One of the most controversial construction projects of any kind to come in the last decade is the Atlantic Yards. The $4B project is centered around building a new arena & atleast 16 high-rise buildings in downtown Brooklyn. The project has featured a multitude of supporters on both sides of the aisle. The average citizen has mostly been against the project as it features the status quo setup, benefit the rich while displacing & screwing over the less fortunate.
The project & its supporters have seen better days as lawsuits have held up groundbreaking & more so of late the global financial crisis. Now Bruce Ratner, CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies is looking to use the crisis as an excuse to shortchange the MTA money his company was due to pay the agency. Errol Louis of the New York Daily News has more in his editorial
More than five years after the first unveiling of Atlantic Yards, the ambitious project – a plan to build a basketball arena and thousands of units of housing – is being downsized and restructured so that maybe, just maybe, my corner of Brooklyn will secure badly needed jobs and housing.
It’s been slow going.
Developer Bruce Ratner has been hobbled by frivolous litigation by an anti-development faction of neighborhood groups and a global credit crunch that’s making it hard to line up financing for his multibillion-dollar project.
Cash-strapped state and city government officials, who have already applied hundreds of millions in direct and indirect assistance to Ratner, are balking at giving any more help.
Project insiders say Ratner’s most pressing short-term financial hump is the need to pay $100 million to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the Vanderbilt Yards, a crucial stretch of property and train tracks along Atlantic Ave. between Flatbush and Vandbilt Aves.
As early as tomorrow, the MTA board could vote in closed session on whether to allow Ratner to make a smaller-than-expected downpayment – $20 million or so – and allow him to pay the rest over time.
If that happens, Ratner hopes to break ground on the arena this fall, using part of the railyards as a construction staging area.
That’s the optimistic timetable. More delays are almost certain to crop up.
Click here for the complete report.
I sincerely hope the MTA does not agree to do anything that will help Bruce & his cronies out. This project is highly unnecessary & does nothing but continue the status quo. Lets benefit the rich while displacing hard working people who have carved out a living in their homes. This project is nothing but a grand abuse of eminent domain.
P.S. I highly suggest you check out the “Atlantic Yards Report” which offers the best coverage of the project from all sides.
xoxo Transit Blogger