Court ruling apparently leaves Forest City Enterprises a bit unnerved; executive at Investor Day says "we continue to evaluate the situation"
Chief Operating Officer David LaRue, who had to consult a recently-prepared script regarding the ruling, stated, "There is, just with regard to the Atlantic Yards project, while we're there, there was news that came out yesterday, we want to make sure we address it, immediately, what we know. Yesterday the state Supreme Court made a ruling that--Justice Friedman issued a ruling--which for the first time was in favor of the opponents of Atlantic Yards and against the EDC, the Empire State Development Corporation."
(Actually, in New York, the EDC is the New York City Economic Development Corporation, while the state agency is the ESDC.)
"This is different--last spring she actually ruled in favor on this particular issue, which is the environmental impact study that was done," LaRue continued, in a tone far more tentative than in the rest of his presentation. "Uh, what's she's asked the EDC to do in this regard is to go back to reconsider the impact on the environmental study regarding an extended development period which we were able to negotiate, which gave up to 25 years for development of the project, versus a ten-year base plan that was used."
What he didn't tell the audience is that the judged slammed the ESDC for "what appears to be yet another failure of transparency" and "totally incomplete representations" in legal papers.
"We are studying" the ruling
"The EDC and ourselves, we are studying what this ruling means, and the EDC will decide whether they are going to appeal this to an higher court or make a step and do additional analysis regarding the environmental impact," LaRue said. "This is mostly focused on the Phase 2 development, so it does not have any impact at this point on Phase 1. As I said, it's under construction, and we're moving forward with the Barclays Center."
Either response would be interesting, since it would open up the process to further scrutiny.
"And again, if this does get appealed, it will end up being in the New York Appellate Division," he concluded. "So, it's early, this came out yesterday afternoon and, right now, we continue to evaluate the situation."
He then paused and launched more confidently into another phase of his talk.