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Thread: Atlantic Yards Development - Commercial, Residential, Retail, NBA Arena

  1. #181

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    Brooklyn Paper....

    Nader to rail against arena

    By Deborah Kolben

    Consumer advocate and potential presidential spoiler Ralph Nader is coming to town this week to speak out against the proposed Brooklyn arena and Westside Manhattan stadium projects.

    An outspoken opponent of government-sponsored sports facilities, Nader runs a Web site, leagueoffans.org, devoted to educating the public about the sports industry.

    “Ralph Nader opposes corporate welfare and sees the stadium agreements where the government pays for the stadium and the corporations get the benefit as a form of corporate welfare boondoggle for very wealthy owners of sports franchises,” said Kevin Zeese, a spokesman for Nader.

    Nader will host a news conference in Manhattan on Monday afternoon to speak out against the stadiums as part of his Northeast campaign tour.

    But many Ratner arena opponents won’t be attending.

    “We don’t want to get involved in partisan politics,” said Daniel Goldstein, a spokesman for Development Don’t Destroy — Brooklyn, a group of area tenants, residents and businesses who oppose the project.

    “But we fully support Mr. Nader’s position on the Ratner proposal and the Westside Development proposal,” Goldstein added.


    Nader raised the ire of many Democrats in 2000 who blamed him for taking away enough votes from Al Gore to give George Bush the presidency. And he has curried little favor from the party with his 2004 run as an independent, which many Democrats believe will hurt the presumed Democratic nominee, John Kerry, more than Bush.

    Developer Bruce Ratner is looking to build a $2.5 billion residential, retail and commercial development at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues extending into Prospect Heights.

    In order to build the $435 million arena to house his newly purchased New Jersey Nets, Ratner needs to purchase air rights to build over the MTA rail yards and must buy out or ask the state to condemn much of the rest of the property.

    It is still not clear how much public money will be needed to build the project, but a Ratner executive said it was most likely in “the hundreds of millions.”

    At the same time, the Jets are looking to build a new stadium on the Westside that would cost $600 million in public financing.

  2. #182

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    In my opinion I think that these are great additions to both the westside manhattan community and to downtown brooklyn...When I was at the Jacob Javits center in April for the NY auto show I thought that the west side despretly needed something!

  3. #183

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    Daily News...

    Everyone wins when the Nets get to Brooklyn

    Okay, so the Jersey Nets got trounced in game seven of the NBA playoffs. Just wait'll the Nets come to Brooklyn. The Nets have heart and talent. Now all they need are some loyal fans to make them go the extra mile to the championship.

    Maybe no basketball game in recent memory was as thrilling as the Nets game last week that went into triple overtime.

    But as you watched it play, you just had to imagine how much more exciting still it would have been if they were playing it in glorious Brooklyn. Most of the year the Nets, one of the best basketball teams on the boards, have been playing to half-full houses in Jersey, their talent and their heart lost in the chemical fumes of a state that long ago glommed the Giants and the Jets, tried to hijack the Yankees, kidnapped the Statue of Liberty, and after 9/11 tried to lure away many of our nervous financial companies and institutions from the wounded city.

    The Nets payback for going to Jersey from Long Island has been world-class ball played in an arena as empty as a tax collector's wake. You couldn't scalp a Nets ticket at Rahway State Prison if it came with a three-day furlough.

    But if the Nets would have been playing this year's playoff series in downtown Brooklyn, Flatbush Ave. would have looked the way it did in 1955 when the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the World Series.

    "It would be all-out bedlam," said a basketball fanatic friend of mine the other night. "Look at how much excitement the Cyclones cause - and they're just a minor league team. Imagine what a professional championship team would do for Brooklyn! Fuhgeddaboudit."

    "I know people who have been going to Jersey to see the Nets because they know they're coming to Brooklyn," says Sean Jenkinson, who can't wait for the Nets to come to Brooklyn. "It'll be insane if they make the playoffs in Brooklyn."

    If the Nets were playing in Brooklyn this year, the borough of church keys would've been rocking with crowds, parties and rallies. Saloons would've been packed with fans rooting for the home team. Brooklyn Nets hats and jerseys would be the new fashion statement among the young people. And old. School bands would be competing to play during half time and the victory parade.

    Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz would've dumped the diet and pigged out on hot dogs at courtside. If they'd won the championship, Markowitz would have asked that school be let out early and led the parade through the crowded Brooklyn streets. Every former Brooklynite - who never truly leaves what poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti called "a Coney Island of the mind" - would return for games or tune in from sea to shining sea to root for the home team of their old stomping ground.

