2006-12-20, 09:39

USA Today story on controversial mixed-use project

By: Jonathan Groner
The $4 billion proposed Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, N.Y., which I have discussed a couple of times before, was the subject of a major article in USA Today this past Monday, Dec. 18, 2006. The article focuses on significant community opposition to the development and on a significant amount of community support -- based partly on the developer's commitment to reserve half the building's 4,500 apartment units for low- and middle-income families.

New York City is a tough place to build in and a tough place to be a successful developer. A well-organized lobbying and litigation campaign against a mixed-use project, like what's occurring here, can be a major challenge. Here are the first few paragraphs of the article:

NEW YORK -- What people see from Daniel Goldstein's roof near downtown Brooklyn depends on their point of view about a huge proposed development.
Some residents see a blighted vista being transformed for the community's good by a sports arena and apartment towers that they say would infuse the neighborhood with affordable housing, jobs and economic activity.
Goldstein, however, sees only loss -- of his home and a corner of brownstone Brooklyn.
The development will be "the densest residential community in the country by far," says Goldstein, whose condominium will be claimed by eminent domain if the project is approved. "The different environmental impacts, particularly traffic, are severe. The impact on public transportation is substantial. ... You lose what makes Brooklyn special to everyone."
If approved by the state, a nearly $4 billion project called Atlantic Yards would reshape several Brooklyn neighborhoods by bringing an arena and the New Jersey Nets NBA team to New York's most populous borough. But since its announcement in 2003, the project has become one of the city's most disputed, sparking lawsuits and setting neighbor against neighbor.

The full article can be found at

It's worth reading for anyone in the business -- real estate developers, community activists, planners, lawyers, and others.


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