These past few days have been a big one for Atlantic Yards news. Saturday, hundreds of protesters led by three opposition groups and several politicians rallied at the Atlantic Yards footprint, calling for a halt to demolition until developer Forest City Ratner can provide details on its plans and assurances that it has the financing to see them through. They were met by a 50 percent larger group of counter-protesters, estimated Atlantic Yards Report blogger Norman Oder, who proceeded to comment on the ethnicity, neighborhood of residence and motivation of each one. On Sunday, Bruce Ratner penned an op-ed piece in the Daily News blaming construction delays on the project’s “rigorous public review” and legal challenges waged by opponents. He said “the delays have pushed us into a time when the economy has slowed, and both financing and tenant commitments are more challenging to obtain. But contrary to rumors, large deals are still getting done, and in the past year alone we have closed on the two largest construction financing in our company’s history, totaling over $1.3 billion. Atlantic Yards will be no different.” Ratner said the company’s first goal is to break ground on the Barclays Center (Nets basketball arena) this year, then the first residential building. “As for Miss Brooklyn, Frank Gehry’s signature commercial tower, a targeted marketing campaign to identify an anchor tenant is currently underway. When that tenant is confirmed, we will finalize plans and start building,” he wrote. He said the whole thing would be completed by 2018, which opponents called crazy talk.
Today, the New York Post obtained renderings commissioned by the Municipal Arts Society depicting how the project’s footprint would look as economic woes stall its construction indefinitely. They name it “Atlantic Lots” after the sea of parking lots that surround the arena and lone tower the developer said he’d work on first. Ratner spokesman Loren Riegelhaupt responded, “Frankly, this is so far from anything even remotely resembling what we are building that it’s not worth commenting on further.” For one thing, he said, the developer would mostly likely plant trees (you know, temporarily) on that big grey slab surrounding the arena. Also today, the Daily News has an article proclaiming “Miss Brooklyn is slashed more than 100 feet in a massive redo” from 620 feet to 511 feet. That of course happened before the project was approved Dec. 2006, but the new model looks substantially different, “replaced by an asymmetrical design that rises like a spiraling Lego structure.” State officials told the newspaper Miss Brooklyn would only have 650,000 square feet of office space and no condos or hotel. But a construction timetable for the project’s signature tower was not given, and an anchor tenant still needs to be secured before it can ever get financing. They also unveiled that red building to the right of Miss Brooklyn, also a revised design. Technically, the Post and Daily News models are not competing visions, they just depict different stages of construction. As usual, the Atlantic Yards Report has a meticulous dissection of everything. And a Metro columnist says the city would be better off if the Nets just went to Newark.
Ratner: AY Dead? Dream On [Daily News]
The Future is ‘Blight’ [NY Post]
Atlantic Yards’ Miss Brooklyn is Slashed [Daily News]
Opponents say Ratner’s Time Line for AY is Pie in the Sky [Daily News]
Nets to Newark Could be a Blessing [Metro]
Bruce Ratner: Put Up or Shut Up! [Daily Gotham]
Not a Done Deal: Time Out Rally Met With Counter-Protest [Daily Gotham]
Original aerial photos in Municipal Arts Society models by Jonathan Barkey