The Appellate Division of the New York state court ruled four to zero to uphold the state’s right to use eminent domain to build the Atlantic Yards megadevelopment in Brooklyn, N.Y. Developer Forest City Ratner Cos. (FCRC), New York City, says it plans to break this year, with the intent that the Nets will play basketball in the planned arena, named Barclays Center, in the 2011-12 season. In 2006, the developer was aiming to move have the Nets into the arena by the 2009-2010 NBA season.
According to FCRC, this is the 23rd consecutive ruling in favor of the megadevelopment, which has been hotly contested by local residents displaced and by others in the area.
As designed by Frank Gehry, the development will encompass 606,000 sq ft of office space, 6.79 million sq ft of residential space (6,860 units of affordable and market-rate housing), an 850,000 sq ft sports and entertainment arena, 247,000 sq ft of retail use, a 165,000 sq ft hotel (180 rooms) and over seven acres of open space. FCRC says it expects to begin construction of at least one residential building during the project’s first construction phase.
The arena and the mixed-used development are expected to create 16,924 direct jobs, says the developer. Site work began in February of 2007. In December of 2008, all work stopped due to lawsuits brought by project opponents. To date 35 buildings, roughly 56% of the structures on the site, have been demolished. There are 11 vacant lots and 29 other remaining structures. FCRC owns or controls approximately 85% of the site.
Construction contracts awarded at Atlantic Yards total approximately $45.5 million, says Ratner. The total MBE awards are $17,563,767 or approximately 38.4% of total purchases. The total WBE awards are $2,670,894 or approximately 5.8% which brings the total M/WBE participation thus far to $20,234,661 or approximately 44.2%.
The developer, trying to bring down costs on the arena, is getting input from those outside the design team. “Frank Gehry is still involved but ... we have been speaking to a lot of arena experts in an effort to identify savings,” says Joe DePlasco, a spokesman for the developer.