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May 4, 2007

Collapse at Yards stalls Ratner’s wrecking balls

The Brooklyn Paper

Demolition activity in the footprint of Bruce Ratner's controversial Atlantic Yards plan was suspended in the wake of the partial collapse of the Ward Bakery building, where workers were performing asbestos abatement:

City environmental and buildings officials rushed to the scene after the rubble crashed to the street. Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, said some material in the debris “is known to contain asbestos.”

“The company doing the asbestos abatement work was told to clean it up, and they did,” Michaels added.

Local politicians called for more oversight, to which the Empire State Development Corporation responded:

...that the agency is “still in the middle of a search for a monitor that will oversee construction.”

The spokesman, Errol Cockfield, added that the controversial consulting firm AKRF is serving as an “interim environmental monitor.”

AKRF is the city-hired firm that recently issued a much-maligned report that argued that seven houses on Duffield Street in Downtown Brooklyn could be torn down because they do not have a link to the Underground Railroad.

“Oh, not that firm again,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Prospect Heights) when told that AKRF was working at the Yards site.

NoLandGrab: AKRF is also the firm hired by Ratner to produced the 4,000-page Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement.

Community groups had 66 days to review the 4,000-page document and submit commentary. On the 125th day of the Spitzer administration, it is now 88 days since the ESDC announced they were going to hire an environmental compliance monitor.

With demolition halted on the Ward Bakery, Ratner’s wrecking crew made short work of three buildings this week.

The three buildings — which stand between Dean Street and Fifth Avenue — were the still intact after an Atlantic Yards protest on April 23. But a few days later, one of the buildings was gone and another was partially demolished.

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn noted that demolition continued on these three buildings, on the same day the demolition suspension was announced.


Posted by lumi at May 4, 2007 9:47 AM