Ratner Puts Most of Atlantic Yards up for Sale


Shocking news from the New York Times today: Bruce Ratner is looking to sell as much as 80 percent of the as-yet-unbuilt portion of the controversial Atlantic Yards project. Real estate analysts quoted in the story spun the sale as business as usual (the story noted Forest City already sold a stake in the Nets and Atlantic Center and brought in a development partner for the first tower.) The development, cited as worth about $5 billion in the story, will include 14 residential buildings with 6,000 units, all grouped near Barclays Center at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues. So far, only Barclays Center has been completed, although work has started on the first residential tower. Barclays Center has garnered many accolades since it opened, but nonetheless the project “has had a long and tortured history,” said the Times. “Mr. Ratner first conceived of the development in 2003, when he sought to bring a major sports team to Brooklyn as a lever for a broader residential and commercial project. He received hundreds of millions of dollars in public cash and incentives. But after a long public review process, the developer was buffeted by a recession, community opposition and a weak market.” Forest City said it will continue to helm the project, and said the sale will help fund accelerated construction of several delayed buildings, which will include low-income units. Real estate company CBRE is marketing the investment. What do you think? Is this how Ratner rolls? Or is he getting out while the getting out is good?

To Enhance Atlantic Yards, a Plan to Sell a Big Part of It [NY Times]
Forest City’s Trying to Sell up to 80 Percent of Atlantic Yards [AYR]

31 Comment

  • old_myrt

    After kicking people out of their homes, leveling historic buildings, and receiving millions of dollars in subsidies, Ratner decides constructing the buildings “just seems like a drag, you know? It’s a lot of work!”.

  • Bob Marvin

    While the getting is good, I suspect. The Rat is leaving a sinking ship, as might be expected.

  • daveinbedstuy

    He sees the writing on the wall with Bloomberg leaving and one of three bleeding heart liberals likely to become mayor.

  • Marauder

    He bit off more than he can chew. He needs money for the L.I. Coliseum rebuild.
    Good for him, serves him right, I hope he goes bankrupt.

    • Regardless of whether the project succeeds or fails it will in no way impact Ratner’s personal wealth. As with any experienced business venturer, I am certain that there are a number of LLCs and/or corporations separating this project from any of Ratner’s personal finances.

    • no-permits

      a lot of people made good points about cashing out in this hot market, the incoming mayors and a risk mitigation BUT it definitely is not because “he bit of more than he can chew”.. idiot.

  • This is great news,. it has no meaning from a public perspective (that part not emphasized above) but rather Ratner is getting the $ to move forward. Ratner is still the project manager and lead developer.

  • Go on take the money and run
    Go on take the money and run
    Go on take the money and run
    Go on take the money and run

    • So stupid…he isnt running. This is barely news. If he was going to do the build out he would either finance it (construction loans) or sell an interest (or both – which is probably the end result). – simply a risk mitigation move. FCR still runs the project.. Happens all the time but because most projects are surrounded by AY hysteria and FUD its never reported or discussed.

  • East New York

    Ratner is acquiring the financing to move forward. As brklynmind notes, his company is still the manager and lead developer. It’s call a shrewd business move. The project has been a qualified success to date; the arena is the most profitable in this country, jobs have been created, some new business have emerged and other have expanded their audience through arena clientele. Property values haven’t been hurt any. Just as envisioned, most people travel to arena events via public transportation. Traffic flow in the immediate area has actually improved. All that has happened in an area that was a vacant nothing for 40+ years, which I know because I’ve been here to see it that whole time. Yep, that AY project sure is destroying Brooklyn.

  • Can I just point out something logical?(because I feel like most of these post are not grounded in any sense of logic and border on idiocy) Many developers take on a vast majority of the risk upfront and once a project is successful sell a portion of their interest to use the funds to do other things.There is no news here, I am not sure in what world some of you live in where Barclays Center is nothing but a resounding success?

  • minard

    He must be doing this for a reason, and none that I can think of are particularly happy.

  • BTW the incoming Mayor stuff is also silly . Assuming its a Dem, Ratner was a former Koch Administration Commissioner (Consumer Affairs) and Metrotech was a Democratic plan for outer boro development. The idea that Ratner is some Bloomberg (or Republican) lackey who is out of luck during a democratic mayoralty just ignores history. (Although I acknowledge anyone in their right mind would be nervous of the current crop of hacks vying to be our next mayor)

  • I’m conflicted. I suspect this is completely meaningless from a public perspective, as others have noted, but I am loathe to pass up any opportunity to pile on Ratner. Help?

