Last Rites for The Spalding Building

spalding-building-072610.jpg
From Atlantic Yards Report comes the sad news that the Spalding Building at 24 6th Avenue is being prepped to meet its maker. Another clear example of an architectural eyesore that needed to be purged from the blighted neighborhood. Not. Ratner purchased the building for $2,200,000 in August 2009. As far as we can figure out, there’s still that last-minute lawsuit out there involving the building’s air rights too.
The Spalding Building Is Prepared For Its Fate [AYR] GMAP
Photo by Raul Rothblatt

0 Comment

  • This is a great building and a great loss. I have an old photo from when it still had the Spalding logo painted on it – looks very cool. Among the tortures reserved for the Rat when he goes to hell is, I hope, endless pelting with all the Spaldeens in Brooklyn.

  • Disgusting. A pox on all your houses, Mr. Ratner!

  • Oh my – how will Brooklyn ever get over the loss of this building??? I mean they havent manuactured a ball there for probably 70years and likely a “Spaldeen” was never made there – but no question since the building used to have paint on it that said “A.G. Spaulding” on it…and people like to play ball….we should halt all development around that location for eternity.

  • You know, it’s not only that the doors to the Atlantic Terminal mall aren’t automatic — half of them are also broken. How can you screw up something that basic? How can you screw up something that basic and never get called out for it?

  • They were indeed made there, as documented by the Municipal Art Society: http://www.placematters.net/node/1497. And no-one’s said anything about halting all development, just this ridiculous tax-payer-financed boondoggle, that will leave us with a basketball (and boxing, too, now; oh, joy!) arena surrounded by parking lots.

  • Damn shame.

  • FSRG-

    As per Babs, the crime here is that a corrupt non-democratic government agency in cahoots with Ratner and his Russian Oligarch financiers used the power of the state to seize private property based upon the obvious lie that the building is blighted. All for a project with dubious benefits to the community.

    But who are you going to believe Ratner or your own lying eyes? This gets to the heart of the matter, whether we are to have transparency and democratic values in City and State government.

  • Wow – almost 10 comments on a Ratner thread and no one has mentioned “back room deals” yet

    +10

  • I’m pretty sympathetic to anti-AY arguments(although I’m, on balance, for it), but..really? A generic building in which they once made small rubber balls? This isn’t a museum – it’s New York City. It’s supposed to grow, evolve and reinvent itself.

  • “it’s New York City. It’s supposed to grow, evolve and reinvent itself.”

    Rookie;

    Please don’t talk such heresy on Brownstoner. As for myself, I’ve felt that Brooklyn has never been the same since those damn housing developers sub-divided the cabbage farms in its southern reaches.

  • Again I doubt the location ever made SPAULDEENS because spauldeens werent introduced till 1949 and the Factory was sold by Spalding in 1942.

    As for the DUMB) blight issue – Ratner was not required AND did NOT need to show that every building within the footprint was “blighted in order to have ED declared. Therefore perpetually showing one piece of the plot and saying in the snarkiest way imaginable – “see this wasnt blighted” is just a totally irrelevant argument – b/c no one said THIS building (for example) was ‘blighted’.

  • I generally agree that cities are supposed to evolve with their populations, and while this is a perfectly nice building, it’s not a monument of any kind. And frankly, I like the idea of building a centrally-located arena right here in Brooklyn. But when I attend events there, I’ll probably do it a little bit guiltily, because it is pretty unsettling that a private developer was able to orchestrate the taxpayer-funded seizure and destruction of someone else’s private property on the obviously trumped-up premise that it’s blighted. So to me, debating the architectural merits of the building is kind of missing the point, which is about the public interest and fair and reasonable application of the law.

  • Not sure how fsrg’s argument makes it any better – so it’s okay to seize a perfectly good building because it happens to be NEAR some blight? Uh oh, watch out anyone who lives near a cracked sidewalk or empty lot..

  • Ninethreesix – under the US Constitution = YES

    Not every parcel or property in an area need exhibit characteristics of blight in order
    for the area as a whole to be considered blighted. United State Supreme Court in Berman v. Parker,
    348 U.S. 26, 34 (1954)

  • FSRG-

    The Atlantic Yards area is not blighted. There are plenty of developers that would build upon the land WITHOUT government subsidy. Ratner used his political contacts to seize private property and have the tax payer subsidize his private development. The question is not whether you are for or against change. Hell the Spaldeen building changed from a factory to condos. The question is what change is appropriate and whether public subsidies and the threat of eminent domain should be used to develop a private sports arena.

    I actually supported the broader Gehry plan because I saw it was a radical reinvention of the neighborhood that increased housing. The initial plan would have not been an isolated mega sports arena cut off from the neighborhood. However, the Gehry plan was nothing more than Ratner’s bait and switch plan to get the project approved when he knew he never had the wherewithal to bring the project to fruition. If Ratner had initially proposed a stand alone sports arena subsidized by the already bankrupt City and State, the project would never have been approved. This project like the corrupt boondoggle that is “Ground Zero” embody the worse aspects of New York politics and go a long way to explaining why the City and State are broke.

  • I almost bought a loft in the building in 2001. I lost the deal because the sale of another property fell through and I was devastated at the time, because the exterior of this building tells you nothing about the exquisite interior, which the developer beautifully restored. This demolition marks (again) the destruction of an important piece of Brooklyn building history. It may have been “blight” at one time, but not now.

  • Yes, I know. But the interpretation of eminent domain that allows this sort of seizure for anything other than transportation projects or meeting some major public need, and involves giving property to private corporations, is a much more recent and dramatic expansion of that power. (Kelo vs. New London was 2003, I think). Most people think its gotten hugely out of hand, and will probably be pulled back at some point.

  • I’m just curious. Are people on this board anti-Eminent Domain in every case, or just in this particular one?

  • GrandPa – you are a moron- the vast majority of the AY area has been declared blighted area since 1963 – basically Hanson to Pacific – 3rd Ave to Vanderbilt.
    Granted this specific building was NOT part of the original blight declaration from 1963 but the idea that the area in general was not blighted is dumb and against all historical facts.

  • Rookie – Just in cases that involve giving property to private developers for projects of questionable public benefit under the guise of clearly invented charges of blight. Again, most other cases involve public projects, not private development. This case, Kelo, and the current situation around Columbia are the cases that I would say involve those circumstances. There may be more that I’m not aware of. But for now, those 3.

  • Rookie – Just in cases that involve giving property to private developers for projects of questionable public benefit under the guise of clearly invented charges of blight. Again, most other cases involve public projects, not private development. This case, Kelo, and the current situation around Columbia are the cases that I would say involve those circumstances. There may be more that I’m not aware of. But for now, those 3.

  • ninethreesix – maybe Kelo will be pulled back but UNLIKE Kelo the arena is not simply a factory for Pfizer it is a public accommodation, and it is very possible that AY woudnt have fell under Kelo (if it came to that) and the ED (at least for the Arena portion) could have proceeded anyway.

    People mistake Kelo as being the sole ground for AY ED but it isnt. Look at how the WTC was built for example -all the land of the old Radio District was taken through ED.

  • FSRG-

    Yes the the area was deemed blighted during the reign of Robert Moses. Just a reminder that the likes of Soho, Tribeca and Penn Station were deemed “blighted” at that time as well. Under the Moses regime, “blighted Brooklyn” was often a code word for the presence of negroes.

    Regardless, I hope you understand that many neighborhoods deemed “blighted” in 1963, 1973 or 1983 are very different neighborhoods in 2010.

    Remember, you must embrace change. Stop living in the past.

  • Oops, sorry double post.

    It’s a private facility run for the profit of a private corporation, so while it’s “public” in that the public will use the building, it’s not publicly owned or provided as a service to the public, like a train station or a highway. It’s a place where you can pay a private company to attend events. As far as I know, ticket prices won’t be publicly subsidized or provided as a public service. It’s not any more a “public accommodation” than a movie theater, restaurant, or bar. That’s a big distinction.

    Kelo wasn’t invented out of nowhere, no – all court cases build on precedent. But at some point, and I think it’s probably right around Kelo, the criteria necessary for eminent domain became so flexible that many people, including plenty of legal scholars, agree that it’s hardly fair or reasonable.

  • Well the area wasnt deemed blighted b/c of “negros” but because it was the site of the Ft Greene meatpacking district that had fallen out of general usefulness….and while many of the areas you site were indeed deemed blighted, the did not have their blight designation constantly reaffirmed as various plans emerged – which WAS the case at AY – where the improvement district was reaffirmed (without any $ of course) up until the 90′s

    9-3-6 – so if instead NYC/NYS built the Arena (and then leased it out) you’d be fine with ED at he site???? What sense does that make?

