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

  1. #106


    They are "don't scare the nimbys"-holders.

  2. #107
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI


    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3
    Quote Originally Posted by billyblancoNYC
    How could reading anything about this project seem unreal? Ratner seems to be in the lead for the Nets, he's pushing, Bloomberg's pushing, the MTA would give the development rights to him pretty easily, and that would not require community approval, etc.

    I think if he gets the Nets, it's got a great chance of happening, for a number of reasons.
    I didn't mean unreal as in it's a distant pipedream, I meant unreal as in something so amazing that I can't believe it's going to be built.
    Ah, sorry. You're right on, then.

  3. #108


    Star Ledger

    Ratner's bid for Nets will exceed $300M

    January 08, 2004

    The stakes in the auction of the Nets are on the way up again.

    As of yesterday, New York developer Bruce Ratner, who wants to move the Nets to Brooklyn, had told the team's owners he was prepared to offer as much as $310 million, according to three executives involved with the sale.

    Ratner's bid would take the price for the two-time NBA Eastern Conference champions to an important plateau: It is twice the amount a group of New Jersey businessmen paid for the team five years ago.

    His offer also puts pressure on New Jersey developer Charles Kushner to raise his own bid, drop out of the auction or take the chance that his pledge to keep the Nets at their current home in the Meadowlands will be enough to prevail.

    His spokesman said last night Kushner and his partner, U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ), have not changed their offer of $267.5 million. But the executives involved in the sale said the Kushner-Corzine partners indicated they would raise their offer to as high as $290 million -- about $10 to $15 million less than Ratner.

    New York financier Stuart Feldman, who bid $257.5 million, is no longer a contender for the team, the executives involved in the sale disclosed. Feldman never stated publicly his plans for the Nets.

    The recent moves -- which would be some of the highest bids ever made for an NBA franchise -- further complicate the four-month auction. A new owner of the Nets could be named within the next 10 days.

    "I'm trying to bring about a sale as quickly as possible," said Ed Stier, the chief executive of Community Youth Organizations, the non-profit group led by Raymond Chambers and Lewis Katz that controls the Nets. "We are trying to evaluate the offers with regard to price and certainty that a deal can close."

    This isn't just about the highest bid, though. Executives with CYO also must consider which buyer is most likely to gain NBA approval.

    NBA commissioner David Stern has made it clear the league would prefer an owner with concrete financing and a construction plan in place for a new or renovated arena for the Nets.

    Prospective owners must also be able to show the financial means to fund losses from the franchise that are projected at $25-40 million the next two years.

    Ratner, who previously bid $275 million, and Kushner-Corzine, have been in extensive informal discussion with two Wall Street firms advising CYO and YankeeNets, the sports company that owns a major stake in the basketball franchise.

    Executives involved with the sale say Ratner is all but certain to be the high bidder. His plan, however, to build a Frank Gehry-designed arena above the rail yards at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in downtown Brooklyn remains far from a done deal.

    Ratner has received verbal support for the proposed $2.5 billion arena, office and residential complex from New York's most powerful officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki.

    However, he must acquire the land and air rights from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and displace private property owners. He faces a potentially long, and nasty fight with thousands of Brooklyn residents opposed to the project. As the fight unfolds, the Nets would likely have to play in the Continental Airlines Arena in front of New jersey fans who know the team is trying to abandon them for New York of all places.

    Through a spokesman, Ratner declined to comment.

    Kushner and Corzine have reached an agreement with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority for a $120 million renovation of the Continental Airlines arena. The arena would be part of a $1 billion makeover of the Sports Complex by Mack Cali Realty and the Mills Corp.

    "We are still actively pursuing the purchase of the Nets and intend on keeping the team in New Jersey," Richard Stadtmauer, a managing partner at Kushner Cos., a Florham Park-based home and office developer.

    However, Kushner also faces an intensifying federal probe into his fundraising efforts on behalf of Gov. James E. McGreevey and other Democrats.

  4. #109



    Say Nets deal near
    But builder's rivals set for fight to death


    A city real estate developer is "extremely close" to buying the New Jersey Nets, sources said last night - but his dream of bringing the team to Brooklyn is still far from a slam dunk.
    Builder Bruce Ratner is expected to soon ink a deal in which he would shell out about $300 million for the basketball franchise, sources familiar with the negotiations said.

    "No papers have been signed yet, but it should be very soon, possibly within a few days," said a source close to Ratner. "The money is about right, but they're extremely close to a deal."

