B'KLYN POL DEMANDS NEW ARENA $$ STUDY
By PATRICK GALLAHUE
July 10, 2004
To clear the smoke from dueling studies of the planned NBA arena in Brooklyn, a city lawmaker wants an independent fiscal watchdog to referee.
Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn) wrote a letter to the mayor and council speaker this week asking for the Independent Budget Office (IBO) to put out a report on the proposed arena.
"We need a truly independent, impartial non-interested entity to study this plan," James told The Post yesterday.
Developer Bruce Ratner bought the New Jersey Nets last year and plans to build an NBA arena for the team as the centerpiece of a $2.5 billion commercial and residential development over an MTA rail yard in Prospect Heights.
Ratner's review claims the project will generate more than $800 million in tax revenues over 30 years.
But a rival study — performed by a group opposed to the arena — claims the project could cost the city and state as much as $500 million.
The Independent Budget Office said it had considered studying the proposal prior to James' request, but that it had not yet committed to putting out a full report.
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