  • FSRQ —

    I would suggest you should only be able to call something a “public commodity” if the public can afford to go inside. Are they also planning on making basketball and concert tickets $15 so a family of 4 could possibly attend an event since it’s a “public commodity”?

  • tybur6 – you can suggest that all you want but it is not the law here (or really anywhere) – Old Yankee Stadium was owned by NYC; So is Lincon Center (NYS) So is/was tos of restaurants in NYC public parks, etc, etc, etc

  • No, not at all, unless you could argue that it fulfills a real public need to be able to watch basketball games, and they provided free or very affordable tickets as a public service. But that’s exactly my point – it’s not meeting an important public need or benefit, it’s a private entertainment enterprise, and therefore shouldn’t qualify for ED.

  • 9-3-6 – So I assume you dont consider Lincoln Center a public benefit?

  • The “blighted” land could easily have been auctioned off to assorted private developers in 2003 at a hefty profit to the State without any further government subsidy.

    End of debate.

  • According to Bruce Ratner (and published by Crains), Atlantic Yards is a private project.

    The irony of the destruction of this particular building is that Ratner sold his project using nostalgia. @Rookie: It’s Bruce Ratner who has mythologized the past.

    @frsq: “their blight designation constantly reaffirmed as various plans emerged” …by SEQR process that has no relationship to reality. I have read much of the EIS, and I consider it fiction. The EIS is based on the assumption that the whole project will be done in 10 years, and nobody believes that. The MGPP is pretty clear that 25 years is more reasonable.

  • Yes Grandpa – I am sure mall plots over the railyard would have sold for a fortune -I guess each property owner would have no trouble building their own platform to actually utilize the land!

  • @ ninethreesix: The land will be owned by the ESDC and leased to FCR for 99 years. Ratner constantly uses the phrase “publicly accessible open space,” like MetroTech, which is very different from public space.

    One pathetic example of the huge subsidies Ratner/Prokhorov are getting is naming rights. The name of the arena will be the Barclays Center, and at one point Barclays was paying Ratner $400,000,000 for naming rights. That’s like a tenant putting a huge billboard outside their apartment, and the landlord (us, so to speak) doesn’t get a penny.

  • fsrg – I suppose I do, and that’s a perfect example of the important distinctions here. Lincoln Center, while largely privately funded by the Rockefellers, receives taxpayer support as well as private donations and is run by a non-profit for the public benefit (the city’s cultural vitality and so on). AY is a private, for-profit enterprise. I’m sure there are also arguments to made over the importance of the arts to the public as opposed to basketball, but I’ll leave that to others. The key distinction is whether the goal of the project is to serve the public, or make a profit for a private company.

  • 9-6 How about Carnegie Hall???

  • It’s all the subsidies that are a problem for me.

    Yes, there is a public benefit for Yankees Stadium, BAM, Lincoln Center, Blakity Blank Historical Society, etc. BUT, it’s one thing to help pave the way to ‘clearing land’ it’s another to cost the city and state MILLIONS of dollars with tax breaks. The poorest in the city are being screwed TWICE. They are not seeing any of the lost tax revenue in their public programs (for example — education and nutrition) AND they will never be able to afford to see a game inside! At least not without making a hug sacrifice… we’ll eat only ramen noodles for a month or two so I can bring Junior to a game.

    Why is it that the Yankees couldn’t swing building their own stadium again?

  • ninethreesix — I see sporting venues on equal footing with arts venues for the “public good” (though I prefer the art venues). But you are very right. Are the arenas and stadiums still serving the public if a bleacher seat is $44 and the better seats are the equivalent to a car payment.

  • fsrg – I don’t know much about Carnegie Hall’s history or really what you’re asking here, but I do know it also receives public funding and serves a public benefit. If it was constructed by a private company using eminent domain, I wish they’d found a different way. Just because we love a building now doesn’t mean we have to love everything about how it got to be there and repeat past injustices, if there were any involved. This seems like a pretty simple principle to me: taking property for the public good = sometimes ok. Taking property for someone else’s profit = generally not ok.

  • Totally agree re subsidies, tybur.

  • So again 9-3-6 IF the Arena was built and owned by NYC/NYS and then leased to a private operator then its ok to use ED????

