« ACORN takes $1.5 Million from Ratner | Main | What’s in a Name? A Mets-Citi Bond »

December 4, 2008

DDDB Press Release: Ratner Delays His Own Project

Developer Forest City Ratner Halts All Work In Atlantic Yards Footprint Due to Financial Difficulties

It's Time for the Paterson Administration to Pull the Plug on Ratner's Failing Plan

BROOKLYN, NY— Developer Forest City Ratner has halted all work on the proposed Atlantic Yards project site in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Specifically the developer has abruptly stopped work on building a new rail yard that would sit under a portion of development. The work stoppage was reported yesterday on the Atlantic Yards Report and today in the New York Daily News.

"Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project is clearly in a dire financial situation. There is no other way to explain why the developer has halted work on the only part of his Atlantic Yards plan unencumbered by litigation. He is delaying his own project because of a serious lack of financing," said Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) spokesman Daniel Goldstein."

While no construction had started on the beleaguered development plan, the developer's contractors had been working on building a new rail yard before dismantling the active Vanderbilt Rail Yard. That work, preliminary to construction of the Atlantic Yards project, was due to be completed in December 2007. But now, in December 2008, it is well behind schedule and requires substantially more work. Despite that substantial delay in early stage work, the developer has halted all work on the rail yard. All other demolition and infrastructure work has also been halted.

Ratner does not own the land he needs to build his proposed arena and superblock skyscrapers, and he does not have the financing to build any part of the project. The Daily News also reported today that the developer does not own the rights to the MTA's Vanderbilt Rail Yard (8 acres of the 22-acre project site) as he has not closed on his agreement to purchase them for $100 million, which is well below their $214.5 million appraised value.

DDDB's Goldstein said that Ratner's work stoppage is a clear and urgent sign that the Paterson Administration has to act now.

Goldstein said, "Speculation and overdevelopment are a key cause of the current economic crisis. New York City and State can no longer support Ratner's non viable and highly speculative luxury housing plan and frivolous billion dollar arena."

"It is two years since Ratner's plan was approved and now he is halting work and clearly short on funds. It is long past time for our elected leaders to pull the plug on the project. Then, together with the MTA, they should divide the rail yards into multiple, manageable parcels that can be put out for bid and bring more revenue to the MTA. The smaller parcels reduce the risk inherent in Ratner's massive project—they can actually be developed and badly needed affordable housing could be realized. Such a strategy is already envisioned in the community developed UNITY Plan, which has been presented to Governor Paterson's economic development officials."

Posted by eric at December 4, 2008 11:25 AM