« Dear Bruce, Wish you were here! | Main | When recession means one less private jet »

March 23, 2008


Blogosphere108.jpg News that Bruce Ratner admitted to The Times that all phases of his controversial Atlantic Yards plan has stalled — except for the arena, which is merely very behind schedule — started a tsunami of commentary in the Blogosphere:

Lost City, Thing That Was Never Gonna Happen Isn't Going to Happen

New York City has always had its economic ups and downs, and we've been due a recession for some time now. And recessions kill big projects like this. So, here's our recession, and, right on schedule, here's Ratner stunning us with news that the stalled economy could force him to curtail his grand plan. No Miss Brooklyn office tower (always hated that name; embarrassing); many fewer residential skyscrapers. Wow. You mean all that non-building we've seen going on downtown for a year actually meant something—meant that nothing is getting built. Wow. I mean, Wow.

Ratner is still pretty certain that we'll see a new stadium for the Nets. Construction will start by the end of the year, he said. But, I don't know. It's still a recession and it doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon. And a $950 million stadium costs $950 million, last time I checked.

Dope on the Slope, Goodbye Jumbo???

Well the big news for Brooklyn today revolves around the incredible shrinking white elephant known as the Atlantic Yards development.
While the "affordable housing" component of the project may be evaporating (as if it wasn't all smoke to begin with), one dimension of the project is swelling to super-jumbo proportions - the public subsidies.

Brownstoner, Endangered AY

This morning the Times has a couple articles about Atlantic Yards that more or less boil down to the following: Aspects of the mega-project aside from the Nets arena are likely to be delayed or go unrealized...

As usual, there's lots of action in the Brownstoner comments section, including two requisite "D-O-N-E-D-E-A-Ls" countered by two "U-N-D-O-N-E-D-E-A-Ls."

The Gowanus Lounge, Atlantic Yards: Miss Brooklyn & Housing to Die as Arena Lives?
Inquiring minds want to know:

Is it simply an extended timetable? Is Mr. Ratner looking for deeper public subsidies for the project? Will much of the project's affordable housing be tossed, which opponents have long predicted? Will he carve up the site and sell portions that are now being cleared to other developers? Will the land the state allowed to be cleared long before it would ever be developed sit fallow for years to come?

The Gowanus Lounge, Brooklinks: Atlantic Yards Stall Special
We copped a bunch of these blog links from GoLo's list, posted on Saturday.

It's hard to say right now whether the stall is a stall in the sense of the car needing to be towed to the shop for some work or needed to be taken to the scrapyard and put in a crusher.

Nets Daily, Nets’ Billion Dollar Arena

Even before surging construction costs, the Nets’ new Brooklyn arena, aka Barclays Center, was going to be the world’s most expensive. Now, Bruce Ratner estimates the arena, which he still says will start this summer, could cost close to $1 billion, up from a $637 million estimate last year and double its original projected cost. Critics say the changes should require a new review for the whole project.

The related comments are worth reading, as Nets fans argue the likelihood of the team being put back on the auction block, moved to Newark, or even to another market.

Curbed, CurbedWire: Special Atlantic Yards Stall React-o-Matic Edition
Marty is "confident" and Bertha has "every confidence" in Bruce. Dan calls for new governmental review.

Green Brooklyn, Ratner Accepts Reality, Folds Up Most of Atlantic Yards

Long-time readers of GBK know that I don’t talk much about the project because I really can’t even stand to think about it — never mind the scorn I have already heaped on the hideous Miss Brooklyn.
To say this is great news is a huge understatement. AY was $435M, now $950M. Uh huh. It went from being the story of the year in 2007 and maybe again in 2008 to being just a stadium minus all the horrific baggage.

Waterfront Preservation Alliance of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, A Cautionary Tale

The reports about the potential demise of Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project should serve as a cautionary tale for North Brooklyn. We too have been promised much, but little has been delivered. Yet still developers flock to Williamsburg and Greenpoint promising us the moon.

Nicolai Ouroussoff is right when he says that the public trust has been betrayed. Brooklyn was promised an architectural tour-de-force in Frank Gehry's design. And whether you like the overall Atlantic Yards plan or not, if only the arena gets built, we are getting ripped off culturally.

