Bruce Ratner can pull out of his $4 billion Atlantic Yards project for Brooklyn without penalty, The Post has learned.
That's because the developer never signed binding contracts for the controversial state-approved project or drew on hundreds of millions in government subsidies, officials confirmed yesterday.
Not that that's likely; Forest City Ratner officials say it won't come to pass. But if so, there'd be questions about who's responsible for the closing and reconstruction of the Carlton Avenue Bridge and the start on a new railyard, costs that the government would have to pick up.
(The Empire State Development Corporation has been reimbursed for many of its costs in the environmental review process. As I reported earlier this month, ombudsman Forrest Taylor said that funding agreements and subsidies had yet to be formalized.)
Not without pain
But the developer wouldn't exactly go away without pain. First, the Nets consistently lose money, and the loss of the Barclays Center naming rights deal would be huge.
And Forest City Ratner would be sitting on a patchwork of property for which it paid generously for under current zoning, but would be a bargain given the expected zoning override that allows for much bigger buildings. But the demise of the project would mean the demise of the bargain and a certain amount of pain.
There's surely much more to the potential scenario; if the project does come closer to stalling, we should expect public officials to be more forthcoming.