Feb. 1

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Although Forest City Ratner, developer of the $4-billionAtlantic Yards project tells GlobeSt.com that they have no formalcomment at this time as far as a response to this particularpetition, they did note that the company has won 18 consecutivecourt decisions." A spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com that "when westarted we owned 0% of the condos and co-ops and 35% of the rentalunits. Currently we own 89% of the land needed to complete theproject, including 93% of the condos and co-ops--64 of 69--81% ofthe rental units--83 of 102."

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The spokesperson also tells GlobeSt.com that "they have filedand lost this case in the federal court and the federal appeals."At the time the case was dismissed by the US Court of Appeals, FCRCissued a statement saying that the decision was more than anothervictory for Atlantic Yards. "It is a victory for public good andthe importance of investing in diverse communities throughout theCity," said Bruce Ratner, CEO and chairman of FCRC at the time."Atlantic Yards will bring thousands of affordable homes and neededjobs to Brooklyn. We believe, and the courts have repeatedlyagreed, that these are real benefits that will have a significantlypositive impact on the borough and the City."

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Two weeks before that Feb. 1 ruling, the NY State SupremeCourt ruled against opposition in a case involvingenvironmental review procedures. According to a DDDB statement,given the mammoth scale and footprint of the project, AtlanticYards is dependent on the use of eminent domain; it cannot be builtunless Ratner succeeds in wresting the properties from theplaintiffs.

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Plaintiffs filed their original complaint in Oct. 2006. Theirsuit, Goldstein et al v. Pataki et a, named former GovernorPataki, Mayor Bloomberg, the Empire State Development Corp., BruceRatner and others as defendants. The plaintiffs argued that the useof eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards project violates the USConstitution because the taking of their property is not primarilyfor the public's benefit. In 2005 the US Supreme Court issued a 5-4decision in the eminent domain case Kelo v. The City of NewLondon. The plaintiffs, utilizing the majority's decision inKelo, are asking the Supreme Court to take their case andbelieve that the evidence will show that their homes and businessesare being sacrificed for Ratner's benefit, not the public's.

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Although there have been recent questions as to the delay of theAtlantic Yards due to a slowing economy andcontinuing court cases, an FCRC spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com that"we do not believe the previous decisions raise any issues thatwarrant review by the Supreme Court." He adds that the companyexpects to break ground on the $950-million basketball arena forthe Nets later this year. In a GlobeSt.com article on March 25, theFCRC spokesperson told GlobeSt.com that the current businessenvironment "will not determine the final face of this project ordeny the borough and the city its many benefits, including thethousands of units of affordable housing."

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Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of GlobeSt.com and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses GlobeSt.com, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for GlobeSt.com. Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, FashionLedge.com, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including MSNBC.com and Museums New York magazine.