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December 10, 2008

Chuck Ratner repudiates cousin Bruce's AY 2018 pledge, says marketplace determines pace of project

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder reports on today's Forest City Enterprises 3rd Quarter earnings conference call.

Despite Bruce Ratner’s pledge in May that “[w]e anticipate finishing all of Atlantic Yards by 2018,” his cousin Chuck Ratner, president and CEO of parent Forest City Enterprises today told investment analysts in a conference call that, while Atlantic Yards would take longer than expected, he couldn’t predict a timeline because it would be determined by the market.

(He was assuming that legal challenges would be cleared.)

Chuck Ratner, who though questioned would not estimate the costs of delay, also reaffirmed the developer’s commitment to the project and declared that city and state officials maintained that commitment. Also, unchallenged by the analysts, he flatly stated that the developer had completed all the work it could at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard.

Ratner's statements about Atlantic Yards--firm commitment at no announced pace--suggest that Forest City is hedging its bets, hoping to attract new investors and/or additional government subsidies.

Click through for FCE's dodgy explanation of why they stopped working on Atlantic Yards last week, their attempts to renegotiate a big loan obligation, and Chuck Ratner's prognostications regarding the future of Cousin Brucie's megaproject.

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NoLandGrab: So Forest City will build Atlantic Yards when market conditions will support it? What about neighborhood conditions?

Politicians in Albany and City Hall and Borough Hall have allowed Forest City to knock down more than two dozen buildings, and half of the Carlton Avenue bridge, blighting the community, cutting it off from adjacent neighborhoods and displacing hundreds of residents, and now the area will lie fallow until it becomes profitable for Forest City to move forward?

That's not even remotely acceptable. It's well past time for Governor Paterson to act in the interest of the people of Brooklyn, and the taxpayers, and pursue a more sensible, sustainable and achievable development program — like the UNITY Plan. Atlantic Yards needs to be removed from life (and public) support.

Posted by eric at December 10, 2008 4:21 PM