$1 Million a Year

A report today by the city’s Independent Budget Office found that the proposed Atlantic Yards basketball arena would net (hee-hee) the city about $1 million a year. The upshot: a little political cover for project supporters, though its opponents are claiming victory, too.

In other words, what the city loses from its $100 million donation—plus some other goodies—it would make up over 30 years in sales and incomes taxes, and then a wee bit more. (Those are taxes from all the players, team execs and spectators, mind you, not the developer, Forest City Ratner.)

Considering the developer is going to save $90 million from using low-interest bonds that the state will arrange for them, the municipal profit may sound meager. But the IBO did not investigate the impact of the rest of the Frank Gehry-designed megalopolis, which will include 6,000 condos and rentals and 1.5 million square feet or so of office space. The report speculates, however, that it would be “reasonable to conclude that the fiscal impact for the entire project would be positive as well.”

The state—in contrast to the city–makes out like a bandit: $70.5 million, plus the right to collect tax-equivalency payments in the long run. Okay, maybe not a bandit. A pickpocket?

–Matthew Schuerman