Of course, this isn’t a new idea; planning and neighborhood groups have been urging this for years. Giving a big site to a single developer all at once—such as the 22-acre, $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project—could bring a higher bid given, among other reasons, that the developer would benefit from economies of scale and increased values as it fills out the site. But, as has been seen in these strained times, these projects are also quite prone to failure or renegotiation as the developers struggle to get off the ground amid the cyclical economy.
On the mayor’s mega-projects such as Atlantic Yards, the 26-acre West Side rail yards, the Coney Island amusement district, and, to a large extent, Willets Point in Queens, the administration has doubtlessly struggled to show anywhere close to the project it wanted. Officials had previously said their goal was to get all the administration’s projects to the point where they were irreversible before the end of the mayor’s second term.
The only one that’s close to that point is Atlantic Yards, where developer Bruce Ratner is close to starting construction on the centerpiece Nets arena, though most of the project has been pushed off for years.