Time Out at Atlantic Yards
December 4th, 2008
Work has halted on the major part of the huge — and hugely controversial — Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn but those involved disagree as to why.
A spokesman for the developer, Forest City Ratner, told the Daily News that it had stopped work on the Vanderbilt Rail Yards, the planned site of a basketball arena and 16 towers, because of suits challenging the development. But the News went on to note the company previously pledged to “to continue construction despite a barrage of lawsuits that has slowed work on the project.”
Opponents of the problem think Ratner has run into financial problems.
The lawsuit explanation “doesn’t wash,” said Atlantic Yards Report, which originally revealed the work stoppage yesterday. The halt, the report, said is “leading me to speculate that Forest City Ratner might be hedging its bets on completing the work or having cash-flow difficulties.”
Saying Ratner is ” clearly short on funds,” Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein in a statement called for the state to halt the project. ” (The group also reports that all work has stopped.) “Speculation and overdevelopment are a key cause of the current economic crisis. New York City and State can no longer support Ratner’s non-viable and highly speculative luxury housing plan and frivolous billion-dollar arena, ” Goldstein said. Instead, Develop Don’t Destroy would like to see the megaproject broken into small parcels put out to bid as called for in the Unity plan.
Failing that, what will become of the land already demolished to make way for Atlantic Yards? Although not focusing on the Brooklyn project, the New Yorker offers a vision and it isn’t pretty: “Perhaps [the abandoned tracts] could serve, over time, as urban tar pits, entrapping and preserving in garbage and white brick dust the occasional unlucky passerby for the scientific edification of future generations, if there turn out to be any. Or they could become parking lots.”
And any of us bold enough to venture by could thank Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the state government and Borough President Marty Markowitz for how they removed “blight” from downtown Brooklyn.By Gail Robinson on December 4, 2008, 11:31 am
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