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April 15, 2006

Atlantic Arts building in the raw

PacificArtsBuilding.jpg Here's another clue to why Forest City Ratner hasn't established a trusting relationship with the community.

The first photo of the Atlantic Arts building, taken from a screenshot of an online slideshow titled, "Existing Conditions" from the newly launched atlanticyards.com, was taken several years ago while the building was being renovated. The building in Forest City Ratner's photo clearly looks more "blighted" than the photo taken more recently (see below).

It also serves to complicate the "blight" controversy. Forest City Ratner and the lead agency, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), want the Environmental Impact Statement to consider blighted conditions using "February 2006 as a baseline date for the condition of the properties" (see Atlantic Yards Report, "Major flaws in the Final Scope" (scroll down to "Eminent Domain")). This date is a few years after the Forest City Ratner slide show photo was taken and two and a half years after the project was officially announced. Since Ratner has had a couple of years to purchase many of the properties and let them sit vacant, he has artificially created a condition by which the properties in the proposal's footprint are "underutilized."

636pacfic.jpg From Forest City Ratner's point of view, this isn't a big deal, since a seemingly minor misrepresentation that serves to aid the case for eminent domain probably isn't going to be covered by the local press.

However it's a big deal for us, because if Forest City Ratner would do the community the honor of getting its story straight, we could shut up already.

Posted by lumi at April 15, 2006 11:22 AM