Skip to main content

As condemnation hearing approaches Friday, plaintiffs organized by DDDB file challenge, aiming to stop process of taking property

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) is inviting supporters to Come Out for the Condemnation Hearing Tomorrow, at which the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) will pursue what is usually a simple procedure: taking title to properties in a condemnation case.

Property owners and leaseholders organized by DDDB, as noted below, have filed a challenge to the ESDC's petition.

The hearing will be at 9:30 am before Judge Abraham Gerges in Kings County State Supreme Court, IAS Part 74, 320 Jay Street, Room 17.21, Brooklyn.

Complication and challenges

Though developer Forest City Ratner and others assume that title will pass tomorrow, paving the way for street closings and more, nothing with Atlantic Yards has been simple.

Indeed, the attorney representing some of those facing condemnation will not be there to argue about valuation--usually the main variable at issue--but about fundamentals.

Attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff last month said that "we will challenge the petition. It is defective in many respects."

DDDB statement

DDDB today issued a statement:
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn continues to offer its full support to the property owners and leaseholders in their ongoing legal effort to defend their homes and businesses against Forest City Ratner's ill-conceived, politically corrupt project. Today, their attorney, Matthew Brinckerhoff, has filed an answer challenging both the substance of the petition and the procedure by which the Empire State Development Corporation is attempting to seize title to their properties, which, unfortunately for Forest City, continue to stand in the way of its taxpayer-subsidized basketball arena and its thousands of parking spaces.

The respondents' answer points out, among many defects in the ESDC's papers, that the ESDC seeks to condemn this property to support a plan long ago abandoned by the developer in favor of a much-altered project that the state freely admits - but not in front of a judge - could take 25 years to build. The answer also demands dismissal of the proceeding because the ESDC has failed to set forth the public benefits of the project, although it's expressly required by the law to do so.

DDDB and the property owners and leaseholders continue to hold out faith that the judicial system will finally expose the gross, irreparable flaws in the Atlantic Yards project, and in the governmental abuse of the public trust, and will refuse to grant Forest City Ratner the private property that it covets.
Other cases

No other legal case specifically stops condemnation nor, should it go through, subsequent construction by the developer.

However, state Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman, who last week heard the challenge to the ESDC's Modified General Project Plan, refrained from ruling on a preliminary injunction to block site construction specifically because only ongoing utility work and demolition work was planned. Her ruling on the case is expected in about two months.

Comments

  1. The legal issues raised by the respondents' thoughtful answer will take well over a year to resolve, without counting appeals. The key matter is the change of the project without new EDPL findings. ESDC will not be able to ram the new AYP through the court without a very convincing explanation - and not the kind devised by the Brett Yormarks of this world ... If I were a bondholder, I would anticipate the return of my investment next year.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…

Former ESDC CEO Lago returns to NYC to head City Planning Commission

Carl Weisbrod, Mayor Bill de Blasio's City Planning Commission Chairman and Director of the Department of City Planning, is resigning,

And he's being replaced by Marisa Lago, currently a federal official, but who Atlantic Yards-ologists remember as the short-term Empire State Development Corporation CEO who, in an impolitic but candid 2009 statement, acknowledged that the project would take "decades."

Still, Lago not long after that played the good soldier at a May 2009 Senate oversight hearing, justifying changes in the project but claiming the public benefits remained the same.

By returning to City Planning, Lago will join former ESDC General Counsel Anita Laremont, who after retiring from the state (and taking a pension) got the job with the city.

Back at planning

Lago, a lawyer, in 1983 began work as an aide to City Planning Chairman Herb Sturz, and later served as the General Counsel to the president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Weisbrod himself.