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BROOKLYN, NY-Today the Federal District Court here ruled in favor of Forest City Ratner Cos. and various government groups. District judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled that the eminent domain case did belong in the federal court, going against an earlier ruling from magistrate judge Robert Levy, but that the plaintiffs complaint was insufficient.

“Today’s decision is an important victory not only for Atlantic Yards but for Brooklyn as well. This decision means we are one step closer to creating over 2,200 units of affordable housing, thousands of construction and office jobs and bringing the Nets to Brooklyn,” says Bruce Ratner, president and CEO of FCRC.

The lawsuit, titles Goldstein v. Pataki, was organized primarily by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, a local community group composed of many current residents in the area where FCRC is planning to develop. The plaintiffs were 13 residential and business owners who object to the use of eminent domain to seize their property for the planned mixed-use development. These residents filed against FCRC as well as the former Gov. George Pataki, the Empire State Development Corp., Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

While Garaufis granted the defendants request to dismiss the case, DDDB plans to fight back. “We will appeal the ruling,” says the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Matthew Brinckerhoff. “We are confident that the appellate court will allow this case to proceed to trial, at which the citizens of New York will finally learn the real reason plaintiffs’ properties were selected to be forcibly taken, and why Ratner was chosen to reap an unprecedented financial windfall.”

DDDB’s legal team coordinator Candace Carponter, continues saying, “We will continue to pursue every single legal option available to the plaintiffs, wherever they lead us, to stop what we believe is a private taking in violation of the US Constitution.”

The Atlantic Yards project was first introduced in 2003. After revisions to the initial plan and much public debate, the current plan will take a 22-acre part of Brooklyn and transform it into a mixed-use area that will include a stadium for the New Jersey Nets basketball team. Architect Frank Gehry is the master designer for the entire project, which includes 16 high-rise buildings, more than 6,000 residential units, 247,000 sf of retail and eight acres of public parks.

FCRC halted demolition for the project in April after a partial building collapse. A spokeswoman for the company tells GlobeSt.com demolition has started up again and FCRC is working closely with the ESDC and DOB to ensure the safety of those in the area and working on the project.

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