    New immigrants, who continually reinvent Brooklyn, would rally 'round the home team the way my old man cheered himself hoarse every summer for the Dodgers, which helped make him an American. Blue-collar natives and yuppie newcomers would share the same pride.

    You'd need a mighty net to throw over the party for a Brooklyn Nets championship.

    And the best part is that this is no longer a pipe dream.

    It's looking more and more like the Nets will be dribbling into Brooklyn in 2007. Developer Bruce Ratner is putting on a full-court press to get the new 19,000 Nets Arena and his $2.6 billion commercial and residential complex built. They will create 15,000 construction jobs and 10,000 new permanent jobs in a borough crippled with an 8.8% unemployment rate and 4,500 badly needed new units of housing. The housing units will be income-designated - 20% low income, 30% middle income and 50% fair market, with 10% of the cheaper half earmarked for the elderly.

    And Ratner's people say there will be a large section of Nets tickets that will sell in the $15 range. Jobs, housing, taking care of old-timers and an affordable pro-ball team. Come on, we're talking a slam-dunk for Brooklyn here.


    Although there has been some spirited opposition to his plan (and this wouldn't be Brooklyn if there wasn't a good fight), all but one of the 29 residents of the Atlantic Arts building on Pacific St. are accepting Ratner's million-dollar plus offers for their $600,000 apartments, allowing them luxury upgrades rather than displacement. Ratner also is making offers on adjacent commercial buildings that even the Godfather couldn't refuse.

    "Ratner is in communication with many of the other local residents," says Barry Baum, a Ratner spokesman. "I think we're making great progress. Bottom line is Ratner wants to give people a more than fair deal."

    Put it this way: I wish I had a piece of property on Pacific St. to sell to Ratner.

    "Ratner believes the Nets will be playing in Brooklyn by 2007," Baum says.

    Let the celebrations begin.


  4. #184

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    Daily News...

    Flyer blitz ripped by arena foes

    By HUGH SON

    Real estate tycoon and NBA Nets team owner Bruce Ratner has blanketed Brooklyn with glossy pamphlets touting the benefits of his proposed Atlantic Yards complex - but critics are calling the ads a foul move.

    Brochures were sent to 350,000 homes in Brooklyn this week and are the first in a series of mailings and print ads planned, said Ratner's spokesman Joe DePlasco.

    "We understand that even though there's tremendous support for the project, there are people with questions," DePlasco said.

    "A Garden of Eden Grows in Brooklyn," reads the full-color three-panel booklet, with glowing quotes in favor of the Atlantic Yards from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Gov. Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg and Borough President Marty Markowitz.

    The promotional piece boasts that Ratner's 21-acre project will bring to Brooklyn 4,500 mixed-income units of housing, 25,000 permanent and construction jobs, six acres of park space and a new home for the New Jersey Nets.

    Included is a postcard that can be returned for a free "Brooklyn Nets" souvenir - though the NBA has yet to approve a move to Brooklyn.

    Opponents of the Atlantic Yards proposal are claiming that the deep-pocketed developer isn't playing fair with the mailing, which probably cost about $200,000, according to a political consultant familiar with mail campaigns.

    And lawyer Norman Siegel, who represents residents of the anti-arena group Develop Don't Destroy, called the mailing "a David versus Goliath situation."

    But James Caldwell, president of BUILD, an employment-advocacy group that supports the Ratner bid, hailed the informational campaign.

    The political consultant questioned, however, whether such a broad campaign was an effective way to spread the word. He noted that direct mail works best when "you're targeting specific groups of voters and decision-makers."

  5. #185
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Included is a postcard that can be returned for a free "Brooklyn Nets" souvenir...
    I see where this is going. :wink:

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    I got one in the mail. It wouldn't be so bad if they weren't tying the return of the card stating "I support the arena" to receiving a prize. I appreciate the effort Ratner is making to win support - especially now that he is outright paying for property instead of abusing emminent domain. However, I think he would win more support by adding amenities that are purely for public use - parks, recreation centers, a vibrant landscape. Also, I am still opposed to taxes generated by the arena being funneled to Ratner for further development. He claims it is all privately funded - funneling taxes to him seems to indicate otherwise. Once that little item is removed from the scenario, I could happily support it.

  7. #187
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    I got one too. I have to see where it is, I hope nobody threw it out...

  8. #188

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    You folks in Brooklyn should keep the mailing itself as the souvenir. Years from now, after the arena is built, you will remember it as part of the process.....

