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BROOKLYN, NY-The US Supreme Court denied the petition to grant a hearing to 11 property owners and tenants who asked the court to hear their appeal on the Second Circuit Court‘s dismissal of their challenge to the use of eminent domain for Forest City Ratner’s $4 billion Atlantic Yards development proposal in Prospect Heights here. The petition asked the Court to address the appropriate constitutional limits on the government’s power to seize private homes for the benefit of powerful real estate developers like Bruce Ratner.

According to a statement from the plaintiffs, they intend to pursue the eminent domain challenge in state court under New York State law. The plaintiffs say that their claim “remains sound,” despite the ruling. Attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, who is representing the plaintiffs, says that “now we will turn to the state courts to vindicate our rights. We will soon file an action in New York state court under state law as we were expressly permitted to do by the rulings of the federal courts.”

According to a statement issued Monday by Bruce Ratner, the CEO and chairman of FCRC, applauded the court’s decision. “The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, affirmed the State’s right to use eminent domain relating to Atlantic Yards. In February, the Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, unanimously affirmed the District Court’s decision in a case brought by opponents of the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn on the grounds that the use of eminent domain violates the Public Use Clause of the Fifth Amendment, as GlobeSt.com previously reported.

“We believe, and the courts have repeatedly agreed, that Atlantic Yards provides significant public benefits including thousands of affordable homes and much needed jobs for Brooklyn,” Ratner says in the release. “We are gratified that the Supreme Court has decided to put an end to this lawsuit. The opponents have now lost 20 court decisions relating to Atlantic Yards and we are now one step closer to making these benefits a reality for the borough and the City.”

According to FCRC, construction work on Atlantic Yards began in Feb. 2007. FCRC expects to open the Barclays Center in the 2010 calendar year. To date, roughly 53% of the structures on the site have been demolished or are in the process of being demolished. There are 11 vacant lots and 29 other remaining structures. Construction contracts awarded at Atlantic Yards total approximately $43 million. Construction of the Temporary Rail Yard is under way. The Carlton Avenue bridge is in the process of being demolished and critical upgrades to the 100-year-old sewer and water infrastructure have begun.

FCRC sources had no comment beyond the release. The proposed Atlantic Yards project has had many hurdles presented in a number of court challenges over the past year, and opposition to the project has continuously called for a “time out.” Only a few days ago, opposition group, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, and its attorney Jeffrey Baker of Young, Sommer, Ward, Ritzenberg, Baker & Moore LLC, sent a letter to the Public Authorities Control Board regarding the “increase in cost” of Forest City Ratner Cos.’ Atlantic Yards Barclay’s arena and the development project as a whole.

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