Friday, March 21, 2008

Atlantic Yards: Miss Brooklyn & Housing to Die as Arena Lives?

Yards Delay Graphic

Late last night, we saw very interesting news in the Times about the Atlantic Yards development. In an interview, developer Bruce Ratner suggests that the economy and credit crisis could scuttle or delay everything in the Atlantic Yards project but the $950 million Nets basketball arena. The Times headline is "Slow Economy Likely to Stall Atlantic Yards." Here are a couple of key passages:
The slowing economy, weighed down by a widening credit crisis, is likely to delay the signature office tower and three residential buildings at the heart of the $4 billion Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, the developer said. “It may hold up the office building,” the developer, Bruce C. Ratner, said in a recent interview. “And the bond market may slow the pace of the residential buildings.”

Mr. Ratner, chief executive of Forest City Ratner, did not specify the kinds of delays possible, but suggested that construction could be put off for years. His comments are his first public indication that the darkening economy has slowed the ambitious project, spanning 22 acres at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues....Mr. Ratner insisted that the Brooklyn office market remained healthy, but he conceded that “until we get a tenant, we won’t start Miss Brooklyn.”

“It’s not going to happen in a nanosecond,” Mr. Ratner said during an interview across Atlantic Avenue from the railyard where he plans to build the arena. “I hope it’s not going to be drawn out. I’d hope that the first residential building will be done within six months of the opening of the arena, and a second one a year after that.”
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? There's an item about Nicolai Ourousoff's analysis below, including the conclusion that an area without Mr. Gehry's towers would be "urban blight" and that the process has been "a betrayal of the public trust." One can find the analysis on Atlantic Yards Report here. Also, No Land Grab has posted a list of bullet points from the story for easy digestion.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So basically what they are telling us is that for 1 billion tax dollars - We will be getting a BasketBall court.

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Marty, since the entire "reason" we were building this arena was to get affordable housing - wink, wink - why are we still bothering to build the arena without the affordable housing?

Wasn't the whole reason we weren't going to build the arena in Coney Island - where it would have fit quite well - was to get affordable housing?

11:57 AM  
Blogger My2Sense said...

Let's see
1 Billion to Ratner for a basketball court.
800 million to Stienbrener for a baseball Field
300 million to the mats for another baseball Field
200 million to the Dolans for a Hockey rink.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Um, everyone complains when the buildings are going to be built b/c the development was too large. Now that its shrinking b/c the time to act has passed, and everyone complains again.

Where do I sign up for season tickets?

3:01 PM  
Blogger Peregrine said...

If this comes true it will be a fact that AYR and DDDB have had a strong hand in bringing the worst nightmare to the Atlantic Yards.
By delaying the process Ratners options may be to sell off pieces of the puzzle. No one knows what will get built and how or if it will work together. A cohesive design may be in jeopardy because of the irresponsible actions of AYR namely the egomaniacal Norman Oder and the blood sucking lawyers hired by DDDB.
As Nicolai Ouroussoff writes in the Times;

So if the decision to proceed with an 18,000-seat basketball arena but to defer or eliminate the four surrounding towers is defensible from a business perspective, it also feels like a betrayal of the public trust.

Mr. Gehry conceived of this bold ensemble of buildings as a self-contained composition — an urban Gesamtkunstwerk — not as a collection of independent structures. Postpone the towers and expose the stadium, and it becomes a piece of urban blight — a black hole at a crucial crossroads of the city’s physical history.


Norman Odor, AYR and DDDB are as responsible for this as Ratner and the subprime debacle.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peregrine, you a comedian? Because you funny!

Don't you get it> the article today is saying that Bruce Ratner doesn't plan on building an integrated project any more. Instead it will be piecemeal, if ever built at all. You know whose fault that is? the incompetent boob who proposed such an inane project in the first place.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Ratner....I am crying as I speak....
I really feel sorry for him.....
Only a billion dollars? Why not charge us taxpayers just a little more and throw us in a little doggie park or something? Has anyone noticed how damn UGLY all the Ratner projects in the Dowtown area are? I mean do we really want MORE development from the guy who brought us the ugliest eye sore shopping MALL with those giant half moon windows on Atlantic Ave across from the AY site, and the mediocre looking boxes now called "Metro Tech??" Is this the developer we want to build us the "densest housing in all of America?" I say NOT. His buildings will look gross and they will be gross because they will face his ugly shopping mall and furthermore, Ratner has ever cared a bit about Brooklyn and never will. For Ratner Brooklyn is an "outer boro" not the world class city we all know it to be. Ratner's plan would ruin Downtown Brooklyn and is a giant financial scandal. If all it takes to get rid of Ratner for good is One Billion green backs and Brooklyn gets to lose him forever and we even get a sports arena out of the deal then I say lets sign the check already, and send him packing. Another developer could do far better job with AY and I'll bet he would not need to seize all those private properties to do it either. Ratner can go design another strip mall in suburbia (forgive me suburbs...say in a desert someplace? let him build his uber dense so-called affordable ugly a-s housing out there and lets leave Brooklyn to the real men and women who still have some common sense, moral decency, and aesthetic taste.

1:05 AM  
Blogger Norman Oder said...

Wow, anonymously brave Pegregrine, you're giving me a lot of credit, even if you can't spell my name right on second reference.

Maybe the rest of the press should've been reporting on the developer's deceptions a little sooner:
http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2007/04/reference-or-fantasy-projected-ten-year.html

2:20 PM  

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