    (Brooklyn Papers)

    Nets’ Cracker Jack mailer
    Ratner offers prize for Atlantic Terminal support




    Mailer coupon from Bruce Ratner offering a Nets “souvenir” for supporting the Atlantic Yards.

    By Deborah Kolben

    Support the Nets … and win a prize!

    Drumming up support for his massive Atlantic Yards development project, real estate mogul Bruce Ratner sent out 350,000 glossy pamphlets to Brooklyn homes over Memorial Day weekend promising residents a free gift if they back his plan.

    The colorful foldout, with words of praise from Sen. Charles Schumer, Borough President Marty Markowitz and a slew of other politicians, is the first major mailing Ratner has put out since he first announced the $2.5 billion basketball arena, and retail and residential development last December.

    In addition to photos of children and young families, the mailing includes a perforated tear-away postcard with the words — “Yes! I support Atlantic Yards.”

    Residents who send the card back are promised “a free Brooklyn Nets Souvenir.” Each card also contains a barcode that includes their address information.

    There is no place to indicate opposition to the plan.

    “It’s such a sleazy tactic to say if you fill this out you get a free souvenir,” said Jackie Connor, a Park Slope resident who said she scribbled the words “eminent domain abuse” on the card before sending it back.


    “I hope they’ll see that as a no,” she said.

    As part of the sweeping plan Ratner, principal owner of Forest City Ratner, seeks to either buy-out or have the state condemn 11-acres of privately owned land.

    The rest of the 21-acre project, which encompasses six blocks in Prospect Heights emanating east from the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, would be built over MTA-owned land.

    In addition to building a basketball arena to house his newly purchased New Jersey Nets, Ratner is seeking to build 4,500 units of housing and four soaring office towers.

    “What a nice gimmick,” Prospect Heights Councilwoman Letitia James, an ardent opponent of the project, said when she heard about the mailing.

    “It’s a marketing tool and [Ratner] is trying to dangle jobs and goodies in front of people who really need to be at the table and a part of the process,” she said.


    Although it strongly supports his plan, neither Ratner’s name nor the name of his company appears anywhere on the six-sided mailing.

    Patti Hagan, a spokeswoman for the anti-arena Prospect Heights Action Coalition, said she was outraged when she saw the pamphlet this week.

    “It’s kind of a desperate ploy to spend all this money to try and persuade people of something and play it off as if the New York Times is somehow supporting the whole thing,” said Hagan referring to a quote and large logo from the paper of record used on the pamphlet.


    Under a snippet ostensibly pulled from a Times article appears the full Times logo.

    According to the mailing, the project will create “10,000 new, permanent jobs” and “15,000 construction jobs.”

    “They’re not new jobs,” said Hagan, “they’re just jobs being moved over from Manhattan or somewhere else.”

    Hagan said arena opponents do not have the money to put out that kind of slick marketing material.

    The pamphlet hit mailboxes this week just as a television campaign criticizing the heavily subsidized Manhattan Jets Stadium hit the airwaves. Those advertisements are sponsored in part by a coalition backed by Madison Square Garden’s owners, Cablevision.

    It is still unclear how much public money will be needed for the Ratner project. At a City Council hearing last month a Forest City Ratner executive estimated the pubic contribution to be “hundreds of millions.”

    Some residents also raised concerns this week about Ratner using cards promising free gifts to gauge public opinion.

    But according to Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, the cards are not a poll.

    “They wouldn’t provide a very official count,” he said. “Its just something fun to do … it’s just a giveaway.”

    He said there was no particular reason they decided to send out the mailing now.

    “It just seemed like the right time, the colors are nice and spring-like and now the weather is nice and spring-like.”

  9. #189

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    Brooklyn Papers...

    Bloomie’s Downtown
    Mayor sees Nets, Downtown plan as done deals


    By Deborah Kolben

    When Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday, he talked about Bruce Ratner’s Nets arena plan as a done deal and said concerns from the local community about the Downtown Brooklyn Plan had been resolved.

    But City Council members Letitia James and David Yassky disagree.

    After Bloomberg made his comments, James, an ardent opponent of the $2.5 billion arena and office tower plan in Prospect Heights, which Ratner calls Atlantic Yards, said the mayor “made a lot of assumptions.”

    Addressing more than 500 attendees at the annual event, hosted at the New York Marriott Brooklyn on June 3, Bloomberg said, “We‘ve addressed a lot of [James and Yassky’s] concerns in terms of rezoning Downtown Brooklyn. I think the concept is going to go through and it will end up with City Council approval,” the mayor said.

    But James and Yassky said they still have several concerns.