    Another source said Ratner already has told government officials he's getting the team.

    Both Ratner and Nets owner Lewis Katz declined to talk about the negotiations.

    "If somebody is going to make a comment, it is not going to be me," said Katz, who has been seen with Ratner more and more in recent days.

    Ratner upped his offer for the Nets from $275 million to $300 million last month after rap impresario Jay-Z joined forces with him. Two other groups are vying for the team, including one led by Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), who wants to keep the team in Jersey.

    If the Ratner deal comes off, Brooklyn will have its first big league sports team since the Dodgers left in 1957. The Brooklyn Nets could be a reality by the 2006-07 season.

    But Ratner's interest in the team is directly hinged to building an arena in downtown Brooklyn - a project that faces a number of hurdles:

    Ratner can't write a check until 21 of the 28 other NBA owners approve the sale and the move from the Meadowlands to Brooklyn. There have been rumblings that the Knicks may lobby hard against the plan.

    The city also would have to give Ratner the okay to build the proposed 20,000-seat arena. The Frank Gehry-designed stadium is part of a controversial $2.5 billion development that also includes Manhattan-sized office and residential towers.

    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority must grant Ratner air rights to build the arena over the Long Island Rail Road yard at Flatbush and Atlantic Aves.
    If everything comes together, Ratner has said, construction on the stadium would begin next year.

    Last month, Mayor Bloomberg hailed the plans as a way to revitalize Brooklyn, saying, "This is the place for a professional basketball team."

    But critics contend the arena complex would overwhelm the low-rise communities of Fort Greene and Prospect Heights.

    And while Ratner has estimated 100 people would be displaced under his plan, foes put the number at 1,000, and say more than 400 small-business jobs would be lost.

    "Ratner doesn't give a damn about the neighborhood," said Patti Hagan of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition. "He's never walked around this community to find out who would be affected."

  5. #110


    The deal's drawn out, now let's get it done.

  6. #111


    Stern, I think the Daily News article belongs in the Nets thread.

  7. #112

  8. #113


    I can't decide if I like this design or not. On one hand, it could be a unique "pioneering" new stadium design or a piece of trash conjured up a day before the press confrence. I'd like to see more details when they come out.

  9. #114


    NY Times.

    Brooklyn Developer Reaches Deal to Buy New Jersey Nets


    Bruce C. Ratner, the New York real estate developer who wants to move the New Jersey Nets to an arena in downtown Brooklyn, reached a tentative agreement to acquire the team for $300 million, defeating a similar offer by Charles Kushner and Senator Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey, the Nets' ownership group confirmed tonight.

    ``We're in the final stages of negotiating an agreement with Bruce Ratner,'' said Edwin Stier, president of Community Youth Organization, the Nets' ownership group. ``The contract terms have been finalized and we're putting the paperwork together.''

    Several days of intense negotiations led to the agreement with Mr. Ratner, who raised his bid to $300 million a month ago. Mr. Kushner stuck to his $267.5 million offer for two months and only raised it to $300 million today. But it apparently came too late for serious consideration.

    A spokesman for Mr. Kushner, a Florham Park, N.J., real estate developer, said, ``Charlie Kushner bid $300 million in cash today to keep this team in New Jersey and is disappointed in the result.''

    The Community Youth Organization's board agreed to the terms of the deal and the contract now requires the approval of YankeeNets, the holding company for the Nets and Yankees, which is on the verge of being dissolved.

    Mr. Ratner's victory means the potential return of a major league team to Brooklyn for the first time since 1957 when the Brooklyn Dodgers left for Los Angeles. In the Nets, he has an exciting team that would provide a stiff intra-city challenge to the Knicks if he navigates the hurdles he must leap to build the $2.5 billion project that would feature the Nets' arena as its centerpiece.

    Still, Mr. Ratner faces major hurdles before he can fulfill his vision of making the proposed arena the centerpiece of his planned $2.5 billion commercial and residential complex in downtown Brooklyn.

    The arena would be built at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, where Walter O'Malley was rebuffed nearly half a century ago in his efforts to build a new stadium for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

    Mr. Ratner needs the state to condemn 21 acres on which he would build the arena, four office towers and 4,500 apartments, which are being designed by the architect Frank Gehry.

    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority would have to move 11 tracks that criss-cross the Long Island Rail Road's three-block long Vanderbilt yard where Mr. Ratner plans to erect the arena.

