July 26, 2005, NY Times — The real estate investment group battling with the developer Bruce Ratner for control of the Atlantic railyard near Downtown Brooklyn offered a compromise yesterday that it said would allow both parties to declare victory: The group would incorporate Mr. Ratner’s plan to build a glass-walled basketball arena for the Nets into its project. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is scheduled to review the rival bids, and possibly select a winner, at its board meeting tomorrow. The investment group, led by Gary Barnett, president of Extell Development Company, has offered $150 million in cash for development rights at the 8.3-acre site, or three times as much as Mr. Ratner.
Knowing that the city and the state want to provide a home in Brooklyn for the Nets of the National Basketball Association, Mr. Barnett said yesterday that if he won, his company would resell a portion of the development rights for no additional cost to Mr. Ratner so that he could build the basketball arena, now expected to cost more than $500 million. But Mr. Ratner, who has worked for three years on a $3.5 billion proposal for the arena and 6,000 apartments at the railyard and on adjoining parcels of land, brushed off the proposal. He contends that the transit authority and the public will get far more from his project than the $50 million he bid, including a newly built railyard, affordable housing, transit station improvements and tax revenue from the arena.