2006-12-12, 09:16

Mixed use grows in Brooklyn

By: Jonathan Groner
Multi-Housing News is reporting a fascinating controversy over a huge proposed mixed-use development in Brooklyn. This facility would serve as the new home of the New Jersey Nets basketball team, bringing the NBA team back to New York City. Here is the "breaking news" report from Multi-Housing News.

Note that the residents of existing rent-stabilized apartments have filed a lawsuit against construction of the projects. Mixed use has its opponents, and its supporters must be aware that community opposition can be a serious obstacle to this type of development.

By Kelly Sheehan, Online News Editor

DECEMBER 11, 2006 -- Brooklyn, N.Y. -- Atlantic Yards, a $4.2-billion mixed-use project that recently jumped a hurdle on its development track, still has to receive the final go-ahead from the Public Authorities Board before shovels hit the dirt. The master-planned community, which was approved by the Empire State Development Corp. on Friday, is scheduled to go before the board before the end of the year.

Frank Gehry, a world-famous architect, is designing the project. The developer is Forest City Ratner, an affiliate of the Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises. Bruce Ratner, the owner of the New Jersey Nets, is president and CEO of this subsidiary, based in Brooklyn. The 22-acre site is centrally located in that borough at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues. The plans were announced in 2003.

The state hopes the project will help revitalize a blighted and under-utilized area, creating thousands of jobs and preserving about eight acres of parks and open space, designed by the Olin Partnership, the renowned landscape architecture firm that took on famous projects such as Bryant and Battery parks in Manhattan and Canary Wharf in London, England.

If approved, Atlantic Yards will include 1,930 market-rate condominiums and 4,500 rental units. About 50 percent of the rental units will be set aside for middle- and low-income families. Families will likely pay rents totaling about 30 percent of their household incomes. The plan also calls for an additional 600 to 1,000 affordable residential units on- or off-site for low- and middle-income first-time buyers. Atlantic Yards will also feature retail, offices, a hotel, and an 18,000-seat arena.

Governor George Pataki has endorsed the project, but advocates are concerned that Sheldon Silver, the Democratic Assembly speaker and the only Democrat on the Public Authorities Board, will postpone the vote until 2007, when Eliot Spitzer becomes governor.

In opposition, tenants currently living in rent-stabilized units on the project's site have filed suit against the Empire State Development Corp. If approved, the project would call for the demolition of their properties, as well as other affected properties, potentially by the use of eminent domain. A State Supreme Court will determine the outcome of the suits.

The proposed community's arena will serve as home to the New Jersey Nets, bringing professional sports back to the borough for the first time since 1957, when the Dodgers left for Los Angeles. The project will also include the construction of a health center, along with an intergenerational facility with childcare services, youth programs and senior citizen services. In addition, the Vanderbilt train yard will be improved and reconfigured for use by the Long Island Railroad. The site will be used for the storing, cleaning and inspection of trains, and a new station entrance will be built.


Anonymous NoLandGrab said...

This controversy is fascinating enough to keep our blog, NoLandGrab.org, busy every day.

To keep you up to date:

The price tag has been officially reduced from $4.2 billion, to "almost $4 billion."

There is also another lawsuit that was filed last month in Federal Court, challenging the constitutionality of an eminent domain taking that favored a private party and was not subject to a legislative planning process.

10:43 PM  

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