Then again, the voluminous legal record stretches more than 25,000 pages, so that's a formidable challenge. In mid-July, Madden issued a memo (the first "Waiting for Madden") that stated she expected to have a decision in September.
The case has lingered for three months more, undoubtedly causing nervousness on both sides. I don't think we can read anything into the delay other than that it's a complicated case and the judge is trying to rule carefully.
On the one hand, such challenges to environmental review rarely succeed. On the other, Madden did express skepticism regarding the state's assertions of "blight" and whether the project is actually a "civic project."
A successful suit might block the project entirely--even as Forest City Ratner has sunk significant sums into pre-construction demolition and railyard work--or require a revision of the environmental review, which could delay and change the project.
Also pending is a decision from a federal appeals court, after a hearing in October, regarding an appeal of the dismissal of the Atlantic Yards eminent domain challenge.
Last Thursday, under the headline Atlantic Yards Seems To Be Failing, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn wrote:
[W]e see a stalled project: infrastructure activity is occurring in the Ratner-selected footprint, and demolition has taken place on some of the buildings the developer owns, but there appears to be a lot of soil pushing and dirt shifting on the rail yards. As of today, the construction of the project hasn't moved forward, and cannot move forward.
One year after political approval, and the project seems to be failing. The project is stale. And the markets don't look promising for the overly-dense behemoth.
Well, the project certainly has been delayed, markets fluctuate, and resolution of the legal cases is necessary for construction.
Atlantic Yards may be troubled, but that's not proof that it's failing; rather, Forest City Ratner and the state are calculating that they can move forward as far as they have under the expectation that they will prevail in the lawsuits.
In the next several months, we should discover the wisdom of that calculation.