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May 6, 2008

DDDB PRESS RELEASE: New Frank Gehry Atlantic Yards Design:
"Ridiculous" Design Has No Impact on Stalled Project

Renderings Only Show Phase 1 of Project

Leaving Out Bulk of "Affordable" Housing

BROOKLYN, NY— Today Forest City Ratner and its architect Frank Gehry released new designs for a portion of the $4 billion Atlantic Yards proposal in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The architectural renderings show a new design for the project’s proposed arena and 2 other buildings in Phase 1 of the project. But the developer shows no rendering at all for Phase 2--the larger part of the project--which is planned to encompass about 78% of the 2,250 "affordable" units. A State Funding Agreement provides no timeline whatsoever for Phase 2 and the developer has not provided a credible timeline for Phase 2.

"The new design from Frank Gehry is no better than the last--in reality it has gone from the absurd to the ridiculous aesthetically and programmatically," said Ron Shiffman, Professor, Pratt Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment and a New York City Planning Commissioner [1990-1996]. The fact that there isn’t a new design released for Phase 2 concerns me greatly. It seems like there is no plan for the bulk of the affordable housing, which would be in Phase 2. To destroy buildings of significant quality that could house people and jobs for what looks like an open-ended series of parking lots, rather than housing that could be affordable to low and moderate income area residents, is terrible planning and policy."

The New York Daily News published the Frank Gehry renderings as an exclusive. The paper reports that the so-called "Miss Brooklyn" signature skyscraper, is now called simply "Building 1." The reduction of that tower from 620 feet to 511 feet was announced as a "concession" on December 20, 2006 when the project was approved by the Public Authorities Control Board. Today marks the first time the reduction has been shown in a rendering. The rendering does not show the project’s massive scale as it relates to the surrounding neighborhood; its only context is a dark void explaining nothing about the projects context.

The NY Post published exclusive renderings from the Municipal Art Society (MAS) which show the project fully built out within the existing neighborhood context, as well as built only in part (an arena. and one building) surrounded by newly demolished, blighting parking lots. Apparently the MAS renderings were motivated by the March 21 NY Times interview with Mr. Ratner where the developer described the trouble he was having getting his project off the ground.

"Mr. Gehry and Mr. Ratner can release redesigns of Atlantic Yards’s buildings every week if they’d like, but that wouldn’t respond to the core reasons for the widespread opposition to the project," said Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein. "The new designs are a fantasy. The project lacks committed financing (including tax-free housing bonds and a bond for the arena), an anchor tenant, and the land needed for the project, while Ratner faces vigorous litigation, a frightening credit market and exponential increases in construction costs. His project is in serious jeopardy. So when he says he ‘anticipates’ it will be completed in 2018, it's simply not credible. It means nothing."

DEVELOP DON'T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community coalition fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing and destroying them DDDB is 501c3 non-profit corporation supported by over 4,000 individual donors from the community.

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Posted by lumi at May 6, 2008 4:18 AM