SBD/Issue 236/Facilities & Venues

Forest City Scaling Back Plans For Atlantic Yards Complex

Ratner Scales Back Atlantic Yards Plan
Forest City Ratner “plans to reduce the size” of the $4.2B Atlantic Yards complex by 6-8%, “eliminating hundreds of apartments from the largest development proposal in the city,” according to government officials and execs cited by Bagli & Cardwell of the N.Y. TIMES. Forest City is also “considering reducing the height of the project’s tallest tower, which is known as Miss Brooklyn, to get it under the height of the borough’s tallest building, the nearby Williamsburgh Savings Bank tower.” But architect Frank Gehry “has objected to any changes in his design for Miss Brooklyn,” and Forest City “will continue to set aside 2,250 apartments for low, moderate and middle-income tenants.” New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has supported the project, said, “I’ve been told they will modify the project in order to address some of the concerns about the development. I’m not sure all the criticisms will be addressed or that all the critics will be happy.” Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn spokesperson Daniel Goldstein, whose group opposes the project, said, “They could chop Miss Brooklyn in half in terms of the height and that won’t change our position” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/5).

REAX: N.Y. City Council member Letitia James, who represents Brooklyn, said the reduction is “obviously not enough. They’ve got to really go back to the drawing board and dramatically downscale this project if they want support in the community.” But Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, “a project cheerleader who called for Miss Brooklyn to be scaled back, said he welcomed the changes.” Markowitz: “This step will help make a good project even better for Brooklyn. It’s the right project in the right place at the right time” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/6). In N.Y., Nicholas Confessore notes the “reaction from people who work and live nearby was almost uniform: Big deal.” See SportsBusinessDaily.com to read the story (N.Y. TIMES, 9/6).

POLL BACKS COMPLEX: A poll of 601 N.Y. residents from August 23-28, commissioned by CRAIN’S NEW YORK BUSINESS, found that the Atlantic Yards development is favored 60% and “disliked by only 25%.” Support in Brooklyn is 60% with 33% “viewing it unfavorably.” The complex is viewed favorably by 56% of African-Americans, 58% of whites, 68% of Latinos and 72% of Asians. Respondents cited jobs and affordable housing “as the two most important benefits of the project,” while the Nets’ move from New Jersey “is less of a factor.” The poll was conducted by Charney Research and has a margin of error of 4% (NEWYORKBUSINESS.com, 9/5).

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