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September 20, 2006

FCR's past plans for the railyard (and Nets), and future opportunities

Another myth-busting must-read from Atlantic Yards Report

MYTH (from NY Magazine, August 14, 2006, emphasis added):

The story of Atlantic Yards starts back in 1957, when the Dodgers left for Los Angeles, breaking the heart of a 12-year-old Marty Markowitz. It took a while, but he got the chance to do something about it in 2002, when he noticed that the New Jersey Nets were for sale. Markowitz, Brooklyn’s borough president and corniest booster, began hounding Bruce Ratner, telling him that he was the perfect guy to bring big-league sports back to Brooklyn. Finally, as much to get Marty off his back as to enter the ranks of NBA ownership, Ratner launched a bid, bought the team for $300 million, and then set about figuring out what to do with his new prize.


FCR actually had toyed with a Nets plan more than a decade ago, according to Shirley Morillo's recent Columbia University master's thesis, titled "Historic Preservation and the Changing Face of Large-scale Redevelopment Projects in New York City: An Analysis of the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards Project."

From Morillo's thesis:

In the early 1990s, in the midst of the Downtown Brooklyn planning and building cycle, the New Jersey Nets approached Forest City Ratner with a radical proposal – that he buy the team and build them a new arena on his project site. The developer initially dismissed the idea knowing that past stadium schemes had been attempted in the past and that they had failed.

The source: former Forest City Ratner executive Paul Travis.

MYTH (reported by AYR):
"The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years" — Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, 05/26/05

ATLANTIC YARDS REPORT: This myth was already busted by Norman Oder in March, 2006.

Today's post goes one step further, indicating that Forest City Ratner had designs on the railyards going back at least a decade. As Brooklyn Daily Eagle editor Dennis Holt recalls:

attending the groundbreaking for Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Center mall in the early 1990s. (The mall opened in 1996.) Within the press packet was an aerial photo of the development site, just north of Atlantic Avenue and part of the Atlantic Terminal Urban Renewal Area (ATURA).

Superimposed on the photo, Holt recalled, was an arrow pointing to the MTA's railyard just to the south, between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, with the statement, "Potential office building site."


Posted by lumi at September 20, 2006 7:41 AM