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April 1, 2011

Cash-Strapped Forest City Ratner Sells 49% Stake in Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal Malls

The L Magazine
by Mark Asch

Bruce Ratner's company has sold a 49% interest in 15 NYC shopping centers, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. This includes the Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal malls, those two monstrosities across Flatbush from the project which has put Ratner into such dire financial straits.

As if the implications of the sale—the largest possible non-controlling stake in privately owned, healthy income-generating retail developments—weren't clear enough, graf 2 of the WSJ article notes, with killing objectivity, "The sale... comes as Forest City has been hobbled by major development projects that were started at the market's peak, when prices and expectations were far higher than they are today." (One thing they don't mention: this isn't the first time Ratner's sold off assets to keep Atlantic Yards moving. Remember that time he sold his basketball team to the richest man in Russia?)
...

Ratner, you may recall, had several blocks of Prospect Heights declared "blighted" so that the state could claim eminent domain to hand them over to him. Ratner and the state's urban renewal project apparently consists of letting huge swaths of the neighborhood remain vacant and undeveloped indefinitely, or at least until he can find a few million more pennies under the couch.

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Related coverage...

Park Slope Patch, Ratner Sells Big Stake in Atlantic Terminal Mall

Madison International, a real estate private equity firm, will pay the developer’s company, Forest City Ratner, $172 million for properties that include both Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal. Madison will also take on $499.9 million of debt.

Ratner will retain the majority share and continue to manage the properties, including the Atlantic Terminal Mall.

Ratner’s plans for 16-tower mini-city and basketball arena at Atlantic and Flatbush avenues was on the brink of financial ruin in 2008 when the economy tanked. Since then, the original architect of the project, Frank Gehry, has been fired, and the developer has said the project could be completed in 25 years, rather than the original 10 years.

Posted by eric at April 1, 2011 11:01 AM