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November 30, 2011

Forbes feature on Gilmartin (and Pavlova) repeats developer's talking points, revisionist history

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder sprinkles a little cold water on MaryAnne Gilmartin's version of events, as told to Forbes.

Forbes.com, in a feature aimed for its ForbesWoman channel, offers Meet The Women Behind The Brooklyn Nets, focusing on Forest City Ratner's MaryAnne Gilmartin and Onexim's Irina Pavlova.

Writes Jenna Goudreau, transcribing without skepticism Gilmartin's self-serving account:

Gilmartin, 47, has been a commercial real estate developer with Forest City for 17 years—seemingly as long as this project’s been in the works. The firm purchased the Nets in 2004, she explains, with the intention of bringing them to Brooklyn and building a state-of-the-art sports complex and 15 residential buildings over an old rail line running through the borough’s center. Rigorous public reviews, resident protests and holdouts, 35 lawsuits and a volatile economy resulted in years of delays.

Here's what Gilmartin said, on the video below:

"So this project has been in the planning since 1994, when we purchased the New Jersey Nets, with the intention of bringing them to Brooklyn, to build a new home for professional sports and also to build thousands of units of housing. There are over 35 lawsuits associated with the project, and that cost us time and the process that we went through to resolve those lawsuits and to work through the public approvals I think resulted in a better project."
...

What's wrong: the timetable

How could the writer suggest that this project has been in the works some 17 years, since 1994? Because Gilmartin, in either an error or a Freudian slip, said the project "has been in the planning since 1994, when we purchased the New Jersey Nets."

That year, of course, was 2004, but the planning for this specific project began well before then, at least two years earlier. And, as I reported in 2006, the Nets did approach Forest City Ratner in the early 1990s to buy the team and move it to Brooklyn.

What's wrong: the project configuration and location

Actually, the initial plans were not for "15 residential buildings," as Goudreau wrote, nor merely to "build thousands of units of housing." Forest City Ratner promised 10,000 office jobs in four office towers.

Nor would the project be "over an old rail line running through the borough’s center." Rather, less than 40% of the site would be over an existing rail yard used to store and service trains.

What's wrong: rigorous public review

Goudreau, not Gilmartin, called the process "rigorous public reviews." Nope, not when the state said Ratner could build the project in ten years, while Ratner now says it was never possible.

What's wrong: 35 lawsuits

Now, there weren't 35 lawsuits. Not even close.

Read on for more debunking.

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NoLandGrab: Is it us, or is MaryAnne Gilmartin starting to make Jim Stuckey sound like a stickler for the truth?

Posted by eric at November 30, 2011 12:11 PM