    Or is it the meaningless non-profit status that matters to you? Do you not recall the Wynton Marchalles was making over 800K as the create director at Jazz@ Lincoln center? The manager of the Met Opera House is making over 1.5 a year …..just cause its “non-profit” doesnt mean no one is profiting.

    Face it, you have no real intellectual basis to distinguish between the Arena at AY from dozens of other venues that are readily acknowledged to provide public benefit. Does the music at Lincoln Center or Carnigie Hall or BAM to name a few(which rather than receiving tax subsidies, receives DIRECT public monies) really deserve public support more than a concert at AY or MSG – and either way, do you really believe that such a distinction would legally block ED in one case and not another?? – of course you dont – you just hate AY and you are trying to find solid moral ground to oppose it while not sounding like a hypocrite related to many other projects which do not offend your sensibility – unfortunately for you, such ground can not be found.

  • tybur6 – how much is a family circle at the Avery Fisher Hall – I can get into Yankee Stadium to see a game for $5.

  • BTW – the Yankees now own the new Stadium

  • Yeah… the Yankees own the stadium on the backs of HUGE tax exempt bonds that were floated on their behalf.

    But you’re right, the $5 tickets the Yankees sell for a dozen or so games a season…. that makes up for the lost tax revenue.

  • “So again 9-3-6 IF the Arena was built and owned by NYC/NYS and then leased to a private operator then its ok to use ED????”

    No, because it doesn’t serve any really necessary public need. I already answered this.

    “you just hate AY and you are trying to find solid moral ground to oppose it while not sounding like a hypocrite”

    No, you’re way off. As I said at the very beginning I will be glad to have the arena there. I’m more likely to go to a concert there or at MSG than Lincoln Center (which I’ve been to all of once) or Carnegie Hall (never been). But I’m uncomfortable with how it’s getting built. I’m not thoroughly comfortable with how Lincoln Center got built either, especially as you point out those facts. I guess I’m glad there both there, but legally taking someone’s private property is bound to be a sticky and contentious issue in a country where we value property rights, and I think there definitely needs to be a clear public benefit defined whenever ED is used. It’s not clear that there is one at AY, nor was the area really in need of this, so that’s my ground for disputing the decision.

  • Why is a tax exempt bonds (which are ultimately revenue neutral) a horrible subsidy but direct taxpayer monies for things like AveryFisher Hall ok in your book?
    BTW there are $5 bleacher seats at EVERY Yankee Game – again what is the cheapest seat at Avery Fisher, BAM, Carnigie etc…..

    If you oppose tax subsidies for Arts and Entertainment – fine I get it but once you try to pick and choose you lose all credibility.

  • 9-3-6 So I assume you are saying that there is no public need/benefit for Lincoln Center as well?? or does it depend on the type of music being played at a venue??

  • I am actually okay with FSRQ’s argument that an arena is a public amenity, even if it is privately owned/run by a or-profit entity. It is still an important part of a a city’s infrastructure to have a number of large indoor facilities where large numbers of people can gather, for a variety of reasons/events. But I still take issue with the notion that the area was blighted in 2002. Many of old formerly vacant warehouses had been converted to luxury condos already, and it was only a matter of time before the same thing would’ve happened the remaining warehouses and vacant lots. Any argument that this area was blighted in 2002 has to rely an a complete misrepresentation of the facts. Period. ANd this is coming from someone who, in general is not anti-AY. But still the blight premise is a farce. FSRQ, you’d have more credibility if you acknowledged that but just argued that the project’s merits outweigh the costs.

  • fsrq has a point. a ton of us dont give an F about the arts, etc so fair is fair – ie cant poo poo this and rejoice on the big art subidies.

    what’s done is done. collateral damage, intended damage,… if this cant be reversed, just build it already or are we arguing about the hole is better for the hood?

  • bkre – I’d acknowledge that IF the term “blight” was what you or I would refer to in casual conversation – but the legal definition of blight is a far more technical term, and for which large portions of the site WERE blighted (under LEGAL definition) and legally that justified the ED taking of the whole site. Because while it no doubt sucked for the 30-50 odd RS tenants who lived there many years and for the condo owners who lived there for 1/2 dozen years (at most), the societal benefit FAR exceeded the cost, especially when you consider the incredible windfall compensation the VAST majority of those effected received.

  • fsrq — You’re (again) inventing and putting words in my mouth. If you actually read, I said i have a problem with subsidies. And I employed a CLEAR example of the Yankees where there was absolutely no need to subsidize anything, but we did anyway.

