Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

NEW YORK CITY-The Empire State Development Corp.’s board voted Thursday to approve modified plans for Atlantic Yards. In a statement, developer Bruce Ratner said the vote “means that the Atlantic Yards project can move forward”; however, critics of the Brooklyn mega-project have threatened further legal action.

The vote follows last week’s release of the new design for Barclays Center, the 18,000-seat sports and entertainment arena that will serve as the future home of the Nets basketball franchise. The ESDC held a public information session on the new design, a collaboration by architectural firms Ellerbe Becket and SHoP Architects, at Brooklyn Borough Hall earlier this week.

“We greatly appreciate the board’s support,” says Ratner, CEO and chairman of Forest City Ratner Cos., in a statement. “The world has changed significantly since we announced the Atlantic Yards project in 2003. However, our commitment to the project, including the housing, the jobs and of course bringing the Nets to the Barclays Center, has remained steadfast even as the changing economic environment made this project more challenging but also more important.”

He adds, “Our public partners have understood from the start just how much this development will enhance Brooklyn and the entire city. We’re thankful for their support but more so for their partnership and vision.” Ratner says FCRC now needs “to work aggressively to break ground by the end of the year.”

Following the ESDC vote, Daniel Goldstein, co-founder of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, issued a statement of his own. Calling the board’s action a “rubberstamp re-approval,” Goldstein says, “It is unfortunate for the ESDC and Forest City Ratner. Had they done things by the book, by the letter of the law, the project wouldn’t be in such substantial trouble. But they haven’t.”

Critics of the project, including Goldstein and City Council candidate Brad Lander, assert that the ESDC has failed to provide a complete site plan for public comment, or to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement as required under the State Environmental Quality Review Act. According to Goldstein, SEQRA requires an SEIS “if there is newly discovered information, changes proposed for the project or a change in circumstances related to the project. The newly discovered information, in part, is the clear realization that the project will, at best, take decades to complete.”

Goldstein says that with its vote on Thursday, “and no SEIS, the ESDC is taking irreversible steps that will send Atlantic Yards further into community litigation.” He adds that the “likely outcome” of the ESDC’s vote “is that they will be sued.” Lander issued a statement citing a recent Independent Budget Office report that the arena would lose money for the city—a projection disputed by the New York City Economic Development Corp.—and calling for the entire project to be withdrawn.

An ESDC spokesman tells GlobeSt.com, “We are confident that the process we followed fully complies with all applicable laws and that an SEIS was not required. We are confident that we will prevail in any lawsuits that may claim otherwise.”

On Oct. 14, the New York State Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear an appeal of the May 15 ruling that upheld the ESDC’s use of eminent domain for Atlantic Yards. The appeal was filed in late June by Goldstein and other landowners; both sides have expressed confidence of prevailing for the state’s highest court. However, the time frame for the court hearing could jeopardize the tax-exempt status of a sale of bonds to finance construction on the arena.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


Join 1000+ of the industry's top owners, investors, developers, brokers & financiers at THE MULTIFAMILY EVENT OF THE YEAR!

Get More Information


Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.