The Cost of Echo Bay? Can Your Back (and Wallet) Take the Strain? Half a Billion and Counting

February 13, 2011
Estimated cost to taxpayers for development

Are these numbers far from the truth?

Following Anthony Galletta’s reporting on the state of affairs in New Rochelle is always an eye opener. His recent debunking of the mayor’s voodoo economic numbers regarding the purported “net benefit” bestowed upon the citizens of this city is a case in point. In Part 1,he points out how the stated benefit from development has apparently grown from a $2 million to a $7.5 million benefit in just 18 months(I wonder if the election year has helped pump up the numbers, or are we really doing that well). In Part 2, he provides a glimpse into the real numbers affecting the cost side of the “net benefit” equation. As usual, well done Anthony!

As we “develop” our way into bankruptcy, I’d like you all to take a look at some of the numbers surrounding the Echo Bay project. Granted, these are my own projected estimates and I’m having a little fun with the invoice above to prove a point, but even a 25% swing would still be a huge burden to place on the backs of the taxpayer. We absolutely need to uncover the total costs involved if there is to be any semblance of an informed decision in what would be New Rochelle’s largest development in history. With residential housing making up most of the Echo Bay project,(remember, the property tax base will be abated in some form) could there really be enough sales tax revenue to offset the costs incurred? How much clothing, pottery, and souvenirs can you actually sell? How in the world could the cultural enrichment provided by adaptive re-use of the Amory be replaced by a stack of mundane apartments?

Strangely enough, the projected cost to the city is about equal to the total cost of the project. As in, we’re footing the bill to let Forest City own the property. After all, a builder builds your house and you pay him to do it, but eventually you own it. We would be paying to build Echo Bay and we will never own one square inch of it. Even the so-called “public space” will forever be owned by the developer.Go figure.


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