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Author: 
Anonymous
Unsurprisingly in the wake of the subprime crisis and general market shakiness, much of the Rail Yards dialogue has turned away from design and towards financials.

Of course, guessing is a bit tough, given the MTA's refusal to make the financial bids public (which the HYCAC called for as part of its summary of top community concerns).

Background on the financial situations of each of the developers has led to a lot of speculation over which one would be the surest bet for the MTA, an agency that knows its way around fiscal headache.

A Crain's editorial recently endorsed Related and Tishman Speyer for the site, pointing to anchor tenants to add heft to the deal:
"There are no more resourceful, experienced or financially solid real estate companies in New York. Their tenants, News Corp. for Related, and Morgan Stanley for Tishman, offer a strong likelihood the project will get off the ground."
The Crain's site is for subscribers only, but the complete editorial is after the jump.

The MTA still plans to announce a decision by the end of March.
Author: 
Anonymous
Crain's has the latest on an increasingly complicated set of requirements for developers, as outlined by the MTA in their January 28 letter.

According to the article by Theresa Agovino, the winning developer will be contractually obligated to create a set of seperate funds that will go to the MTA for Rail Yards expenses and earmarks for other MTA projects (including a $9.2 million fund to improve the MTA's LIRR facility near Shea Stadium).

None of these expenses would be paid back if the deal should fall through. Given the uncertain economic climate and fear of a national recession, it looks like the MTA is raising the bar to safeguard the site against developers pulling out later. Essentially, the agency is transferring risk onto the developers.

The MTA will also require developers to front "transaction payments" to back any condo sale or other transaction on the site once it's built out. The tricky part is, the MTA doesn't specify a set amount for these payments-- bidders have to come up with their own maximum figure.

Full text after the jump.

Author: 
Anonymous
According to Crain's,  it now looks as if the MTA would prefer to lease the Rail Yards site to developers for 99 years, rather than sell it.

"A source at one developer said the MTA was caving in to public pressure not to sell the property, which includes active MTA rail operations. But the MTA spokesman says that under a 99-year lease agreement the developer would still control the site."

Author: 
Anonymous

HYCAC, an official community coalition made up of members of Community Board 4, local electeds and community organizations, has written a letter to MTA CEO Lee Sander with its reaction to the five proposals.

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