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March 8, 2012

Forest City's Sanna gets the star treatment in the Real Deal, which ignores hardball regarding 8 Spruce Street, Ratner's self-blame for Atlantic Center mall design

Atlantic Yards Report

In Power behind the throne: The lieutenants pulling the strings for NYC’s top real estate chiefs, Forest City Ratner construction chief Bob Sanna gets to pose (or be Photoshopped?) nobly in front of the Atlantic Yards arena.

But the article, which places Sanna first among the nine profiled "wingmen," hardly says anything about the Atlantic Yards arena, not timetable challenges, rodent proliferation, or the difficulties in getting that custom weathered metal exterior done.

Nor does it saying anything about Sanna's crusade in his New Jersey hometown to fight an allegedly out-of-scale building.

From this point forward, we'll never refer to Bruce Ratner without preceding it with the modifier "Poor":

Spinning Atlantic Center

The article continues:

Sanna said his regrets, so far, are few, like wishing that the Atlantic Center mall in Brooklyn, for instance, had more windows. But when it was constructed in the late 1990s, Forest City capitulated to the demands of their big-box retail tenants, who were convinced that only replicas of their suburban stores would work.

“Poor Bruce was being forced to conform to lease requirements of these suburban stores,” said Sanna, who prefers what Home Depot did on West 23rd Street in fitting their store to an existing, more traditional space. “It’s a whole different level of sophistication.”

Sure, there's a push and pull between tenants and builders, especially in the 1990s, but "Poor Bruce"? He actually blames himself. Kurt Andersen, in his 11/20/05 New York magazine Imperial City column, wrote:

Until now, most of Ratner’s buildings have ranged from the uninspired to the bad, like his shopping center across from the Atlantic Yards. Even he admits the Atlantic Center mall is “not up to snuff. Philip Johnson did a first design, but I made a decision not to use him. I have to blame myself. I’ve been talking for ten years about trying to use ‘design architects’ instead of ‘developer architects.’”

article

NoLandGrab: That ridiculous photo calls to mind this iconic Arnold Newman picture of Robert Moses.

Photo: The Real Deal

Related content...

The Real Deal, Power behind the throne: The lieutenants pulling the strings for NYC’s top real estate chiefs

At Forest City Ratner, decisions about where to locate a building — on Spruce Street in the case of New York by Gehry, or at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn for the under-construction Barclays Center — are made by Bruce Ratner, chairman, and MaryAnne Gilmartin, vice president.

But figuring out what the building will cost, how much time it will take to build and what it will look like are the responsibilities of Bob Sanna. While Ratner and Gilmartin are the faces of the company, Sanna, an architect by training, is the construction manager and point person for all the company’s high-profile projects.

Posted by eric at March 8, 2012 10:55 AM