Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards Report does some disturbing math today. Bruce Ratner’s Gehry-tastic Brooklyn colossus, sold to the public as a private project with some government funds thrown in, is, in fact, backed by the government more than it is by any private source. Combining the numbers strewn about in various court documents, Oder comes up with a simple and startling detail: More than half of the projected $4 billion funding for Atlantic Yards comes from public sources. The city is in for $205 million, twice the original figure, and the state for $100 million, and just over $2 billion in tax-free bonds will pay for the arena and the affordable housing. Tax-free bonds, as you might point out, are not direct grants. That’s true. But they’ll allow Ratner to borrow money at very, very low rates. So they’re basically a government-issued discount mortgage. Boy, do we feel like chumps, paying all that interest to CitiMortgage.
Privately Financed? [Atlantic Yards Report]