The New York State Court of Appeals handed developer Forest City Ratner another victory today, ruling against a challenge brought by Atlantic Yards opponents to the state's use of eminent domain to seize land for the 22-acre arena/skyscrapers megaproject in Brooklyn. The decision does not come as a shock, considering all court-related hurdles so far have been nimbly cleared by Bruce Ratner and other parties involved with Atlantic Yards. But more important than the decision itself is the time wasted to come to that conclusion. As Matt Chaban at the Archpaper points out, "with barely a month left to issue tax-exempt bonds on which the SHoP- and Ellerbe Becket-designed arena rely, the opponents knock-down, dragged-out legal strategy may have won the war." Meanwhile, the NYT's Charles Bagli almost treats the start of arena construction as a fait accompli. Ticking clock or not, Bruce Ratner is taking a victory lap after his latest courtroom triumph.
In a statement, Tenacious B said, "Once again the courts have made it clear that this project represents a significant public benefit for the people of Brooklyn and the entire City. Our commitment to the entire project is as strong today as when we started six years ago. Today, however, this project is even more important given the need for jobs and economic development." He also reinforced his claim that the NBA's Nets will
lose horribly play in the new Barclays Center in the 2011-2012 season.
As for the defeated Atlantic Yards opponents, AY critic Daniel Goldstein's Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn group is planning a 12:30 press conference. In a press release alerting media and followers to the conference, DDDB wrote, "Today New York's Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the real estate industry and against homeowners, business owners and tenants in the Atlantic Yards eminent domain case Goldstein et al. v. Urban Development Corporation." Not bad, but we feel like the real fireworks are being saved for the next lawsuit. Or maybe the one after that?
· Atlantic Yards Project in Brooklyn Clears Legal Hurdle [NYT]