On Wednesday a Brooklyn community organization, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, Inc. (DDDB), made a firm offer of $120 million to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to purchase the development rights for the 8-acre Vanderbilt Yard in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The group proposes a mixed-use development plan over the rail yards based on the UNITY Plan framework. (See: www.unityplan.org and download the full PDF.)
To complete their offer, the Vanderbilt Yard would be placed into a trust (modeled after the successful Hudson River Trust), for the purposes of financing and managing the development over the yards. It will be called the UNITY Trust.
The UNITY Trust would be administered by local community organizations, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation, and local elected officials. The Trust would be mandated to bid the yards out in smaller, manageable parcels (6-8), for development and payment over a far shorter timeline than developer Forest City Ratner’s proposed 22-year Atlantic Yards timeline. The UNITY Trust will seek out both for-profit and not-for-profit development teams.
The group estimates—based upon comparable efforts elsewhere and extrapolating the 2005 MTA appraisal and rail yard construction cost projections—that the project can be completed in approximately 12 years.
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