    The project would have to go through public hearings and stringent environmental reviews. Mr. Ratner has also talked to state and city officials about their doing $150 million in roadwork, sewers and utilities, and moving tracks currently at the rail yard. The developer has also asked the state and city to commit to using about $28 million a year in sales and income taxes generated by the project to help pay down the bonds for the arena.

    Mr. Ratner's bid for the Nets is double what the current owners, led by Raymond Chambers and Lewis Katz, paid for the team in 1998 before merging into YankeeNets. But at $300 million, it is ranks behind the record $360 million paid in 2002 for the Boston Celtics.

    The sale to Mr. Ratner culminates a turgid, four-month process. First there were three bidders, Mr. Ratner, who started at $275 million, and the Kushner group, which opened at $250 million and vowed to keep the team in New Jersey, and Charles B. Wang, the co-owner of the Islanders, who bid $265 million. They were later joined by Stuart Feldman, a venture capitalist who never discussed his $257.5 million offer or his intentions publicly. Mr. Wang dropped out in frustration with the process and Mr. Feldman was never a serious competitor.

    The Ratner group has been trying to craft a proposal that would encounter limited resistance from government officials and opponents in the community. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has been an enthusiastic supporter of the project, but the administration of Gov. George Pataki has been been relatively quiet. A top state official said the governor did not want to be accused of poaching on New Jersey assets and was concerned about the growing list of sports teams seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in state subsidies for new arenas and stadiums, including the Jets, the Yankees, Mets, Knicks and Rangers.

    Mr. Ratner's project in downtown Brooklyn has been embraced by many Brooklyn politicians as the antidote to the loss of the Dodgers and the crystalization of the borough's economic comeback.

    But Mr. Ratner already faces opposition to the project from local residents, who have starting hanging banners from their buildings protesting the Ratner project.

    Patti Hagan, a leader of the Prospect Park Heights Coalition, said Mr. Ratner's project would require the demolition of homes for 864 people and 237 jobs. ``This is an example of developer imperialism,'' Ms. Hagan said. ``The emperor has decided to take over 10 acres of private property and abolish all the jobs and homes that exist here. Mr. Ratner should know he has a fight on his hands. We will not give up or go away.''

    The effort to sell the Nets, which began before YankeeNets formally put them up for sale last September, has been marked by bitter recriminations between Yankee and Nets owners, as well as among the Nets owners themselves. In recent weeks, according to a Nets shareholder and New Jersey officials, Lewis Katz and Alan Landis, two Nets owners who have promoted the deal with Mr. Ratner, came to be regarded as traitors to New Jersey, the state in which they both live.

    The Community Youth Organization initially bought the Nets in 1998 with the idea of moving the team to Newark to revive that city's economy. Mr. Katz and Mr. Chambers pledged to pour the profits into a newly formed charity. But the team lost tens of millions of dollars and failed to complete a deal for an arena in Newark, leading to a split between Mr. Chambers and Mr. Katz, and ultimately the decision to sell.

    Earlier this week, as the Nets seemed to be slipping away, George Zoffinger, president of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the owner of the Continental Airlines Arena, complained and vowed to block the new owner from taking the Nets name to Brooklyn.

  10. #115

  11. #116


    January 23, 2004

    Bid for a Brooklyn Sports Complex Faces Challenges From All Sides


    Karla Rothstein and her daughter, Skye, who live in a converted factory building at 475 Dean Street in Brooklyn that would be razed in plans for a new basketball arena.

    Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn's head cheerleader, was still riding a wave of euphoria, one day after the developer Bruce C. Ratner had won the bidding for the New Jersey Nets with plans to install them in a new home near downtown Brooklyn.

    "It's exciting," said Mr. Markowitz, the borough president. "It puts Brooklyn back in the big leagues."

    But the hard questions are just beginning to emerge about the feasibility and financial viability of Mr. Ratner's proposal to build a $485 million arena designed by Frank Gehry as the centerpiece of an enormous $2.5 billion residential and commercial development.

    For example, can this project survive the kind of political minefields, environmental reviews, community opposition and lawsuits that have delayed or scuttled sports complexes elsewhere? Can Mr. Ratner and his partners counter familiar arguments that sports complexes are poor economic engines by combining the arena with housing, stores and office space? Will the developer be able to obtain private financing for the office towers? And finally, will he be able to keep down costs and minimize the need for public subsidies?

