>>How are the towers subsidized?
>Bigtime tax breaks. I haven't looked in a while, but last time I did,
>had extended something like $1.5 billion in tax breaks to real estate
>developers. The whole Times Sq redevelopment scheme was driven by
>zoning, eminent domain, and tax breaks. Overbuilding during the 1980s
>the Wall Street neighborhood led to tax-subsidized conversion of
>residential buildings. For decades, the city's development strategy has
>been to subsidize the strong (the FIRE sector) and punish the weak
The best source for this is Robert Fitch's "The Assassination of New York". He digs up all the dirt on NYC development policies of the past 60 years - including the manipulations of the Rockefeller family in order to salvage their dumbshit investment in Rockefeller center (on land, incidentally, leased from Columbia). Interesting tidbit: thte amount of office space vacant at the end of the eighties was almost precisly equal to the amount built that decade - in other words, demand wasn't driving the building frenzy of the eighties - subsidies were.
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