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NEW YORK CITY—Six years after Forest City Ratner Cos. announced its original conception for the Atlantic Yards mixed-use development, the developer and government entities have closed on the Brooklyn mega-project. Wednesday’s master closing on the deal by FCRC, the Empire State Development Corp., the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city occurs a week after a $511-million bond sale to finance construction of the 18,000-seat basketball arena that will serve as a centerpiece of the project.

Bruce Ratner, chairman and CEO of FCRC, says in a statement that the closing—which covers contracts related to the arena lease, financing, development and purchase and sale agreements—”represents a vital step forward for New York City, one that is all the more important because of the economic challenges our city faces. The jobs we are creating today, as we set forth on the arena and one of the boldest affordable housing initiatives in our city’s history, will create a new dynamic center in this wonderful borough.”

Last week, FCRC and the Onexim Group, controlled by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, finalized their agreement for Onexim to acquire major interests in both the Nets basketball team and Barclays Center, the 18,000-seat arena that will house the NBA franchise. The Nets and FCRC on Wednesday put branded signage along fencing at the arena construction site, which includes logos of the major partners of the Barclays Center. Along with Barclays, the naming rights partner, they include ADT, Cushman & Wakefield, EmblemHealth, MGM Grand at Foxwoods, Anheuser-Busch, High Point Solutions, Izod, Jones Soda and MetroPCS. Meanwhile, a temporary MTA rail yard, which will eventually be replaced by a permanent one, has been completed, and infrastructure work on the area is in progress.

Although the master closing appears to clear the track for the Atlantic Yards project, its opponents vow to continue fighting. The coalition known as Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, which last month lost a court battle as the state Court of Appeals upheld the ESDC’s use of eminent domain on the project, issued a statement Wednesday saying its members will “vigorously challenge” the legal papers filed on the master closing.

The group, led by area property owner Daniel Goldstein, cites “two outstanding lawsuits against the project that would stop it cold” and a pending decision by the state’s highest court on a motion to reconsider its Atlantic Yards decision in view of a state court’s ruling earlier this month on Columbia University’s planned expansion. That ruling found that the ESDC’s use of eminent domain for the Columbia project violated the state and US constitutions. Additionally, DDDB says it’s planning on filing suit over the approvals process in the arena bond sale.

The sale has also come in for criticism from State Sen. Bill Perkins, who wrote a letter last week to Gov. David Paterson asking him to keep a promise for “an objective and thorough review” of the project and its financing. In his letter, Perkins questioned the BALDC’s legal standing to issue the bonds that will finance construction of the Barclays arena.

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