The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would cut off certain federal aid for two years to states and localities that use economic development as a justification to take private property under eminent domain. Atlantic Yards opponents seem skeptical that the bill, if approved by the Senate, would apply in their case, since the developer, Forest City Ratner, has said the Brooklyn neighborhood where the work-live-play complex would be located is blighted. (President Bush has already signaled his support.)
In a PBS’ Newshour broadcast last night, Forest City’s Jim Stuckey repeated that claim: “I think the state will make its decision, unlike ‘Kelo,’ based on whether or not they believe this is a blighted area.” But that is becoming a harder and harder point to argue in light of Halstead’s recent report, which reported that the average sale price for a townhouse in Prospect Heights topped $1 million for the first half of the year. (Huge PDF).