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Will the IRS Strangle the Atlantic Yards Arena?

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They've been arguing, on and off, for the last 30 years in Washington about whether tax-free financing for stadiums and arenas should be limited. Now, the issue is coming home to roost at Atlantic & Flatbush Avenues. New IRS rules barring the use of tax-exempt financing for sports facilities would present a huge problem for the nearly $1 billion Barclays Center, given that developer Forest City Ratner wants about $800 million in tax-free bond funding, give or take. In the meantime, there's been furious lobbying in Washington to try to talk the IRS into killing the rule (which effects a lot of stadiums, including added financing for Yankee Stadium) or, at least, talking it out of applying the rule to Atlantic Yards because the project was "in the development pipeline before 2006." In the now famous Atlantic Yards Stall interview with the Times, developer Bruce Ratner said "the tax changes would make it more difficult" to do the project, but still said he was hoping for a fall 2008 groundbreaking. Others are suggesting 2009. The Frank Gehry-designed arena--which would be the costliest in the world--was originally supposed to open in 2006, but 2010 is the most frequently heard year if the project moves forward, with 2011 also being heard.
· A Question Mark Looms Over Three Expensive Projects [NYT]
· Atlantic Yards 'Stall': Timeline of Despair [Curbed]

Barclays Center

Atlantic Avenue at Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY