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May 8, 2010

'Real' last holdouts to Nets’ Brooklyn arena project move out

New York Post

This is somewhat strange coverage of the Ahmed family moving from their Dean Street home.

As the Post first reported Tuesday, the Ahmeds nearly threw the $4.9 billion project for a loop after they emerged from their residence at 481 Dean Street days earlier and demanded more money to leave before the block could be razed.

Here is a claim that the ESDC, tool of developer Bruce Ratner, somehow didn't know the Ahmeds were still in residence.

Neither developer Forest City Ratner, nor the state – which had previously seized other private land for the controversial plan to build the Nets’ arena and 16 residential/commercial space towers – had been aware anyone was still living there.

The article ends with an odd statement about the Atlantic Yards project:

The timetable for the rest of Atlantic Yards, however, remains unclear because of the national credit crunch.

NoLandGrab: The timetable really isn't that unclear. The development agreement allows for a 20-year buildout. Maybe the credit crunch makes things uncertain, but so does the lack of need for any new condos or office space anytime soon.

link

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Post: "Real last holdouts" move out; "sources" leak details on settlement; details, explanation still murky

Norman Oder finds the Post coverage puzzling.

The New York Post's Rich Calder quotes "sources close to the project" that the Ahmed family of 481 Dean Street (described as "worn-out" but looking pretty sturdy) finally left yesterday:

And complicating matters was a document that recently surfaced showing Aisha [Ahmed] became the true property owner through a divorce settlement, sources said. Because of that, she is expected to receive a sweet settlement worth "several million dollars" for vacating by today, instead of holding up the long-delayed project through eviction proceedings, a source said.

The family is also expected to get more than $250,000 in relocation costs. The developer has provided tenants within the 22-acre project footprint $85,000 per family to relocate, but Aisha was able to squeeze out three times that by demanding her two children also be considered leaseholders, sources said.

Given that no source is identified, all the details should be taken with a grain of salt. The $85,000 payment, for example, was for renters, so if Aisha Ahmed's the owner she wouldn't get it.

...

Calder writes:

Neither developer Forest City Ratner, nor the state – which had previously seized other private land for the controversial plan to build the Nets’ arena and 16 residential/commercial space towers – had been aware anyone was still living there.

In fact, state officials and the developer were under the impression that Aisha’s ex-husband, Naseer Ahmed, who is listed in city records as the building’s owner, agreed to sell so the project could proceed. But that never happened.

Again, this is confusing. It wasn't hard to notice the Ahmed family on Dean Street when attending, for example, a rally outside Freddy's Bar & Backroom nearby.

And it wasn't that the state "seized other private land," the Ahmed home at 481 Dean Street was part of the condemnation petition.

There's more to the story.

Posted by steve at May 8, 2010 7:43 AM