June 27, 2005, NY1 News — The man who plans to build an arena for the New Jersey Nets in Brooklyn made a promise to the community Monday that affordable housing will be made available in the area. Developer Bruce Ratner today signed a Community Benefits agreement promising the affordable housing, as well as assuring that the project will set aside a certain number of jobs for minority-owned businesses. The developer says he’s also throwing in some Nets house seats for the community to share. We hope to exceed the goals and standards, but if we don’t there could be litigation, said Ratner. I would add something else that is even more important; you have Bruce Ratner’s word, and that should be enough for you and for everybody else in this community, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. This is a guy, if you don’t understand that, you don’t know how great this guy has been for Brooklyn and for New York City.” Opponents aren’t convinced by the Community Benefits agreement, and they have vowed to continue the fight against a stadium in their neighborhood.
Ratner Promises Affordable Housing [NY1]
B’kln Deal Boosts Women, Minorities [NY Post]


Earlier this week the Supreme Court ruled against the homeowners in the closely watched case about the powers of local governments to exercise eminent domain. In their 5-to-4 decision, Kelo v. New London, the judges gave the green light to the city redevelopment authority to condemn the old waterfront neighborhood so a private developer can put office and apartment buildings in their place. While eminent domain never sits quite right with us, we can see some justification in the case of critical infrastructure like major roads, railroads, and even in truly blighted neighborhoods, though we realize that in itself can be a slippery slope. But what a scary precedent that a city can dispossess law-abiding, tax-paying citizens from their homes in order to make way for a fancier development! The amount of compensation the City of New London is offering homeowners is based upon appraisals from 5 years ago–so it’s a safe bet that the numbers are significantly below market value. In her dissent, Sandra Day O’Connor worried that the decision would mean that the government could transfer any private property from the owner to another person with more political influence “so long as it might be upgraded.” Bet you won’t hear Bruce Ratner complaining about this decision.
Justices Uphold Taking Property for Development [NY Times]
Homeowners Frustrated at Court Ruling [NY Times]
OpEd: The Limits of Property Rights [NY Times]


Curbed alerts us to the fact that it’s officially open season over at the the Court Street Lofts in Carroll Gardens. Corcoran’s managing the offering which has prices ranging from $475,000 for a 6th Floor one bedroom to $1,075,000 for a Penthouse. Waddya get for your hard earned money? Full-time doorman? Check. Granite countertops? Check. Limestone tile? Sure ‘nuf. You can’t tell diddly from the listing–nothing but an exterior rendering. We’d love a report if anyone gets inside.
Court Street Lofts [Curbed]
505 Court Street [Corcoran]


Armageddon must be near. A site that is trademarking the phrase “Condo Flip” whilst they attempt to promote and facilitate the act of flipping preconstruction condos? Not to be flip but there’s a business with a lifecycle of about, what, three months?
Homepage []


Jun 21, 2005, CBS News — A wall comes crashing down on parked cars in Brooklyn. It happened around 9:30 this morning in the Farragut section, at a building that was under demolition at 1109 Utica Avenue. off of Beverly Road. Part of the wall just came tumbling down. The FDNY responded, and tell us no one was hurt, but the debris fell on some of the cars that were parked on the street.
Wall Collapses in Brooklyn [CBS New York] GMAP


NEW YORK, June 13 /PRNewswire/ — The revitalization of Brooklyn took a local turn as a Brooklyn businessman broke new ground on a major development project in Brownsville. Gilbert Rivera, founder of Park Avenue Building and Roofing Supplies, LLC and AM&G Waterproofing LLC launched construction Friday on an $11 million, 132,000 sq. ft. facility which will bring 50 new jobs to the community. The facility will serve as the headquarters for the two family-owned businesses, with a large retail home center for the community.

The new facility on Atlantic Avenue and Saratoga Avenue, will include supply yards for building materials, offices, a state-of-the-art store, and parking. The project is being funded by Banco Popular. The City has also supported the project, with IDA (NYC Industrial Development Agency) providing sales and real estate tax benefits worth $5.8 million over 25 years.

Local Businessman Breaks Ground on Atlantic Ave [PRNewswire] GMAP


Blogger Transfer gives us a visual progress report on the State Street townhouses and promises more to come.

Judging from the promotional renderings of the facades, the fourteen new homes will work very well in context. We have to say that these places are really starting to grow on us. (See, we’re not completely close-minded traditionalists around here!) Off the top of our head, they are the best example of new construction going on right now in Brooklyn. We’d be interested in hearing other nominations for that title, though.

Booms on State Street [Transfer]
Homepage [14 Townhouses]
Inside the State Street Townhouses [Brownstoner]
State Street Townhouses Underway [Brownstoner]


In the collective post mortem that’s going on over the defeat of the West Side stadium, much is being made of how well in contrast Ratner navigated the treacherous waters of politics and money get his Nets project to the point where it now looks like a done deal. The Times notes, among other things, Ratner’s effort to engage local officials and community leaders, especially those with an early pre-disposition against the project. The pivotal point, it now seems, was the agreement that Ratner cut with Acorn to guarantee more minority contracting, job training and community use of the arena. When Acorn’s director Bertha Lewis gave both Mayor Bloomberg and Bruce Ratner big smackers on the lips at Borough Hall last month, it was all over. Although, according to Curbed, some would disagree.
Arena in Brooklyn Is Still a Go [NY Times]
Sealed With a Kiss [Brooklyn Papers, photos by Tom Callan]
Uproar from the Anti-Ratner Table [Curbed]