Eleventh-Hour Inspiration

In the rush to get things done, the Empire State Development Corporation gave “final authorization” to $1.65 billion in low interest Liberty Bonds for the Goldman Sachs headquarters near Ground Zero on Aug. 15. Now, in the enviable way that our state government works, it is time for the public hearing, scheduled for Sept. 7.

The IRS tax regulations which govern the Liberty Bonds (Title 26, Sect.147(f)2.B) say that a bond issue needs to be approved “after a public hearing following reasonable public notice”–in other words, one cannot put the cart before the horse.

An ESDC spokesperson told The Real Estate that the Aug. 15 “final authorization” was not the last step of the process because the panel still needed to “designate” the bonds. Presumably, the ESDC could still pull the plug on the project if enough people object Sept. 7. Of course, the ESDC is appointed by the Governor, and the Governor in the interim has trumpeted the importance of bringing Goldman back.

One watchdog group, Good Jobs New York, is mobilizing to stop what seems pretty inevitable.

Their bond-watcher-in-chief Bettina Damiani has written to our sister site, The Politicker:

“Despite the hearing notice (in six point font in the New York Post’s classified) some Politicker readers may not know there’s a public hearing for the proposed subsidy to Goldman Sachs for its new headquarters in Battery Park City.”

In the year since the building was first announced, the cost has grown to $2.4 billion. In the week since the final deal was reached, expectations for jobs have become more modest, or at least more tentative.

The Aug. 23 press release asserted that Goldman “is committing to maintaining more than 9,000 employees” in Manhattan, and that the investment bank “anticipates creating approximately 4,000 new jobs by 2019.”

The bond description released today states that the new building “will provide offices for approximately 7,400 employees and allow room for growth of up to 3,600 additional employees over the course of 20 years. It is anticipated that Goldman employees will be located in other Lower Manhattan locations as well.”

– Matthew Schuerman Eleventh-Hour Inspiration