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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Filling in the P.C. Richard back story: why a deep-pocketed potential adversary suddenly went silent at the end of 2006

Only after reading the papers in the legal case involving P.C. Richard (summarized in my 3/17/20 article for The Real Deal about the retailer's opposition to eminent domain) did I put together what seemed to be an odd sequence.

P.C. Richard had, on 11/27/06, sent a forceful memo (below) to Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC, now ESD), criticizing various aspects of the environmental review, just before the state authority's inevitable 12/8/06 approval of Atlantic Yards.

I covered P.C. Richard's criticism in a 1/16/07 post, once I got its memo and other documents filed in response to the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Atlantic Yards.

By then, P.C. Richard had gone silent. That's because on 12/6/06 it and original developer Forest City Ratner had signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) regarding replacement space in the future Site 5 structure, as we've since learned.

How it happened

As P.C. Richard executive Thomas Pohmer details in an affidavit:
In 2005 and 2006, A.J. Richard [the parent company] was preparing to join public challenges to Atlantic Yards, including by challenging the use of eminent domain to acquire the Property for redevelopment. In fact, A.J. Richard had already taken steps to challenge any such actions, including by retaining an environmental consultant.
However, even as the environmental consultant worked on the memo below, the retailer was negotiating with Forest City.

The developer first offered space in other locations, then agreed to provide replacement space in the new tower at Site 5, and to pay the retailer for lost profits.

Gag order, until condemnation came

Stated Pohmer:
After executing the LOI, A.J. Richard did not challenge the ESDC's determination to exercise its power of eminent domain, nor did A.J. Richard issue any public statements in opposition to the Atlantic Yards Project, because A.J. Richard was bound by the LOI not to present such challenge or opposition.
In other words, P.C. Richard, like so many others dealing with the bigfoot developer, essentially had a gag order. That changed only when, in 2015, ESD began to pursue condemdation, and P.C. Richard went to court, asking a judge to force Forest City to deliver the promised replacement space.

P.C. Richard won the first round. Now, as that case is on appeal, the retailer, in the separate court case involving condemnation, has asked for that process to be paused until the replacement-space issue is resolved. And, for now, court activity has been slowed, or stalled, by the coronavirus crisis.




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