Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bailouts for Boondoggles

Taking Stock of Redevelopment Wrecks


Castle Watch Daily
The Official Blog of the Castle Coalition
Copyright 2009

money-down-drain.jpgWith the immense publicity surrounding Little Pink House, which tells the story of Susette Kelo’s battle with New London, Conn., many have been surprised to learn that the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London still stands vacant and empty.

The Fort Trumbull development is not the only failure in the media lately. Further down the Connecticut coast, Bridgeport’s Steel Point development, where like New London’s Fort Trumbull a neighborhood once stood. It’s been a decade since families left after being threatened with condemnation for a brand-new development that has yet to, well, develop.

The families in both Bridgeport and New London, however, have at least been able to move on since their properties were seized. Homeowners in Rock Hill, Missouri have been threatened by eminent domain for the past decade for a commercial development project that has three developers pull out of the project. 110 homeowners signed contracts with a developer for their homes late last year only to find out that this latest developer was pulling out of the project. The property owners now have homes that they have to continue to maintain even though they remain on the chopping block.

As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out, this is the third neighborhood in and around St. Louis to have been left out to dry by towns and developers who were too busy threatening to take other people’s property to get their own acts together.

Meanwhile, in New York, Atlantic Yards remains a concept only on paper. Not only that, but apparently it’s in need of a federal bailout. According to the New York Post, megadeveloper Bruce Ratner and local officials want stimulus funds to save the project.

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