Thursday, October 30, 2008

FCR's Gilmartin: "Every deal dies three times"

While reports may seem to be ricocheting about the sale of the New Jersey Nets and even Atlantic Yards, multiple secondary reports in the blogosphere does not make it so.

Then again, the involvement of p.r. guru Howard Rubenstein, in denying (in the Star-Ledger) the Dubai/Russia sale talks, suggests a level of concern on the part of Forest City Ratner not seen since the first Nets-to-Newark rumor and hasty departure of former FCR point man Jim Stuckey.

"Every deal dies three times"

Consider an observation by MaryAnne Gilmartin, the FCR executive who replaced Stuckey on Atlantic Yards, speaking Monday night at the Center for Architecture: "“This is a notable quotable from me, but ‘every deal dies three times.'”

She said it in recounting the saga of the Frank Gehry-designed Beekman Tower in Lower Manhattan.

Atlantic Yards, even more complex and controversial than the Beekman Tower, has already gone through multiple iterations and timetables. It's hardly implausible that principal New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner might consider selling the team, given the downgrading of parent Forest City Enterprises's credit rating, the tanking stock price, the difficulty filling seats in New Jersey, the pressure on governments to withold additional subsidies, and the economic crisis.

A new team owner might or might not give up on Brooklyn. And we don't know what other investors in the project might mean. (And, as DDDB points out, Ratner can't sell a project he hasn't built nor controls.) Nor do we know how many more lives it might have.

But there's a good bet Mr. Rubenstein will not lack for work.

By the way, Gilmartin's being honored tonight by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York chapter. I'll have a report tomorrow on her remarks at the Monday night event.

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