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Atlantic Yards: Why Brooklyn’s Biggest Controversy is as Noir as Chinatown
by Norman Oder
Description: The massive arena-plus-skyscrapers complex planned for a key Brooklyn crossroads spawned controversy, protests, and lawsuits since it was announced in 2003. Why? Little things like eminent domain, encroachment on a residential neighborhood, and major efforts to manipulate the public. The details may seem dry, but once you pull back the cover, the story behind the Barclays Center, and the rest of Atlantic Yards, becomes as noir as the film Chinatown. (Well, almost — no murders.)
Bio: Veteran journalist Norman Oder has, for more than six years, written the daily Atlantic Yards Report blog, which Malcolm Gladwell called “brilliantly obsessive.” He’s contributed to numerous publications and appeared on Brian Lehrer’s TV show (but not Brian’s radio show). Norman also runs a walking tour company, New York Like A Native, and even leads an Atlantic Yards tour.
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…