    BTW — there’s is nothing “revenue neutral” about a tax exempt bond. It is exempt from taxes… meaning tax revenue on earnings are lost. That is the opposite of neutral.

  • I know it may seem like a silly distinction, but our society does seem to think that there is value in promoting “high art” while leaving the Lady Gagas of the world to fend for themselves. We provide public support for art museums that house the art deemed of high quality, not every single art gallery around. I didn’t invent that distinction. So yes, I guess there’s a public benefit to Lincoln Center, and yes, I think it’s non-profit nature and root goals matter – remember, it was arguably built in a time and place that was in real need of revitalization, unlike Prospect Heights in 2010.

    But I do think any form of arts/entertainment is getting very close to the line of what should qualify for eminent domain, which should primarily apply for things like infrastructure, schools, and so on. Moreover though, there has to be a line somewhere, doesn’t there?

  • tybur6 – you clearly do not understand tax exempt bonds – when the state floats tax-exempt bonds for a project – the taxes on earnings for the facility (assuming it is a taxable facility) are NOT lost. What is tax free is the INTEREST on the bonds. The subsidy comes in because it allows a private developer to borrow more cheaply (interest rate lower b/c the income is tax free). And to call such an arrangement NOT revenue neutral requires a definition of $ that essentially assumes ALL $ is the government’s any anything that isnt taxed is revenue negative – which if it is your stance fail to see why you’d oppose ED.

    And you havent made clear that you oppose ALL subsidies – if you do then you are correct- I am wrong, your opposition is intellectually sound, albeit far from reality across so many areas in our current economy, tax system.

  • the debate on the merits is a waste of time now. decision made. appeal rejected. it’s now a matter of is that hole better, the stalled construction better vs is the stadium better, the jobs, the higher traffic, etc.

    just build it already

  • FSRQ — Earnings on the fucking BOND (i.e., the interest) not the fucking facility. Jaysus H. Christmas.

    And again — I never said i opposed eminent domain. Just the subsidies associated with these projects.

  • “but our society does seem to think that there is value in promoting “high art” while leaving the Lady Gagas of the world to fend for themselves. ”

    No “our society” does not follow this [snobbish] doctrine, as demonstrated by the subsidies that go into PUBLIC AMENITIES like arenas and stadium, or publicly funded concerts (of low art) etc…. What “our society” does is: offer real and hidden subsidies all over the place (whatever can get through a political process) and then lets various constituencies fight about it often using meaningless distinctions about each individual subsidies benefit or merit.

    “Moreover though, there has to be a line somewhere, doesn’t there?” –

    There is, its called “public use/benefit” which the courts know is a VERY broad term and one that is difficult to determine, so unless the term abused as a matter of law, the courts will allow DEMOCRACY (i.e. the legislative and executive branches) to make the call; as long as the constitutional requirement of just compensation is adhered to.
    You do realize that unlike rights such a privacy, or abortion – the RIGHT for the Government TO TAKE private property is actually enumerated IN the constitution

  • tybur6 – the government authorizes a tax free bond for 1M for the benefit of a stadium authority….the stadium authority pays back 1M over 30yrs to the bondholders-

    Please explain how that is not essentially revenue neutral to the Government.

  • What about the loss of tax revenue that wouldve been generated off of the interest payments – or because it’s federal we’re not talking about it?

  • Yes, fsrq, I do realize all of that, and I’m not sure why you’re taking such an obnoxious tone. I’m arguing, in agreement with many, many people, including lawyers that I know, and I think, if you did a poll, probably most Americans, that the accepted definition of the “public/use benefit” criteria has become far too broad. It’s gotten to the point that many are wondering if there are any real limits to it anymore, which is what I was expressing there. That’s a perfectly legitimate cause for concern and real debate.

  • It is revenue-neutral if (a) the developer doesn’t default, and (b) if you ignore the lost tax revenue!! The interest revenue is TAX FREE. The city, state, municipality doesn’t get any money… All the risk, no direct benefit.

    The Yankees stadium is an example where the stadium could have and would have been built no matter what… This tax subsidy was not necessary. (Though, the risk for the city and state are very low.)

    But AY and other projects have all sorts of tax-free bonds floating around. There will be huge losses in interest income tax revenue AND the risk is clearly quite high. This project is also receiving a crapload of other questionable subsidies for the housing aspects of the project. And I’m sure plenty of others that I haven’t heard of.

