Friday, June 22, 2007

Tax And Rend

Quick question here, because I am about to get on a plane again for the mother country. Bruce Ratner apparently needs a continuation of the 421 tax exemption for market rate condominium apartments at his Atlantic Yards project, just as it ends for every single other developer in the city. But if he needs these tax breaks to make the project viable, why weren't the cut-rate land sales, power of eminent domain, tax-exempt bond treatment, bogus sports team acquisition and control of most of the relevant politicians enough?

At what point do we say "well it's a bit of an expensive pain in the ass to build apartments over a rail yard, but why in the name of god do you need all of these time-, money- and land-consuming baubles as well?" Or, to put it another way, have we now reached the tipping point where we see the entire ugly Atlantic Yards mess not as an intricately poised balance of various economic, social and political interests and more as a lumpy grab-bag of foul-smelling pork?

Note also a tussle involving a civil rights lawyer who isn't Norman Siegel right on the corner of the project site. Spooky. Will hope to post during my absence. If not, check you in one week.

[Full disclosure. I've been trying for a while to buy an apartment that would benefit from 421 benefits. Not happened yet, mind]


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