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July 13, 2011

Court Says State Erred in Ratner Plan Review

The Wall Street Journal
by Eliot Brown

New York state's development agency erred in granting a 2009 approval to developer Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards basketball arena and housing project by not first conducting a thorough environmental review, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling is a rebuke to the agency, the Empire State Development Corp., which approved the use of eminent domain to make way for the controversial Brooklyn development in 2006. The agency also re-approved a slowed-down version of the project after Mr. Ratner renegotiated the deal in 2009.

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Related coverage...

Park Slope Patch, Judge Calls for Additional Review of Atlantic Yards Project

“While we disagree with the decision,“ said Joe DePlasco, a spokesperson for the developer, “it does not stop us from continuing work on the project and will not impact our current construction schedule. The arena is scheduled to open, as planned, in September, 2012 and we are working aggressively to start the residential portion of the project.”

NoLandGrab: If by "working aggressively" DePlasco means "doing absolutely nothing," then, yes, by all means, they're "working aggressively" [ ;-) ;-)] on the residential portion of the project.

Gothamist, Judge Orders Review Of Atlantic Yards Phase II

Judge Friedman ruled that the "ESDC's use of the 10 year build date in approving the 2009 Modified General Project Plan (MGPP) lacked a rational basis and was arbitrary and capricious," and that the ESDC failed to evaluate the impact of extensive delays for Phase II of the project. Phase I is already underway and involves the construction of a big basketball arena and beautiful sprawling parking lots. Phase II consists of the mixed-use residential and retail buildings with the low-income housing developer Bruce Ratner used to sugarcoat the project.

NY Post, Judge rips ESDC over Atlantic Yards, orders review of project’s second phase

Besides the arena, the rest of Atlantic Yards is on hold due to insuccifient financing, so critics say the judge’s decision could be a nail in the coffin for Ratner completing the project.

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, The Looooong Back Story on Today's Court Ruling on Ratner's Atlantic Yards

Today's NY State Supreme Court ruling against the Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner, condemning them for their irrational review of the Atlantic Yards project and ordering the state agency to conduct a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Phase II of the project has a loooooong and winding backstory that couldn't possibly be captured in soundbites, press releases or print stories (or most blogs for that matter).

So leave it to Norman Oder, on his Atlantic Yards Report, to give the ins and outs of the sad history of this case which came down against the powerbrokers today.

About.com (Brooklyn, NY), Atlantic Yards: David Just Got Goliath (well, temporarily)

Synchronicity is a funny thing; I was just about to write a blog item urging everyone to go to the Brooklyn Heights Cinema to catch the last few showings of a movie about the Atlantic Yards debacle, called Battle for Brooklyn (not to be confused with the actual Revolutionary War Battle of Brooklyn). When...pop!... into my email falls a press release so excited it nearly jumped off the cyber page, announcing a 9th inning change of fortune for Atlantic Yard community activists.

Gotham Gazette (The Wonkster), Judge Orders Another Look at Atlantic Yards

The judge did not halt construction of the arena – although that has morphed too — from a Frank Gehry landmark to a generic box. And Norman Oder writes in Atlantic Yards report, the judge did give the state and the developer, “significant breathing room” by not issuing a stay to top Phase II.

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill], Judge Orders Further Review On Atlantic Yards Development

Michael Galinsky, the co-director of the documentary “Battle for Brooklyn” and a contributor to The Local, said he hopes that today’s decision will bring more government oversight to the Atlantic Yards project.

Reuters, New York court stalls second phase of Brooklyn arena project

The grass roots group that sued the developer, Forest City Ratner Companies, to halt or modify the Atlantic Yards project said the court decision is a "golden opportunity" for Governor Andrew Cuomo to overhaul the costly project.

A spokesman for the Democratic governor had no comment.

Posted by eric at July 13, 2011 9:45 PM