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January 9, 2009

Atlantic Yards: Is Pride Driving Ratner?

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Editorial
by Raanan Geberer

Actually, we think it's another of the Seven Deadly Sins: Greed.

Although sketchy, and often from biased news sources, reports keep filtering in about Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project getting bogged down in problems with construction financing (stemming from the current recession) and lawsuits.

NoLandGrab: "Sketchy, and often from biased news sources?" You mean like the Eagle's frequent and dutiful reprinting of Forest City Ratner press releases?

Ratner admitted there were problems in a statement last year, although he insisted that the project would be built. Against this, though, you have the matter of the constantly changing deadline – at first, ground was supposed to be broken in 2006, then in 2008, now in 2009.

You also have the sketchy reports, although not confirmed, of Frank Gehry Architects laying off about 20-plus architects and other staffers who were working on Atlantic Yards. Forest City Ratner declined to comment on these reports.

The reports are only "sketchy" because neither Ratner nor Gehry will provide direct and honest answers to inquiries.

This leads one to ask: Is Bruce Ratner’s desire to be acknowledged as a great developer and leader the main force in stubbornly keeping this project on the table?
...

If Bruce Ratner doesn’t have the resources to complete the giant Atlantic Yards project, he should have the courage to either downsize it — limiting it to the arena and a few other buildings of lesser height than previously envisioned — or sell the land to other developers.

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NLG: If being a "biased news source" means questioning the propriety of tossing a billion-plus dollars of public money at a giant eminent domain-abusing boondoggle, then we'll proudly wear that moniker.

As for the Eagle's call for Ratner to "courageously" limit the project to an arena and a few buildings, that's precisely what most critics of the project don't want. Ratner's Atlantic Yards was deceptively sold as an affordable-housing, job-creating project characterized by world-class design. The arena is the main traffic generator and neighborhood disrupter, and the worst part of the whole scheme. And now the Eagle is being complicit in the bait-and-switch.

Posted by eric at January 9, 2009 10:49 AM