  • jessibaby – how can you count lost potential (if the bonds had even be issued) taxes as negative revenue….using that definition an income tax that taxes at a marginal rate of 95% is revenue negative for the government because they forgo-ed the last 5%. That maybe a great argument for a socialist but not one for opposing government subsidy.
    -if Tybur6 or anyone wants to oppose the issuing of Government Bonds for private developments as being unfair, or improper use of borrowing authority – fine – but it is still REVENUE NEUTRAL for the Government

  • tybur6 – see my early post about the fallacy of arguing that lost POTENTIAL taxes as Revenue negative.

    Further, the bond issued for this project and many other developments do not have recourse against the government, if AY(for example) fails to pay – creditors can only go after the development

    “The Yankees stadium is an example where the stadium could have and would have been built no matter what…” – in the Bronx????? at that site???? that is hindsight at its worst (not saying that the subsidy was or wasnt necessary – just that it certainly wasnt as clear as you say)

  • fsrq —
    Option #1: If the money was borrowed from a bank, any revenue (interest) produced from the loan would be taxed.

    Option #2: If a regular bond was issued, any revenue (interest) produced from the bond would be taxed.

    Option #3: If the government creates a situation much more attractive that #1 and #2 by making the bond tax-free, then no tax is levied.

    All options for getting enough money to build a stadium would entail the collection of taxes on revenue produced… well, except for the last one.

  • fsrq — Yep. My apologies. The Yankees were planning on moving to Montauk, right? Or was it Omaha?

  • 9-3-6; you originally said that AY wasnt a fair and reasonable application of the law now you are saying the law is too broad. Those are different arguments:

    IMHO the law was applied fairly, reasonably AND consistently with other similar ED cases going back quite a long way.
    BUT
    if your issue is that the law should be changed b/c it is too broad (and that the public supports it), then get the law changed…thats ok -> but as of now, the law is fairly clear and the ED here was totally legal and I note that despite AY, Kelo, Columbia, etc…NYS law has not changed

  • Ty, do you know how much much tax revenue, roughly, has been foregone in allowing AY to take advantage of the tax-exempt markets?

  • And if, the borrowing cost makes a project too expensive to build, then ZERO money is borrowed and no tax is collected on 1. The bond interest 2. The sales tax 3. The increased RE taxes for the property or nearby properties 4. The income taxes for the workers etc, etc, etc….
    Again, you are correct that the issuing of bonds like this, POTENTIALLY means lower tax collections in the future (and potentially higher tax collections as well – if the other taxes make up the difference) – but it is WRONG to say that issuing such bonds is NEGATIVE revenue to the Government – just like it would be wrong to say that it would be Revenue positive – by arguing that other taxes will make up and exceed the difference. All of that is “potential” –

  • jessibaby FOR SURE w/o the tax exempt subsidy at AY, no AY would be built and the tax collection on the bonds never would have happened anyway.

  • Do any of the disclosure documents for the bonds have numbers showing how much Ratner expects to make? It’s hard to believe this deal couldn’t be done without the interest rates that accompany tax-exempt debt. Also, it could have been built without the tax-exempt piece if Prokorov put up more equity, but I guess there would be no interest to tax in that scenario. :-/

  • @jessibaby: There are NO public documents showing how much Ratner or Prokhorov will make on this deal. Many people have been trying to get that info for years. It’s an important unanswered question.

  • Yikes, I’m late to this thread but just have to say I’m gasping at the absurdity of FSRQ’s claim that the AY footprint is blighted because of a 1963 report! I mean, why not quote a report from 1910? It would be just as relevant! This whole area of Prospect Heights was changing quite organically in the late 1990s-early 2000s and the Spalding building was a perfect example of that trend.

    It’s a sad day for Brooklynites and all citizens of New York City when the state evokes eminent domain to allow a mega-developer to force out small and middle-class property owners simply to create more private property. There has been no public process in the development of the AY project and this is why people are so upset.

    Even if I wasn’t opposed to AY on principal (eminent domain; use of taxpayer monies; too big for the local infrastructure to sustain — sewers, roads, transit; the boondoggle that is a sports arena; etc.) I would still be opposed because of the complete lack of public oversight. Speak to local residents, especially those living on Dean St, and you’ll hear a litany of nightmare stories about noise outside sanctioned work hours, asbestos abatement, water and gas service interruptions, increased traffic on nearby streets etc. Finally there is some support among elected officials to demand better AY governance. It’s about time!

