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December 3, 2008

Breaking News: Construction work stopped, ACORN bailout, NJ Nets and deathwatch

A couple important stories about Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards broke during the past 24 hours. We've posted them on NoLandGrab as they came in, but to recap, here's the skinny.

According to the Atlantic Yards Construction Update, all work on the railyards has ceased.

Norman Oder reports that an ESDC spokesperson blamed ongoing litigation, even though developer Forest City Ratner pledged to continue railyard work while litigation was pending.

No one is buying that explanation, especially Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn. The group noted that this was "the one piece of his floundering project Ratner can work on unencumbered" by lawsuits.

Conventional wisdom is that Ratner is strapped for cash.

Which leads us to the next item — Anita MonCrief, a former ACORN insider, reported that Forest City Ratner gave Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) signatory ACORN a $500,000 "grant" and a $1,000,000 low-interest loan.

So all the signatories of the Atlantic Yards CBA have received financial support from the developer, what's the big deal? The deal is that these groups are supposed to represent the COMMUNITY. This makes it look like the signatories were just in it for themselves.

Norman Oder mentions that neither organization promoted their new partnership. Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn expects that ACORN "will continue to support and promote the Atlantic Yards project no matter how putrid it becomes."

Despite the fact that Norman Oder posted his article about Ratner's loan and gift to ACORN yesterday afternoon, so far, no mainstream media organizations have picked up the story.

Nets CEO Brett Yormark is denying rumors that he is being courted by the Miami Dolphins and still insists that the Nets are moving to Brooklyn for the 2011-12 season, even though all work on the non-litigation-encumbered portion of the Atlantic Yards project has been halted without a realistic explanation. Yormark should take the Miami deal and jump the sinking ship before things get worse.

Things have just gotten worse — Sports Business News reports that a survey ranked Ratner's NJ Nets as the third worst brand in professional sports, which explains why Brooklyn is having a hard time getting excited about the team in the first place and Yormark can't give away enough tickets to fill the arena.

In case you're wondering, the Atlantic Yards Deathwatch clock has counted "1820 Days, 01 Hours, 44 Minutes, 56 Seconds SINCE THE ATLANTIC YARDS PROPOSAL WAS UNVEILED TO THE PUBLIC, AND IS STILL NOT UNDER CONSTRUCTION." In dog years, that's like... a long time.

Posted by lumi at December 3, 2008 6:19 AM