Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Forest City Ratner withdraws from scheduled appearance at CB 8

I didn't believe it would happen. A Forest City Ratner representative was supposed to address the Housing/ULURP Committee of Brooklyn Community Board 8 on Thursday, providing "an update on the first and second phases of the Atlantic Yards project," according to a memorandum sent to committee members. (Click to enlarge.)

What could the developer say about the 12+ years the state has allowed to build Phase 1 of a project that, as approved, was "anticipated" to last a decade? What about the unspecified deadline for the 11 towers of Phase 2?

Would Forest City Ratner, known for carefully managing press and public statements, actually appear at a public forum, in front of a group that inevitably would include some critics and opponents of the project? Would questions be answered?

Litigation blocks appearance?

Yesterday I learned that the meeting is not to be. The explanation, which I was told secondhand, was the ongoing litigation regarding the project. (I contacted two spokespersons for the community board but didn't hear back.)

That explanation doesn't quite wash, given that litigation has continued for years and the most recent lawsuit was filed April 30. Maybe Forest City Ratner was just blowing smoke. Maybe the developer realized that that skepticism from the community board might be a letdown from the expected show of force at the mid-day rally Thursday. Or maybe that "representative" would be busy with the rally.

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