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October 28, 2011

Forest City Ratner project in Mill Basin, touched by corruption indictment, "has been withdrawn;" indicted developer had role in City Point, whose lead developer didn't pay bribes but made gifts to Markowitz charities

Atlantic Yards Report

The mayor's office has quietly indicated (as per Queens Crap) the demise of Forest City Ratner's Four Sparrows project, once touted as housing a Wal-Mart:

The Four Sparrow Marsh Retail Center at Mill Basin project has been withdrawn as of September 2011.

It's unclear why, but the project has been tainted by corruption charges.

About 15 acres were to be retail, including an existing Toys 'R' Us, and 46 acres formally mapped as parkland. This fit into Forest City's m.o.: getting the inside track on potentially valuable public property and then getting the zoning changed.
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Does "withdrawn" mean "dead"? Unclear.

Yesterday I queried the NYC Economic Development Corporation, source of the map, but didn't hear back. Their Four Sparrows web page has not been updated, as it says "Construction expected to begin in 2014.

But if the project comes back, there will have to be some new players.

Consider that state Senator Carl Kruger and developer Aaron Malinsky in March were both indicted on corruption charges that included, among several counts, the Mill Basin project. Malinsky was charged with bribing Kruger. Forest City was not charged, though it was enmeshed in an effort to wangle state funds from Kruger.

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Related coverage...

Queens Crap, Ratner project dies silent death

Glory, glory, hallelujah!!!

A Walk in the Park, EDC Cancels Controversial Bruce Ratner Plan To Develop Nature Preserve Into Shopping Mall

New York City claimed that because Four Sparrow Marsh was never officially "mapped" as parkland it can be disposed of and therefore, DPR is not required to protect it. However there are many playgrounds, parklands and natural areas throughout New York City that have never been mapped, yet these sites are recognized and protected as parkland. Mapping is only one factor that is used to determine whether land can be legally protected under the Public Trust Doctrine, use is another factor. Since the entire site has always been used as parkland, it therefore should be protected under Public Trust Doctrine. The new, proposed retail use is clearly a non-park use.

The Real Deal, Ratner's Mill Basin retail project withdrawn

The Bloomberg administration has withdrawn its controversial plans to permit developer Bruce Ratner to transform public parkland in the Mill Basin part of Brooklyn into a shopping mall, A Walk in the Park blog reported, announcing the withdrawal on the Office of Environmental Coordination's website.

Posted by eric at October 28, 2011 2:13 PM