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November 24, 2006

Forest City Ratner Had Plans for Yards Area, Even as Early as 1993

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
by Dennis Holt

This is a biggie — the Eagle connects the dots between Forest City Ratner and the site later to be called "Atlantic Yards."

Back in September Atlantic Yards Report led a story with writer Dennis Holt's recollection on CUNY Reporters Roundtable of attending a presentation by Forest City Ratner that cited the MTA railyard as a potential development site back in the early 90s.

The Eagle checked out the archives and ran this story two days ago:

The following sentences were written by this correspondent in late September 1993 and appeared in the Phoenix newspaper at that time.

“For the first time in a public setting, officials from Forest City Ratner Companies and their consultants revealed their plans for the Atlantic Center site.

“Forest City also revealed its desire to expand the project site to include space across Atlantic Avenue from Sixth Avenue west to Flatbush, where they hope to build an office tower over the open Long Island Railroad Tracks. These officials even talked about their vision of a new subway and rail complex.”

This correspondent did not realize, nor did hardly anyone else at the time, that this “public setting,” which was held at the YWCA on Third Avenue on Sept. 21, 1993, was, in part, the first chapter in the book now known as the Atlantic Yards.

Those comments made about the Atlantic Yards were not just passing remarks. This paragraph also appeared in the story:

“When talking about an office tower across from the project [Atlantic Center], Paul Travis pointedly brought up the subject of a federal courthouse complex. The site, above the open rail yards, is one of the five candidate sites for such a structure, and it was clear that this is where Forest City would like for it to go.”

(Obviously, the Yards site was not chosen for the federal courthouse, nor was it later chosen for the state courthouse. The court community wanted these courts close to the legal center in Downtown Brooklyn.)

There were other comments at this meeting 16 years ago that suggested the future course. “Calling Flatbush Avenue the ‘spine of Brooklyn,’ Stan Eckstut, a consultant to Forest City, also said that the Atlantic Center area is the ‘center of Brooklyn’.”

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NoLandGrab: Presented with such evidence, it will be hard to make the case that Bruce Ratner WASN'T a favored developer and that the seizing of private property for this private project was the result of a carefully drawn up city planning process. Now it will be up to the remaining property owners to prove the case in court.

Posted by lumi at November 24, 2006 6:36 AM