  • Grand Army I am gasping at the absurdity reflected in your post. You either are deliberately attempting to distort what I said, or you have a lack of reading comprehension that borders on [functional?] illiteracy

  • FSRQ, 11:30am: “GrandPa – you are a moron- the vast majority of the AY area has been declared blighted area since 1963 – basically Hanson to Pacific – 3rd Ave to Vanderbilt. Granted this specific building was NOT part of the original blight declaration from 1963 but the idea that the area in general was not blighted is dumb and against all historical facts.”

    What did I misunderstand?

    You brought up the issue of blight in order to assert the rightness of ED being used to move AY ahead. I challenge that.

    Too bad none of your posts have included any sympathy for those living near the footprint who have to pay the quality-of-life price for this miscarriage of justice and waste of taxpayers money.

  • Wow, this nondescript building is soon to be gone. Yay! Next in line is the former residence of Dan “Sellout” Goldstein. Since he accepted Ratner’s hush money, we’ve heard absolutely nothing from him. Thank God for that!

  • @fsrq 5:46pm – I usually disagree with you, but this was a particularly nasty comment. The Atlantic Terminal Urban Renewal Area is pathetically out of date, and to accuse Grand Army of “illiteracy” undermines your credibility.

    AY arbitrarily expands ATURA south into Prospect Heights. Or in the word of NY Court of Appeals judge Robert Smith, it has been “gerrymandered.”

    Here’s what Judge Smith wrote:

    “The whole point of the public use limitation is to prevent takings even when a state agency deems them desirable,” Judge Smith wrote. “To let the agency itself determine when the public use requirement is satisfied is to make the agency a judge in its own cause. I think that it is we who should perform the role of judges, and that we should do so by deciding that the proposed taking in this case is not for public use.”

    Maybe Smith displays “a lack of reading comprehension that borders on [functional?] illiteracy,” but most judges in most of these United States would agree with him.

  • Dear Big Jugs (If that is your real name), I was not paid “hush money.” Don’t worry.

    But I digress.

    In the 20s, when Babe Ruth was a star, baseballs were manufactured at Spalding’s Pacific Street plant – in the buildings that now comprise 24 Sixth Avenue and 475 Dean Street. The company was founded by a man named A.G. Spalding, a former star pitcher (one of the first to use the underhand delivery)and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, often known as “the father of baseball” because of all he did to popularize the sport nationally and abroad.

    The Spalding plant was completed circa 1885 and employed up to 1,000 people. It began by mass producing baseballs and branched out into other sporting goods such as golf, tennis, football and gym equipment. They also made shoes and saddlebags for army officers. Later, this building made the famous “Spaldeens,” the red rubber balls used by generations of children in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn and the rest of the country.
    ——

    But who cares, it was just a beautiful building, inside and out, with rich history, then converted and occupied in 2002, then emptied out–under the threat of eminent domain–entirely by 2005 and warehoused for five years by Forest City.

    Some of you are happy about the arena, well that is cool. But to pretend that all is fine when demolishing perfectly good (and historic) housing to build an escalator for a money losing arena is just something that many disagree with.

  • What makes brooklyn beautiful? Ratner’s metrotech? Or her old historic buildings? Ratner’s ghetto malls? or Fort Greene brownstones.

    The fact remains ratner seized via corruption and probably bribery – private property – using the threat of the state’s power. He robbed middle class homeowners to line his own pockets- hes’ a crook, through and through.

    With this building, the old ward bakery-, and the nice italianate townhouses that have been razed, we had an area that could have become a “Tribeca’ now we have tax payer funded parking lots and Ratner’s notoriously ugly, poorly designed buildings.

  • as for those developers using the ‘cabbage patch’ argument – there’s a difference between natural growth and state funded boondoogles – but there is also the realization destroying buildings and building new ones is not a way to ‘keep the economy going’ anymore than digging useless holes and filling them up again keeps the economy going. To keep the economy going you need real industry- exactly the find of thing the new york elite have gone out of their way to displace.

  • Yes, Golstein, you are a sellout and thank God for that! I’m so glad that I no longer have to hear your droning voice. Thank God your alleged morals had a price tag attached to them.