    “I do believe development in Downtown Brooklyn is good for the city, I just want to make sure that we’re working toward a package,” said Yassky, who is pushing for traffic mitigation and is seeking pilot permit parking program for residents as part of the plan.

    The Downtown Brooklyn Plan would allow for the construction of at least 6.7 million square feet of office space, 1 million square feet of retail, 1,000 units of housing and 2,500 parking spaces. The comprehensive rezoning of 60 blocks — much of which would be classified as urban renewal — would pave the way for office, residential and academic towers.

    City and borough officials say the plan, which also requires condemning at least seven acres of private property — including 130 residential units and 100 businesses — will turn the area into a bustling, 24-7 hub.

    James, whose district includes Prospect Heights and Fort Greene, is seeking height limits on the towers along Flatbush Avenue — a portion of the plan that is in her district.

    She is also working with community members along Duffield Street whose homes and businesses would likely be taken under the city’s power of eminent domain to make way for office towers.

    Some of those residents claim the Underground Railroad ran beneath their property and should therefore be preserved.

    Bloomberg also praised Ratner’s $2.5 billion Atlantic Yards residential and commercial plan, which is centered around a basketball arena to house the New Jersey Nets.

    “[Borough President] Marty [Markowitz] mentioned the New Jersey Nets, and, yes, they’ll come and Brooklyn is a great sports borough,” said Bloomberg.

    “It’s an assumption, and you know what they say about assumptions,” James quipped after the luncheon.

    Ratner still needs to secure air rights to build over the Long Island Rail Road yards at Atlantic and Flatbush avenues. As part of the plan, Ratner seeks to either buy-out or have the state condemn 11 acres of privately owned land.

    James wants an open bidding process for the yards site and has raised questions about the amount of public funds needed for the project, for which neither the city nor Ratner have provided a clear answer.

  10. #190
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    The more Leticia opens her mouth the more I'd like to close it for her.

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    How long have these residents been claiming that the Underground Railroad "ran beneath" their homes? I think it's safe to say that there WAS no actual railroad; it was a loose network of abolitionists who ran clandestine halfway houses that received, harbored, and shuttled groups of runaway slaves on their way to Canada — Great Britain had abolished slavery in the empire back in the 1820s or so — or states that did not yet have legislation authorizing the return of runaway slaves.

    If many of these people actually have secret passages or rooms in their homes, however, then they can talk.

  12. #192
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    Hey, I wouldn't criticize Letiticia James. I'd only hope that my council member would represent my community as well. She's doing her job and, I dare say, she is doing an admirable job for her constituents. I like the plan as well (as long as Ratner is paying for the land), but if it was proposed for Park Slope - you can bet I'd be fighting just as hard against it.

    As for Underground Railroad claims... There was well documented underground railroad activity in this area of Brooklyn. One of the best preserved examples is at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights, where Henry Ward Beecher a virulent abolitionist preached and Abraham Lincoln once spoke. Tours are available of the underground.

    Addresses may have been "stops" on the underground railroad. The question is whether the buildings are original to the time, preserved and whether they are worthy of landmark status. One need only go down by Bowling Green to see the plaque commemorating the home of George Washington during his presidency. This is not a city big on preservation - especially if it gets in the way of development and "progress".

  13. #193
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    Underground Railroad happened all over the northeast not just Brooklyn. To preserve every place where this took place in nonsense. I think if there is real credability that a famous person was kept in one of these places then the situation might change. But then again why is it coming to the surface now when there is development and not when the site or the place was a run-out area.

    But we can't have preservation on every place for every individual. It is too much of a process to evaluate in every site. This is just an excuse to halt development. :roll:

  14. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by krulltime
    Underground Railroad happened all over the northeast not just Brooklyn. To preserve every place where this took place in nonsense. I think if there is real credability that a famous person was kept in one of these places then the situation might change.
    The Underground Railroad protected escaped slaves - not celebrities. Slavery was a significant black mark on this country's history and, although slavery is abolished, race relations remain wanting. I would edit your statement to read that "If there is credible evidence that a preserved or restorable station of the Underground Railroad exists, it should receive full review by the City Landmarks Commission". The fact that you are hearing about claims that homes that served as stations on the Underground Railroad might be in danger, does not mean that this information has just surfaced. The press is selective about what is and isn't news. These claims are "news" now because the places are endangered.

    I haven't seen any of these places, so I have no strong feeling either way. But, don't diminish the significance or relevance of these places. Concentration camps existed all over Eastern Europe during WWII. I don't think a single one should be destroyed or built over. And, the comparison is fair.

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    Let's preserve every home that any slave has every stood in, even if for only 5 minutes. Yes, yes, I like it.

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