    In a remarkably short time, the arena project has gained the enthusiastic support of Mr. Markowitz, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and many of Brooklyn's elected officials. This has happened even when sports complexes have become political dynamite, scaring many politicians aware of a public grown weary of subsidizing extraordinarily wealthy team owners and players.

    Mr. Ratner, Mayor Bloomberg and the project's supporters say that the development will be more than a mere sports complex. The glass-walled arena, combined with four office towers and 4,500 apartments, will be a transformative project. It would establish Brooklyn as a destination again and accelerate a revival already taking place in nearby neighborhoods like Dumbo, Fort Greene and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

    Experts say Mr. Ratner may have something else going for him. It is a lot easier to make a 19,000-seat arena work economically than a 78,000-seat stadium that is used only 10 times a year. Mark S. Rosentraub, a sports economist and the author of "Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports and Who's Paying For It," estimates that an arena needs to book about 200 events a year to make money. While the Nets have been unable to sell out at their current home at the Meadowlands, he said that Mr. Ratner and his partners should have no trouble filling the seats given that there are 6.3 million people in Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau County, a larger and wealthier market than in N.B.A. cities like Charlotte, New Orleans, Indianapolis and Cleveland.

    "The numbers work," said Mr. Rosentraub, a frequent critic of public investments in sports complexes. "You'll have the best arena in the country to service a market of more than 6.3 million people."

    Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp, a sports economic consulting company based in Chicago, said, "It will generate the largest naming-rights fee in the history of professional sports, because it is in New York City and the only other arena, Madison Square Garden, can't change its brand name without losing a lot of cachet."

    But much about the project is unknown, including how much public money will be needed to make it work. Some officials said they expected Mr. Ratner's preliminary cost estimates to swell quickly. Mr. Ratner has tried to fashion an aerodynamic plan that he hopes will encounter little resistance from government officials or local residents.

    Mr. Ratner and Mayor Bloomberg declined requests for comment yesterday, saying they were awaiting an official announcement by the current owners of the Nets. But at a Dec. 10 pep rally for the project in Brooklyn, Mr. Bloomberg made his sentiments clear: "We're prepared to team up with Forest City Ratner Companies and with elected officials and people of this borough to bring the Nets to Brooklyn."

    In contrast, the Pataki administration has been more reserved, partly out of a concern that the Jets, Mets, Yankees, Rangers and Knicks also want public money for new complexes. "It's exciting," said Charles A. Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, "but we'll see what he brings to us for final approval."

    Neither the city nor the state has committed funds for Mr. Ratner's project and, one official said, they are "months away from agreeing on what they'll do for him."

    The arena would sit on what is now the Long Island Rail Road's Vanderbilt storage yard. Mr. Ratner needs the railroad to move the 11 tracks crisscrossing the nine-acre site to the east.

    He also needs the state to condemn four blocks to the east of the rail yard, which includes the homes of 864 people and businesses with about 200 jobs. Many of the residents have vowed to fight the project and will almost certainly file a lawsuit that could delay construction or stop it altogether. They have already formed an alliance with other community groups called United Brooklyn Coalition Against Urban Removal.

    With the state in control of the land, however, Mr. Ratner would be able to avoid the city's land-use review process and build a larger and more dense project than he would under the city's zoning regulations. But he will have to complete a stringent environmental review, which could turn up problems like oil contamination in the rail yard.

    Although Mayor Bloomberg and Mr. Ratner have stated that the project would be built mostly with private money, the developer has asked state and city officials about doing $150 million in infrastructure work, including moving the tracks and utility lines in the area and building new streets and sewer lines.

    Mr. Ratner has also proposed taking about $28 million a year in sales and income taxes generated at the arena to help pay the bonds for its construction. In addition, he is expected to seek tax-free financing for the housing, probably through the state's 80-20 program, which requires developers to set aside 20 percent of the apartments for low- and moderate-income tenants.

    Councilwoman Letitia James, whose district includes the neighborhood, is a rare voice of opposition among Brooklyn politicians. She considers the project an oversized monster that will destroy a vibrant working-class neighborhood that has rebuilt itself over the past 20 years.

    "This is a great day for rich developers and a sad day for working families," Ms. James said. "It will open the floodgates to public financing of sports arenas."

    Harvey Robins, a former official in the Koch and Dinkins administrations, said the Ratner project is "antithetical" to building communities. "You're putting up monstrous buildings in a low-density area."

    Brad Lander, director of the Center for Community and Environmental Development at the nearby Pratt Institute, somewhat sheepishly acknowledged that he was excited about a professional basketball team coming to Brooklyn.

