After Negative Report, Bloomberg Cheers Louder for Atlantic Yards

With an election two months away, Mayor Bloomberg certainly isn’t running away from Atlantic Yards, the $4.9 billion mega-project that never ceases to elicit fervent opposition in neighboring areas of Brooklyn.

Confronted Thursday with an Independent Budget Office report that alleges the centerpiece Nets arena is a net-money loser for the city—which is incentivizing the project with $169 million in discretionary subsidy—Mr. Bloomberg loudly hailed the project, implicitly comparing the private development to the city’s finest public assets.

“I don’t know what the IBO studies would have shown back when they tried to establish the value of Central Park or Prospect Park or anything else,” he told reporters. “These are the kinds of projects you have to do because without that we don’t have a future, and we’re going to get this one done.”

Mr. Bloomberg criticized the report, saying it says “that if you count the costs, but don’t count the benefits, it doesn’t make any money.” That seems like something of an unfair simplification of a complex issue, but regardless, he went on to further laud the project.

“The Atlantic Yards is a project that we really need—it will be great for this city, it will be great for Brooklyn,” he said. 

ebrown@observer.com