  • NeoGrec

    Standard operating procedure for FCRC. It may be unsavory, in as much as he’d never have got this far without all the public monies given him (who’s risk? our risk), but it’s not unexpected. It’s also been conspicuous to many observers of Atlantic Yards that FCRC hasn’t begun the very expensive job of decking over the majority of the railyards yet (the two long blocks to the east of the arena). Clearly they need additional funds to make that happen. Most of the 6,000 apartments planned for the site can’t be built until that has been achieved.

  • Given the literally hundreds of millions in public subsidies he received, plus the benefit of eminent domain seizures by the state, plus a bargain basement site for the site from the MTA/State, I don’t see where Ratner took all the risk upfront. This is classic Ratner. Get a deal that is wired with total and unbending support from the City and State and then sell a huge chunk of equity to a partner. Much better for him to sell a piece than to seek to finance through loans.

    The public took on the risk with guaranteed liberty loans and other sweetheart deals and he reaps the benefits.

    Ratner is the master of bait and switch. See also his effort at NY by Gehry where he threatened to top off the project at the midway mark if the unions didnt agree to wage concessions after a deal was already in place. Also see B2 at Atlantic Yards where the promised construction jobs are reduced through the use of modular construction. It goes on and on.

    At least the thing gets built.

  • Barclay’s arena still the ugliest suburban eyesore in history of cities, built under false pretenses (real jobs, affordable housing), via back room deals, with public (taxpayer) subsidies.

    i will never forget the so-called community meetings in the build up. If Tom Wolfe had written up those charades and put them into Bonfire of the Vanities, critics would have described them as far-fetched. . . . Imagine a bunch of fake black “activists” being literally paid by Ratner to shout-down as racist any white person who had the audacity to ask if Atlantic Yards was in the public interest and therefore worthy of knocking down peoples’ homes and giving an enormous parcel of land away for free to a private developer. It was incredible. “Jobs and Hoops!” they cried. Well, we got the hoops. (Have you checked out the ticket prices lately? No members of the working class going to those games, that’s for sure.) Not sure about the jobs. (Is selling popcorn for minimum wage three night a week for three hours a job?) Almost worse than the ACORN jokers were the white union guys/construction workers who lived nowhere near Brooklyn, screaming their heads off. I was going to vote for Bill de Blasio, but having heard that he supported Atlantic Yards I’m now not sure.

    • As to the aesthetics of the arena, I must say that I walked around it with a friend last weekend, essentially for the first real amount of time and only from outside, but we were both quite impressed. I’m just going to say it: I really like it; I think it looks cool, interesting, and even modest, and is way more aesthetically pleasing than I could have imagined.

    • morralkan

      I almost totally agree, boeringhill. There must be an uglier eyesore somewhere … I just can’t think of one off the top of my head. I hear that the inside is nicer (though I’ll never enter the building to see it), but the outside is an ugly piece of crap reminiscent of a large, rusty toilet bowl with a closed lid. I remember DeBlasio’s support for it, so he’s another mayoral candidate for whom I cannot vote. (I had already decided that Bloomie’s disingenuous butt-kisser-in-chief, Quinn, was similarly out of the running).

    • NeoGrec

      You’re so right about DeBlasio. He supported Atlantic Yards because he figured he really had nothing to lose. Since all the decisions were taken by Albany, not the NYC City Council, he took the safe, spineless approach. He has a record of achieving absolutely nothing during his years in public office.

  • Not sure why this is news.

    A politically connected developer gets his City Hall/Albany cronies to [il]legally “blight” private land & give him the rest under market. He builds the only thing he really wanted – the Arena (to ENY’s point – a success it has been BRAVO!!!) , then he cashes in before he has to build the things he never really wanted to build. Now it’s someone Else’s problem. Brilliant.

  • this is pretty normal folks. syndicate to the dumb money after the heavy lifting has been done. an easy way to “cheaply” lay off risk and control exposure.

  • no-permits

    no comment from norman oder? did he finally disappear?