. It also sets aside 35 percent of the jobs for minority workers and another 10 percent for women.

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets have also proposed building new stadiums. Although the stadiums will be paid for by the teams, taxpayers will have to pay for various "infrastructure improvements" to make them usable.

At Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, the city will provide $135 million and the state will pay $70 million for parking garages along 164th Street and for some road work.

At the Mets stadium in Queens, the city will contribute a total of $105 million to cover infrastructure and planning for the baseball stadium, and the state will pay $75 million to cover infrastructure improvements.

Fernando Ferrer

In the past, Fernando Ferrer said he supported the Atlantic Yards project that would build an arena for the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, because it also includes affordable housing and a commitment to give jobs to local residents.

"I happen to like 50 percent affordable housing," Ferrer said at a forum in June. "I happen to like the idea of a "community benefits agreement" that if this mayor were serious about in this entire city, with the stroke of a pen we'd bring down unemployment."

In October, Ferrer came out against the Atlantic Yards project. He told the Daily News editorial board that it shouldn't be the "mother of all real estate deals" and that it should be made "human-size." In a debate with Bloomberg, he called it the "the twin brother of the West Side stadium boondoggle," arguing that the percentage of affordable housing units developed has dropped from 50 percent to 30 percent.

Ferrer has not offered a clear opinion on the stadium for the Yankees. (His campaign has not responded to a request for a position.) Although Ferrer has said that the current stadium should be preserved as a historic landmark. "I've never believed they should leave that stadium," Ferrer said. "It's a perfectly fine place to watch a baseball game."

When the proposed Mets stadium was unveiled as part of a revamped Olympic plan, Ferrer said he supported it.

In a recent interview, he said he would support a Queen's stadium of the New York Jets, but not at taxpayer expense.

"I think it's a good idea. I'd commit a lot of my time persuading them to come here, but I wouldn't commit a city dollar," Ferrer told the Times Ledger. "If there are legitimate infrastructural improvements - for example, roadways - those are things that legitimately need improving. But if you want me to pay for part of a stadium, I wouldn't do it even for my beloved Yankees."

Michael Bloomberg

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been an outspoken proponent of the Atlantic Yards project that would build an arena for the Brooklyn Nets basketball team. The plan also calls for housing and new commercial and retail space.

""The $3.5 billion project will create 8,500 permanent new jobs, 4,500 mixed-income apartments, substantial new commercial, retail, open space and host the first major league sports team to play in Brooklyn since the Dodgers," said Bloomberg.

Bloomberg also supports the proposal for a new Yankee stadium in the Bronx and a new Mets stadium in Queens.

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