BRUCE C. RATNER Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Bruce C. Ratner is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC). Under Mr. Ratner’s leadership, FCRC has become one of the foremost urban real estate developers in the New York metropolitan area.
After graduating cum laude from Harvard College in 1967 and receiving a law degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1970, Mr. Ratner joined the administration of Mayor John Lindsay as the director of a Model Cities program and later as the head of the Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Following a four-year stint as a professor at New York University Law School, Mr. Ratner returned to government as the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs under Mayor Edward Koch, where he was responsible for designing major initiatives in consumer-fraud protection that became models for subsequent national legislation.
While at Consumer Affairs, Mr. Ratner also became interested in how major national retail outlets had long underserved inner-city residents and how the city itself had failed to utilize major business and transit hubs to offset corporate flight to New Jersey and the surrounding suburbs. These interests, along with a broader commitment to projects that enhance local communities, remain a driving force within FCRC.
One Pierrepont Plaza, which opened in 1988, was the first new office construction in downtown Brooklyn in a quarter of a century. The project, which was the first undertaken by FCRC, helped define what has since become New York City’s third central business district and contributed to what today is considered the “Brooklyn renaissance.” Since then, Mr. Ratner and FCRC have steadily developed MetroTech Center, a $1 billion, 16-acre campus with 14 buildings in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, which now hosts 20,000 jobs in its 6.4 million square feet of commercial, academic and high-tech office space.
Atlantic Center, a 400,000-square-foot shopping mall that opened in Brooklyn in 1996, adjacent to the Atlantic Terminal transportation hub, grew out of Mr. Ratner’s desire to bring major national retail outlets to a historically underserved part of the city. In 2005 Mr. Ratner expanded on this vision and finished the Atlantic Terminal Office and Retail Complex, a 10-story, 350,000-square-foot office building constructed above a four-story, 470,000-square-foot retail shopping center, located next door to Atlantic Center. The Bank of New York serves as the anchor tenant of the Atlantic Terminal office building, occupying 320,000 square feet and providing offices for 1,500 employees. The retail center’s anchor tenant, Target, occupies 194,000 square feet on three floors.
On a site adjacent to Atlantic Center, Mr. Ratner is preparing to construct Atlantic Yards, a 7.7 million-square-foot mixed-use development designed by internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry. Encompassing 8 acres of public open space, more than 2 million square feet of commercial space and more than double that amount of residential space—at a variety of price points, including affordable housing—Atlantic Yards will be anchored by the 800,000-square-foot, 18,000-seat Barclays Center arena, designed to be the home of the Nets professional basketball team, recently purchased by a group of investors led by Mr. Ratner.
Beyond Brooklyn, which is also home to Forest City Ratner Companies, FCRC continues to create major retail projects throughout the city and the metropolitan area. In Manhattan, FCRC developed the headquarters for the New York Mercantile Exchange in lower Manhattan, near the World Financial Center. FCRC played a key part in the rebirth of Times Square with the 42nd Street Entertainment and Retail Complex, a 335,000-square-foot development that features a 25-screen AMC Cineplex and a Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, topped with a 25-story, 455-room Hilton Hotel with sky-lobby restaurant. Forest City joined forces with The New York Times Company to build the newspaper’s new headquarters near Times Square, a 1.5 million-square-foot structure that includes approximately 700,000 rentable square feet of Class A office space. Designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, the 52-story building is the first high-rise in the U.S. to feature an all-glass curtain wall with a sunscreen made of ceramic rods. In Battery Park City, FCRC developed a 617,000-square-foot mixed-use complex that includes a 14-story Embassy Suites Hotel, retail stores and a 4,000-seat, 16-screen United Artists Theater. Additional FCRC projects include The Shops at Bruckner Boulevard in the East Bronx; the Shops at Gun Hill Road in the Pelham Gardens/Baychester section of the Bronx; the Shops at Northern Boulevard in Woodside, Queens; Columbia Park in North Bergen, New Jersey; The Heights on Court Street in Brooklyn, and The Stores at Richmond Avenue on Staten Island.
Other FCRC projects under development include lower Manhattan’s 76-story Beekman Tower, designed by world-famous architect Frank Gehry with a glass-and-titanium curtain wall. Most of the building will house luxury residential units. In East Harlem, FCRC has teamed up with Blumenfeld Development Group to transform the former Washburn Wire Factory into East River Plaza, a 485,000-square-foot shopping complex just off the FDR Drive. And in Westchester County, Mr. Ratner is developing Ridge Hill, a mixed-use project that will include some 1.3 million square feet of retail space, 160,000 square feet of office and research facilities, and up to 1,000 mixed-income apartments, all arranged around a landscaped town square.
As a company, FCRC strives to be a responsible corporate neighbor that contributes to the betterment of the community. FCRC has maintained a goal of 14 percent minority-owned business and 9 percent women-owned business participation on all of its construction projects without government-mandated goals, and usually exceeds those percentages. Through the Community Labor Exchange, an aggressive community involvement program, all contractors on FCRC projects make one of every four field construction job slots available for a community hire.
On a personal level, Mr. Ratner is also a firm believer in giving back to the community. Mr. Ratner engages in philanthropic endeavors that promote social justice, a spirit of community and an improved quality of life. As such, he provides time, energy and financial support to educational and cultural institutions.
A supporter of the arts, Mr. Ratner works extensively with the world-renowned Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). He has been a BAM trustee since 1989 and was the chairman of its board from 1992 until 2001. As a result of his involvement with BAM, Mr. Ratner also created the MetroTech Downtown Fund, which encourages contributions to the arts from companies moving into Brooklyn.
In 1994, Mr. Ratner was the recipient of the New York State Governor’s Arts Award. Two years later the Metropolitan Museum of Art elected him as a trustee.
Mr. Ratner is a firm believer in the value of education. He has served as vice chairman of the board of Long Island University, and he sits on the board of The Futures in Education Foundation (a foundation for the preservation of Catholic education). Mr. Ratner and Forest City Ratner also support a number of educational programs throughout the city, including the Promise Scholarship Fund of Polytechnic University and the Brooklyn Bureau of Community Service. He is an overseer of the Weill Cornell Medical College and is on the board of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In 1996, Mr. Ratner received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Pratt Institute.
Mr. Ratner is a strong advocate for New York City’s park system, believing that our parks play a crucial role in economic development and in enhancing the urban environment. He is currently a board member of the City Parks Foundation. He also serves on the boards of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the International Rescue Committee and the Museum of Jewish Heritage/A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
As a member of the board of directors of the New York City Partnership, Mr. Ratner was heavily involved in framing the debate over economic development issues in the New York region. A report he wrote, “Marketing New York City in the Global Economy,” triggered the partnership’s initiative in promoting international investment. Mr. Ratner was also a panelist on urban issues at President Clinton’s Economic Summit in December 1992.
Born on January 23, 1945, Mr. Ratner has two daughters: Rebecca graduated from Brown University in 1995 and Elizabeth from Harvard College in 1997.