As the huge (largest-ever in Brooklyn) and controversial Atlantic Yards development project, adjacent to some of Brooklyn's most bobo-filled enclaves, makes further progress, the level of hysteria rises and rises. The latest story has a group of Park Slope residents freaking out about a new bar opening in their neighborhood (in anticipation of arena crowds supposedly) that they fear will dare to play hip-hop music.
Sellout news! Daniel Goldstein, the last Brooklyn guy who'd refused to sell his homes to make way for the massive and inevitable Atlantic Yards project, is selling his condo to the developer for $3 million—more than five times what he paid for it just seven years ago. Also as part of the agreement, Goldstein will reportedly "step down as spokesman for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and not initiate rallies against the project." Goldstein fought the good fight and we're not knocking him one bit; we would have sold out long before bidding hit the $3 million mark. If nothing else, idealism can be used for economic gain! [NYT. Pic via]
It's been six years since real estate developer Bruce Ratner first proposed Atlantic Yards and now one of the last remaining legal obstacles preventing its construction has been swept aside by the New York State Court of Appeals. No need to worry about booking Nets tickets just yet, though. The arena won't be ready until June 2012 at the earliest. [NYT]
Some people have been a little troubled by the news a shady Russian billionaire is now buying up a local sports franchise (the Nets), as well as part of the arena that will eventually be the team's new home in Brooklyn. But not Jamie Johnson. The pharmaceutical heir and filmmaker thinks it's, like, the greatest news ever:
It's official. The richest man in Russia, Mikhail Prokhorov, has taken control of the New Jersey Nets. The 44-year-old oligarch, who is worth $9.5 billion according to Forbes, signed a $200 million deal today with real estate developer/Nets owner Bruce Ratner that will make him the principal owner of the team, as well as a major investor in the Nets' long-delayed new home in Brooklyn. This makes Prokhorov the first foreign owner of an NBA team who isn't Canadian, and the "the only NBA owner who can dunk," according to Prokhorov. And the tri-state area now has its very own Mark Cuban, clearly. [NYT]
The MTA approved the deal that will allow Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner to defer $100 million in payments to the state over more than two decades, instead of paying it all upfront. Critics took to the podium before today's vote to deride the deal as a "massive bailout." And, shockingly, the MTA didn't pay any attention to the last-minute counterbid that landed in its lap when the main Atlantic Yards opposition group, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, "tried to upstage the meeting by offering $120 million for the development rights over the Vanderbilt Yard." [Brooklyn Paper]
In 2005, Bruce Ratner agreed to pay $100 million to build his controversial Atlantic Yards on state-owned land. Under terms of a new deal that was revealed just this week (and goes to a vote tomorrow): Ratner will only have to pay the MTA $20 million upfront, and he'll get to spread out the other $80 million over the next 21 years. Critics of the deal are up in arms about the compromise, per usual, but there's some good news: Forest City Ratner, says it will cough up an extra $200,000 a year to stamp "Barclays Center" to the Atlantic Ave.-Pacific St. subway station. Small miracles! [NYDN]
Developer Bruce Ratner's plans to erect a $1 billion, Frank Gehry-designed Nets arena in the middle of Brooklyn isn't happening. Ratner is planning to move ahead with a new, cheaper design, one that will end up costing $200 million less. Don't expect to look as pretty, though: "Officials who have seen the design say that while it resembles Conseco Fieldhouse it also bears a likeness to an 'airplane hangar.' [NYT]
Bruce Ratner is orchestrating a big demonstration today in support of his increasingly doomed-looking Atlantic Yards project! So which celebs did he enlist to headline the rally and win over skeptics? Former Nets Darryl Dawkins and Alan King, neither of whom has played basketball professionally since the 1980s. A-list! He also managed to persuade shrinking violets Al Sharpton and Curtis Sliwa to overcome their aversion to attention and speak at the rally.
Hey, so about the economy. It's not that good. And the overzealous real estate market is partially to blame. As consequence, overzealous realtor Bruce Ratner has admitted that the crisis will slow down his Atlantic Yards project. Go to any bar in south Brooklyn and start hating on Atlantic Yards and you'll be talking about developing, not destroying Brooklyn in the morning. Still, it must be said: the part of downtown Brooklyn that Ratner wants to destroy is a dump. Of course it's dubious that a Nets stadium, which Ratner wants to start construction on this year, will make the area any nicer. [NYT]
As we continue our perusal of the latest issue of the most important literary magazine of our time, we skipped over that long part in the middle so we could get to the fun part: the letters section! And we must admit, we weren't disappointed. There, nestled between a somewhat rambling note from Jacob Shell (ooh, he's utterly cute!) and one from "S.C. Gummer" (a pseudonym? Perhaps) on Berlin was this squirmy missive from one Jonathan Lethem.
Ever dream of living in the midst of a construction project that's slated to last more than 10 years? Yeah, not so appealing. Fortunately for people trying to dump their condos and brownstones near the site, there are still suckers out there willing to put up with the noise, dust, traffic, and garbage that'll come when construction starts, and who are still willing to pay upwards of $1 million for the privilege. Just what will that get them? Well, let's see:
That's right: the three-year battle over massive Brooklyn development project Atlantic Yards is over. Forest City Ratner's $4 billion project was approved yesterday by a state oversight board, clearing the way for groundbreaking this January. Construction on the Nets arena, the main "it'll bring jobs and revitalization to Downtown Brooklyn" centerpiece of the developers' plan, will culminate in Fall 2009. The Post's rah-rah article quotes ACORN executive director Bertha Lewis as saying that "The Atlantic Yards project represents a historic 50/50 comittment to affordable housing," — uh, not quite. While the number of planned market-rate rentals and and "affordable" rentals is equal, there are also 1,730 market-rate condos planned — and only 200 "affordable" condos. The entire project is slated for completion in 2017. We don't know about you, but for us, that coincides with the period of our life when we thought we'd be throwing in the towel on being cool and succumbing to Bugaboo-trundling through tree-lined brownstone streets. Guess we'll be trundling our Bugaboo through Portland or something.
State Approves Major Complex for Brooklyn [NYT]
The Nets Win [NYPost]
Here Come The Nets [NYDN]
However, we couldn't tell if they were actually protesting, or just auditioning for the new Christopher Guest movie.