July 31, 2005, NY Post — THE MTA’s decision to grant developer Bruce Ratner an exclusive 45-day window to clinch a deal for its Downtown Brooklyn rail yards came only after some last-minute intervention by Mayor Bloomberg. Sources said the mayor was infuriated by a report that the MTA planned to postpone a vote Wednesday on the mega-housing and basketball-arena project so it could hash out two competing bids, one by Ratner and another by Extell Development Corp.
“The mayor had a conversation with the governor’s office,” said one source. As the MTA meeting got under way, chairman Peter Kalikow was seen leaving the room for an extended period. He was taking an urgent phone call from top aides to the mayor and the governor. They argued that keeping Ratner twisting in the wind was “no way to deal with the business community in this town.” Sources said it was made clear to Kalikow that neither the governor nor the mayor wanted a postponement.
He got the message. It didn’t take long after that for the MTA board to deliver a surprisingly lopsided 12-1 vote giving Ratner the exclusive right to improve his bid. At a press conference later, Bloomberg hinted at his concern in delaying a project that has been years in the making and has won widespread support. “These are jobs, this is the future of Brooklyn, this is the future of our city and that’s what I’m focusing on at the moment,” the mayor said.
Full-Court Press on MTA Deal [NY Post]