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BROOKLYN, NY-Forest City Ratner Cos. has decided to halt demolition and abatement for its Atlantic Yards project, due to Thursday’s partial collapse of the Ward Bakery Building. At the time, demolition of another building was under way and it remains uncertain what caused the 800 Pacific St. facility to fall.

The unoccupied building has stood vacant for two years, according to FCRC’s Bruce Bender, and the facility was to be demolished by hand once contractors completed abatement. No one was injured.

Bender says, “Safety remains our primary concern and we have been in touch with city and state officials constantly since the partial collapse of the parapet on the Ward Bread Bakery Building on Pacific Street. We are temporarily suspending all abatement and demolition activities until the city’s Department of Buildings concludes its preliminary investigation or the city directs us otherwise.”

Almost immediately after part of the building fell, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) issued a statement calling for demolition to cease. “The Empire State Development Corp. must insist that Forest City Ratner stop all demolition on the project site until this collapse is fully investigated and the building stabilized, and until the public can be assured that there is a proper and responsive state-run site monitoring body in place.”

FCRC likewise issued a statement saying the company was looking into the incident and was committed to ensuring the public safety.

The DDDB has been trying to stop FCRC from moving ahead with the Atlantic Yards project; most recently asking a judge to approve a temporary restraining order to keep the developer from starting work until a court case is heard at the beginning of May. As GlobeSt.com reported, the judge declined to issue the TRO and FCRC announced plans to move ahead with 15 demolitions in the coming weeks.

DDDB and various other local groups filed a lawsuit at the beginning of April against FCRC, the Empire State Development Corp., the Public Authorities Control Board and the MTA. They are asking for a new environmental study to be conducted and the project to go before the PACB again for a vote.

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