Thursday, September 12, 2013

Forest City CEO: recession (not legal battle) was "largest" contributor to Atlantic Yards delays

What really caused Atlantic Yards delays, the recession or legal battles? Forest City Ratner's local flack recently was contradicted by the parent company's CEO.

Blaming opponents

The Brooklyn Paper on 8/27/13 published Atlantic Yards goes public! Ratner puts a major chunk of the project on the chopping block, but vows to keep control, with what I then identified skeptically as the key paragraph:
“The delays [in the project] were caused primarily by the multiple lawsuits that were brought against the project,” said company spokesman Joe DePlasco.
I explained why that was unreliable, citing the company's unrealistic projections--which were compounded by the recession--but now there's proof from someone more authoritative.

My article Monday in the Commercial Observer, Barclays Center Seeks Second-Year ‘Efficiencies’, quoted Forest City Enterprises CEO David LaRue, speaking to investment analysts regarding the proposed sale of 50 to 80 percent of Atlantic Yards.

He noted that the project, which was announced in 2003, has had some bumps: “Delays that occurred for numerous reasons, the recession being obviously the largest, did increase our cost on a per-square-foot basis. So, we’ll see how the negotiations and the offers come in.”

In some ways, of course, the delays were helpful, given that the arena arrived as Brooklyn buzz continued, and the market for apartments in Brooklyn has re-heated.

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