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Silver To Take Hard Look at Atlantic Yards
Atlantic Yards Report tries to read the perhaps inscrutable Sheldon Silver tea leaves when it comes to the Assembly Speaker's role in reviewing "Atlantic Yards" as one of three votes on the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB). It is no small feat to try to make sense of what that arcane board is doing or will do when it comes to their vote on the project which requires unanimity for passage (the other two votes are controlled by Senate Majority Leader Bruno and the Governor). Speaker Silver made some very strong comments about ESDC boss Charles Gargano on a News 4 interview with Jay DeDapper. During the interview Silver also discussed the PACB and "Atlantic Yards." Norman Oder took a look:
Silver on AY: "We'll look at it in a very favorable light"
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, got into a war of words this weekend with the lame-duck administration of Republican Governor George Pataki, but the news for Brooklynites were his words of steady if not complete support for the Atlantic Yards project--a suggestion that he might want to broker a compromise of sorts.

Still, Silver, whose vote on the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) is necessary to approve Atlantic Yards, may be so peeved at Pataki and Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) Charles Gargano that he will refuse to greenlight the project during the last weeks of the Pataki administration but would rather wait until fellow Democrat Eliot Spitzer takes over in January.

"In Brooklyn, it's a mixed bag. There are people for it, people against it, and the proposal itself keeps changing somewhat," Silver said during an interview broadcast this morning on WNBC's News Forum. "So we'll look at it in a very favorable light because development is necessary down there, see how the developer responds to some of the criticism, either because of the mass of the project or some of the traffic."

The changes have been minimal, though they've garnered headlines. But the Atlantic Yards project, once it gets inevitable approval later this month from the ESDC, must get a unanimous nod from the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB), controlled by Silver, Pataki, and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

Pressuring Silver
Various parties have been pressuring Silver to postpone a vote until the Spitzer administration takes over. Others want him to wait until the eminent domain suit is resolved. Alternatively, some are probably pressuring him to at least broker a compromise.

And Forest City Ratner is surely lobbying Silver. (Don't forget, Bruce Ratner's brother Michael Ratner and sister-in-law Karen Ranucci each gave Silver's campaign $3000 in June even though he was running unopposed.)

I'd bet that the developer would rather compromise significantly with Silver before the end of the year than let the project carry over to a Spitzer administration that might take a closer look at the project. Even if such delay didn't lead to significant changes in the configuration of Atlantic Yards, it could least increase Forest City's carrying costs and construction costs.

Silver brought up Brooklyn again, on his own, apparently wanting to make sure his position wasn't misconstrued. DeDapper asked if Silver, from his post on the PACB, would stop block Atlantic Yards.

Silver responded:
I can't tell you what Joe Bruno's going to do; I can only tell you what I would consider. One, as an old Brooklyn Dodger fan, I believe professional sports belongs in Brooklyn, as far as that goes. The merits of the project still to be examined; they're still being actually developed on a day-to-day basis. It changes. We have members of the assembly who are for it, members of the assembly who are against it. Unlike the [West Side] Stadium, where every representative of the area and the surrounding area of that stadium, be it Congress, state Senate or assembly, opposed that stadium. I wasn't the only one opposed to that stadium, let's be very clear about that.

In Brooklyn, it's a mixed bag. There are people for it, people against it, and the proposal itself keeps changing somewhat. So we'll look at it in a very favorable light because development is necessary down there, see how the developer responds to some of the criticisma, either because of the mass of the project or some of the traffic, and I would say right now, the only vote we've taken is to support the development. We have voted for $100 million as a state component to that project.

Read the full article from Atlantic Yards Report
Gowanus Lounge tried to sum Silver up this way, which is certainly what should be the case:
...Mr. Silver may do many things, but one thing he doesn't appear predisposed to doing is rubberstamp the proposal.

Read the full article from Gowanus Lounge
And remember, it remains to be seen if "Atlantic Yards" is even legal.
Posted: 11.19.06
What would Atlantic Yards Look like?...
Photo Simulations
Before and After views from around the project footprint revealing the massive scale of the proposed luxury apartment and sports complex.
Eminent Domain Lawsuit
Goldstein et al v.
Pataki et al

Click for all briefs and info on the federal lawsuit alleging that eminent domain for "Atlantic Yards" violates the U.S. Constitution.

Status Report.
DDDB comments on the June 6th decsion and coming appeal.

Click for in-depth coverage of the March 30th court hearing

"Atlantic Yards" cannot be built if plaintiffs win this suit.
[See ownership map]
EIS Lawsuit
DDDB et al v ESDC et al
Click for a summary of the lawsuit seeking to annul the review and approval of "Atlantic Yards" by the ESDC, PACB and MTA.

Click for in-depth coverage of the May 3rd court arguments.

Click for
Screening Schedule
Isabel Hill's
"Atlantic Yards" documentary
Brooklyn Matters

Read a review
Atlantic Yards
would be
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