Ratner Now Trying to Stiff the MTA

A week after the (not surprising) news that Forest City was “value engineering” its development plans for Atlantic Yards in an effort to cut costs, word comes that the developer is also trying to restructure the $100 million payment it committed to make to the MTA for the right to develop over its railyards that run, sunken, between Atlantic and Pacific Avenues. (Atlantic Yards Report points out that there’s never been a hard deadline for the payment, only the following language in the ESDC’s Modified General Project Plan: “FCRC shall be required to consummate such purchase prior to or contemporaneously with the first acquisition by ESDC of a parcel within the Project Site not owned by the MTA.”) In regards to Ratner’s wishes to renegotiate, the MTA’s Lee Sander said, “we will apply…intelligence, thoughtfulness, to the exercise.” The announcement of Ratner’s intention to renege was particularly galling to project opponents, reports The Post, in light of the higher offer of $150 million for the development rights originally made by Extell Development. Opposing group Develop Don’t Destroy has called for the MTA to put the project back out to bids.
Atlantic Yards Looks to Slash Transit Upgrade [NY Post]
MTA Is ‘Flexible and Thoughtful’ [AY Report]
Photo by Tracy Collins

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  • “In regards to Ratner’s wishes to renegotiate, the MTA’s Lee Sander said, “we will apply…intelligence, thoughtfulness, to the exercise.”

    Why start now?????


  • What has to happen for the state and city agencies to correct this nightmare and start a new course? I took a long walk around the area as I was considering making an offer on a house on St. Marks Avenue. I decided not to do it for the close proximity (someone else did go for it, I must add). The naming of DDB becomes more spot on as time passes while a vital area of Brooklyn has been destroyed. Atlantic Yards is now “Brooklyn’s Ground Zero”

  • the fact that the state didnt collect upon agreement was all we needed to know it was a backroom deal.

    each party will cover the others ass until they find a way to both declare victory and move on.

    nice parking lot though. too bad there is nowhere to go.

  • Kind of interesting that all the “Done Deal” posters have disappeared. This entire project was flawed from the start – both in concept and in how approval was executed. What we seem to be headed to is the tax payer financed construction of a watered down arena which will likely be surrounded by suface parking lots for years to come. Does anyone think that’s the highest and best use for this site?

  • well it looked like crap before anyway. i thought atlantic yards was genius and exciting. oh well. crap still.

  • Boerum Hill and all.

    Good point. I was a supporter of the Atlantic Yards project, though not outspoken about it.

    Given this latest news,however, and given that the MTA is facing a yawning budget gap, I have to say that it is time to take this beast behind the barn and shoot it.

    The state and MTA should pull the plug on this project, and wait for the economy to recover. At that time,it should open this up development site for open and transparent bidding.

    I see a parallel history here, and that is the site of the old Coliseum on Columbus Circle, which was also owned by the MTA. There were a number of false starts on developing that land too. The final results: the TW complex and a good chunk of change going into the MTA’s coffers.

  • There are no more Done Deal posters because Ratner is no longer paying them to spout his propaganda.
    Plus even the kool aid drinking true believers can see the writing on the wall now.
    It’s just a matter of how much longer Ratner can play Marty for a fool.

  • If Ratner only plans on building the arena, then he doesn’t even need most of the rail yards.

  • AY is hardly Brooklyn’s Ground Zero- please don’t use comparisons like this. It just cheapens the argument.

    I never liked the project- too big. Way too big. Ratner didn’t offer near what he should have for the air rights- he got a sweetheart deal on it. All it was for him was a vast ego trip- it was out of context, destructive of neighborhoods that were coming back, destructive of pre-existing homes and businesses. the scale of it was completely unrealistic and all of us who said that got shouted down.

    there are much better things that could be done in that area. Hopefully now they will be when the economy gets better.

  • Comparing Atlantic Yards to Ground Zero doesn’t cheapen the argument – it’s comparing apples to apples construction-wise and time-wise, and accurately captures what happens to neighborhoods when politics get in the way of building/rebuilding.

    I work in sightline view of Ground Zero and live near enough to AY that I have to pass by it twice day commuting to and from work both by car and train. Having to see the state of both of these developments is sad and disheartening. It burns me up. Unfortunately, the similarities are endless.