One development plan is sold to the public with promises of a certain subsidy level and an expected long-term gain from rent. But conditions change, costs increase, the market worsens, and once it seems too late to turn around and scrap a deal, a developer needs more aid, and the public sector is in a tough place to refuse.[…]The site, of course, is laden with emotion and politics, and the desire to rebuild after a terrorist attack sets the site in a different category than the traditional public-private partnership. But in layering on the assistance at various different points over the past nine years, what is clear from the latest deal is that the total amount of public assistance is extraordinary and tremendous, and one wonders if the current plan would ever have gone forward had the public known its full contribution from the start.
It’s a pretty sad reality for what was supposed to be a grand gesture in the face of tragedy. But pulling back from all that good will and high hopes, with the comfort of hindsight, it becomes clear this was just another development deal in New York City, possibly the granddaddy of them all. Look no further than Atlantic Yards or Columbia or, hell, the original World Trade Center itself to be reminded that this is just the way business gets done in this town. Which only begs the question, “How long until the next bailout?” Say, maybe, once the now indefinitely delayed Foster tower gets going again?