Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Was eminent domain ruling the last hurdle? And when would the arena open?

It pays to read carefully.

From Forest City Enterprises CEO Chuck Ratner's remarks yesterday in press release reporting first-quarter revenue:
"In mid-May, a significant legal victory was achieved for the Company's Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, when the Appellate Division, Second Department, unanimously upheld New York State's right to use eminent domain to acquire property at the site, given the significant public benefit associated with the project. This was an important win and affirmation for Atlantic Yards, and effectively removes one of the few remaining obstacles to moving forward with this great project."

DDDB points out that, while Ratner said it was "one of the few remaining obstacles," on May 15 his cousin Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner called the ruling "the last hurdle."

Arena, 2012?

From the 10-Q form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission:
The unanimous ruling (issued May 15, 2009) by the Appellate Supreme Court of the State of New York Division, Second Judicial Department, against opponents and upholding New York State’s right to use eminent domain given the public benefits associated with our Brooklyn Atlantic Yards project. As a result, we intend to break ground on the project this year, with the goal of having The Nets play basketball in a new Barclays Center arena...

Note that, when providing information to regulatory agencies, Forest City doesn't bother to promise--as it does to a credulous press--that the arena would open in 2011.

Let's see what Forest City tells investment analysts in the first quarter conference call this morning.

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