I emailed my questions about the sale of the Yards to Ratner for $100 million to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
A QUESTION:  The 26-acre West Side Husdon Rail Yards have been appriased at more than $1.1 billion dollars while the 22-acre Atlantic Yards Rail Yards are being sold to Bruce Ratner for a measly $100 million dollars (and there were other higher bidders). Real estate prices in Manhattan are a little higher than Brooklyn – but not this much higher. Can you say corrupt insider deal?
His reponse was:
In your email you neglect the following>>>>>>>>.........

100 million cash for the yards to the MTA
180 million to move the tracks,footings,rails etc(this makes the space useable)
150-170 million to construct a platform, thereby using the space for all of it's intended uses.....when you add all this, it is a huge outlay from the developer..............but we both know, no matter what,you are opposed to this project, period. I respect your position and respectfully disagaree with it.  
Read my follow up:
Marty –
I want you to know that I really appreciate your direct response to my e-mail.  Despite our differences you are still a mensch in my book. Thanks for setting me straight about the real costs for Ratner, but many people including myself would love to see an actual cost breakdown of the project – which has not been made public yet.
However, missing from your figures are the real city and state costs. Isn’t the city and state going to cough up a lot more money for the upgrading of the infrastructure, such as the electrical grid, water and sewers, etc?
What about essential things like schools, daycare centers, and post offices? ( the complex will surely have its own zip code). Have you ever had to send a package at either of the post offices nearby? They are some of the worst I have ever been to.  
And who’s paying for these essentials and where are they going to put them?  Are they going to claim more buildings and homes to build schools and a post office?  Why aren’t they included in this massive project?  Even Rockefeller Center has a Post office and a Zip Code (Battery Park City has a Zip Code as far as I know as well – and there are like 4 post offices within the area). And what about additional police and fire stations? In the end, who will pay for all those necessities?  We will – the taxpayers.
If you could tell me that my city and state taxes will go down, not up, because of the increased revenue and taxes from this project, many people, including myself, would be a bit more positive about this project.
Note: I am not against anyone building housing on the those yards – especially affordable housing. I am against placing an arena (with 225 events a year) in one of the most congested areas in Brooklyn.
If you remember, Ratner said that people would take the trains to his TARGET store and not drive, yet soon afterwards he kicked out all the Fort Greene residents’ long-term parking there for hourly shoppers. That low cost lot was one of the best things to come from that dreadful prison mall (the first one).
And if you look at the map on [this] website (http://www.southoxford.com/pages/parking.html -- based upon FCRC’s own illustration), there is only ONE long-term parking lot left here for Fort Greene residents. I may no longer be able to have a car (which is nearly a necessity in Brooklyn for my family), nor will I be able to park my car in the one lot left (based on supply and demand the prices for the Ashland Street Parking Lot would soon go way up).
If you built more long-term parking garages and or gave Fort Greene Residents Parking Permits (like they have in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco) and had signs posted which say that only cars with parking permits are allowed to park on these streets, that would also be a plus for you.  I would gladly pay annually for that Parking Permit – which would bring additional revenue to the city.
And why are they announcing the size reductions AFTER THE LAST “PUBLIC” HEARING? This whole process has been so skewed in favor of the developer – like the hearing on Primary Day – a day where I am volunteering at the polling location in the evening.
Thanks again for the personal response. I am sure you and Elizabeth are very busy now.
Abby Weissman
The South Oxford Street Block Association
Read Marty's response:
thanks Abby for sharing with me your detailed concerns......many of which are currently being reviewed in great depth and I beg to differ with you on the site of the arena,this is the perfect site because you fail to recognize that it will sit on top of the largest mass transit hub in Brooklyn and the third largest in the entire city.............I will also share your email with appropriate members of my staff and others and appreciate your honesty and most important,your complete dedication to your community and our borough.        
Read my follow up:
Marty – I was wondering, based upon your figures: where does the $226 million that the city and state are giving to Ratner for the infrastructure figure in this deal?  And what about parking permits?
Abby Weissman
Read Marty's response:
Abby..........hopefully this explanation answers your question to me...........marty

To: Markowitz, Marty
Subject: Re: What about the $226 million from the City & State for AY

The actual capital contibution that the city and state will commit to the project is $200 million. These funds are to be used to patially fund over $650 milion in infrastucture costs for the following items: rebuilding the LIRR rail yards; reopening subway tunnels below Atlantic Avenue; replacing sewers; rebuilding a high pressure water main on Atlantic Avenue; retaining walls constructed with the new yard; constuction of the platform over the new yards; and, removal of environmentally contaminated soil (this item is $50 million itself). In addition, a portion of the city funds could be used for land aquisition for the arena. Please let me know if you require more information.
Click to see more images from the DEIS Report including the shadows that will enshroud your home and your future prospects of parking your car!
Read about the promise & failure of Battery Park City and how 20,000 low-income apartments turned in 1,500.
The low-income housing "bait and switch" scam has happened before in NYC.
Read the article from The New York Times
about the city's broken pledge to the poor

Read City Project's The Failure of Battery Park City report. City Project is a non-partisan public policy organization.
What You Can Do Right Now!
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Contrary to what the Ratner people want you to think, the Atlantic Yards Development is NOT a done deal. Otherwise why would the Ratner Company still be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in Public Relations? If it goes through we will paying for this fiasco for the rest of our lives!
FROM THE ONE OF THE MANY INFORMATIVE ARTICLES ON THE DDDB WEBSITE: "The population density envisioned by Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn is between 436,363 and 523,636 inhabitants per square mile (based on estimated population of between 15,000 and 18,000 residents over 22 acres).  That’s more than the densest location in Manhattan - which according to the 2000 Census is a 1,190-unit former Mitchell-Lama building in Harlem that stands surrounded by numerous tenements. This two-block area has a population density equivalent to 229,713 inhabitants per square mile."
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