Brooklyn Streets, Carroll Gardens, Wither Atlantic Yards?

Yes, that's wither, not whither. It seems the project that Brooklyn loves to hate may be dying on the vine, so to speak.
This project from the start was a disaster in the making: a naked giveaway to a politically connected developer, a boondoggle of taxpayer financing for a sports arena, an egregious misuse of eminent domain, and a complete disregard for the community's input.

Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn, Times' Architecture Critic Packs a Punch Re: Atlantic Yards
OTBKB comments on the scathing critique of Bruce Ratner's flailing Atlantic Yards project by NY Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff:

Many were lured by the promise of Gehry greatness. Myself included. But as the project evolved and was revealed to be the bloated mess that it is, faith even in the artfulness of Frank Gehry began to wane.

For me, Miss Brooklyn was one thing. But the residential towers were always a big mistake. Even Ouroussoff seems to agree with that assessment now.

The Gowanus Lounge, Atlantic Yards as "A Betrayal of the Public Trust"?

Times architecture critic Nicolai Ourousoff calls the possible slowing or cancellation of parts of the huge Atlantic Yards project noted in today's Times "a painful setback for urban planning in New York." He also calls it "a betrayal of the public trust" and the possible arena that will result "a piece of urban blight." We would use similar phrases, and have, but for vastly different reasons.

One Way Street, Junking Up Atlantic Yards
A blogger in Chicago sounds off:

This morning Nicolai Ouroussoff fired off an anguished response to the announcement that the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn may be gutted. Ouroussoff goes so far as to publicly urge Frank Gehry, the project's architect, to walk away from the project. The lessons of the aesthetic collapse of the Atlantic Yards project are manifold (that's assuming the reductions in project scope and budget go through), but one question worth asking is, When are these large-scale projects ever a good idea?

Music Heat XL, Economic Crunch May Stall Jay-Z And Partners

The ambitious $4 billion Atlantic Yards project, which is expected to include 8 million square feet of apartments, stores and offices, is the latest victim of the current economic downturn. The development has made headlines recently for drawing opposition from many Brooklyn residents, and has also spawned a $5 billion reparations suit from a resident.



Meg Blog, No More Miss Brooklyn?

Those who know me know that I think the scale of the Atlantic Yards project is ridiculous, so I was happy to read that Ratner is sheepishly admitting to the New York Times that maybe, possibly he’ll be chucking huge sections of it, including the main office tower “Miss Brooklyn.”

Off all the victims of the current credit crisis, none could be more deserving.

CelebDay.com, The Economic Downturn South Brooklynites Have Been Waiting For [Atlantic Yards]

Go to any bar in south Brooklyn and start hating on Atlantic Yards and you'll be talking about developing, not destroying Brooklyn in the morning. Still, it must be said: the part of downtown Brooklyn that Ratner wants to destroy is a dump. Of course it's dubious that a Nets stadium, which Ratner wants to start construction on this year, will make the area any nicer.

New A's Ballpark, Nets' project faces delay
Someone in Oakland is keeping an eye on what's going down in Brooklyn:

From at least a business and economic standpoint, the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn is one to watch as a forerunner of the A's ballpark village. While its scope and associated controversy have been far greater, Atlantic Yards still bears watching due to its basic similarities. Thanks to the economic downturn - er, recession, the first ancillary phase of the project faces delay.

Almost Hypergraphic, You can have your conscience all you want
Reaction to news that the arena will now cost a mere $950 million:

headdesk That’s $950 million from damn taxes.

Who didn’t see this coming?

NoLandGrab: It's not being exactly paid for by "damn taxes." Rather that's tax-free bonds, which are paid back by tax revenues generated by the project, which under normal circumstances are "damn taxes."

Clinton Hill Blog, Atlantic Yards Delayed Due to Economics!

"Lesterhead" kept it short and sweet:

Happy news here in the NYT today about the delay of Atlantic Yards.

THE FOOD OF THE FUTURE, atlantic yards
A blogger who recently had a sublet a block from the footprint of Atlantic Yards posted two polariods.

Posted by lumi at March 23, 2008 10:53 AM