    But he said it was disturbing that Mr. Ratner will bypass the city's land-use review process. He also feared that so many politicians had jumped on Mr. Ratner's bandwagon that it will undercut any attempt to negotiate for public benefits: earmarking housing and jobs specifically for local residents, building adequate parking and roads to offset potential traffic congestion on game nights. While there is a housing crisis in Brooklyn, he said, there is also an affordability crisis that the city should address.

    "I'm excited out of hometown pride and the possibility of affordable housing and jobs," said Mr. Lander, who lives in Park Slope. "But I'm very concerned that there will not be a meaningful public process in which the developer commits to things that could make this really work for Brooklyn."

    Not in Our Backyard, Wary Residents Say


    Before the first N.B.A. tipoff at the gleaming arena that the developer Bruce C. Ratner envisions for the area straddling the Atlantic Avenue rail yards, Mr. Ratner will have to take on a scrappy squad from down the block: his neighbors.

    A more ethnically, economically and commercially diverse crew would be hard to assemble, even in New York City. Within the three-block chunk imagined for demolition, there are artists and auto body shops, a world-famous violin builder, a cherished neighborhood bar and a small company that makes hats for church ladies.

    There are no-longer-young yuppie homesteaders who bought pieces of empty warehouses in a crack-plagued neighborhood 15 years ago, and their forebears, immigrants from Mexico and Barbados who bought rundown houses and patched them up. There are professionals in million-dollar penthouses and big Pakistani and Palestinian families crowded into small apartments.

    There is a Haitian car-alarm installer on Flatbush Avenue who just signed a 10-year lease on his garage, a Japanese print-maker on Pacific Street, and a clothing store named after Harriet Tubman.

    Altogether, neighborhood organizers say, there are about 1,000 residents and workers in their unglamorous corner of Prospect Heights. All of them would have to move if Mr. Ratner gets the state to invoke its power of eminent domain and seize their buildings so he can erect an arena for the New Jersey Nets, which he is purchasing, and a vast retail and apartment complex.

    And, for better or worse, they are taking their place in the long line of New Yorkers fighting quixotic-seeming battles against projects that threaten to devour their neighborhoods.

    It is a mixed civic history, one filled with hard-fought failures - the efforts to stop the World Trade Center, Lincoln Center and Mr. Ratner's own MetroTech complex in downtown Brooklyn - and a few longshot successes, like the defeat of the highway project called Westway.

    Patti Hagan, a leader of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition, pointed out the dozens of signs and banners ("Don't Destroy Our Homes") hanging in windows. "It's all-out war at this point," she said. "You only get one chance to fight, and if you don't take the opportunity to fight what you think is wrong right now, it will happen, you will be bulldozed and there's no going back."

    The local councilwoman, Letitia James, said yesterday that in the 24 hours since word got out that Mr. Ratner had bought the Nets, she had fielded calls from "at least 100 residents" considering lawsuits. "Everyone is calling me in tears," she said.

    But veteran organizers noted that development battles are wars of attrition, usually won by the party with the deepest pockets. Olive Freud, who led the fight against the Columbus Center project on Columbus Circle in Manhattan, recalled the day in 1987 when a formation of 800 protesters opened black umbrellas in Central Park to show the size of the shadow the building would cast.

    "They chased it away," she said. "People thought they had won.'' But within a few years, she said, another developer emerged. "Eventually he got exactly what he wanted.''

    Scott Bullock, a senior lawyer at the Institute for Justice, a Washington group that helps property owners fight eminent domain seizures, said a successful campaign needed to get organized and educated early, keep the pressure on politicians and make as much noise for as long as possible.

    So far, the arena opponents seem to be on schedule. Ms. Hagan trumpeted a traffic study predicting that another 23,000 vehicles a day would use chronically clogged Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.

    They are studying environmental-impact laws and gearing up to fight the Empire State Development Corporation, which has the authority to condemn properties and pay the owners for them.

    A pair of architects who live in part of a converted factory on Dean Street have even proposed an alternate development plan that involves razing the Atlantic Center mall, a much-maligned shopping complex that Mr. Ratner built just north of the proposed arena site. (Its newest tenants include two state agencies, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Empire State Development Corporation itself, which together pay Mr. Ratner more than 1.5 million taxpayer dollars a year in rent.)

    "If Mr. Ratner were willing to condemn his own property, he would be able to build his arena without displacing anyone from their homes," said one of the architects, Karla Rothstein. "It would be an improvement on the existing mall."

    She said she could not understand how the doctrine of eminent domain, which allows the state to seize blighted or underutilized land for the public good, could be applied to an area where long-vacant factories have been rapidly transformed into chic condos, or to a development that would be largely run as a private profit-making enterprise.

    As Mr. Ratner continues to line up support - he already has Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz on his side, and is working on the governor's office - Ms. Hagan said she felt that time was short.

    All of this leaves people like Joe Pastore, a semiretired driver for the state who lives in a $400-a-month rent-stabilized studio just off Flatbush Avenue, angry and confused.

    "I live at 473 Dean Street since 1967," he said. "For the government to tell me I've got to leave my home, that's not fair, you understand? This is no highway being built or no public building being built for the city or the state or the federal.

    Mr. Pastore, 59, recalled that he had watched his block evolve from a strip packed with working man's bars to a desolate eyesore and back to a thriving street.

    "There's been a lot of changes here," he said. "But I never thought I'd be one of them."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  12. #117
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    There are some very heavy hitters and strong legal groups backing the neighborhood groups opposing this plan. I think they are effectively focusing on Emminent Domain abuse. Ratner has an uphill battle. Neighborhood groups are attempting, with great affect, to shift the focus to Ratner's Atlantic Center. Everyone views IT as a blight on the neighborhood, a failed development, and are suggesting that it be demolished and incorporated into his development rather than pushing the new development into prospect heihgts. I think it is a good argument. Ratner can't defend Atlantic Center and this is going to undermine him. Letitia James has been very effective in forging a strong, committed coalition of communities and politicians to fight this.

  13. #118



    Just How Many Would Be Ousted?
    Numbers differ on displacement by arena

    By Luis Perez
    January 23, 2004

    Getting a score on how many people would lose their homes to make way for a basketball arena in Downtown Brooklyn depends on whom you team up with.

    Developer Bruce Ratner, who reached an agreement Wednesday to buy the New Jersey Nets and is pushing to house the team in a complex at Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, said in announcing the plan in December that 100 people would be relocated. His office has since said that number was an estimate and has conceded it could be higher.

    Neighborhood resident Patti Hagan, who has led a group objecting to the plan since learning of it in August, said her door-to-door tally showed a gentrified mix of 864 people living in the six blocks slated for redevelopment.

    U.S. Census records and figures provided by the city show the real net effect lies somewhere in between, about 350.

    The issue is bitterly contested because residents would be forced out through eminent domain, the government's right to buy and take over land when it is deemed to serve a "public use."

    According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 202 people lived in the six-block area. Most of them, 127 people, lived on the block that would house the stadium itself. The block is bound by Pacific and Dean streets and Flatbush and Sixth avenues, across from the Long Island Rail Road yard, over which the arena would also sit.

    The other 75 residents, according to the Census, show up on the block bound by Dean and Pacific streets and Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues.

    City Department of Finance records last updated in October, meanwhile, find 335 to 393 people living in 157 housing units on the same blocks, according a city official.

    While both numbers are greater than Ratner's suggestion, Hagan said they don't account for recent growth.

    "I know that to be an incorrect figure because I live here and I walk around here, and also because I'm a trained researcher," said Hagan, a former fact-checker for The New Yorker magazine.

    Hagan cited four new co-op buildings as well as a private women's shelter on Dean Street, saying those residents would not show up on the Census or in the city data.

  14. #119


    January 25, 2004


    To Some, the Nets Are a Slam Dunk, to Others a Technical Foul


    The new arena would be only a few blocks from this stretch of Sixth Avenue, near Prospect Place.

    Brooklynites who would be displaced by a new arena for the Nets are howling about the proposal, while many people who live elsewhere in the borough are big boosters of the idea. But among merchants and residents who are in between - living outside the area where the arena would be built but in the close vicinity - there is no such clear consensus.

    Billy Bob, a manager of Jimmy Jazz, a clothing store on nearby Fulton Street, is happy about the idea, which, if it leaps numerous regulatory and other hurdles, will bring a 19,000-seat arena and other improvements to Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues in Downtown Brooklyn. Mr. Bob expects brisk sales for basketball paraphernalia emblazoned with the borough's name. "This will be great for business," he said. "It will bring more people in."

    Ludlow Beckett, however, who owns a home furnishings store on Greene Avenue, is not convinced that basketball fans will patronize his shop. "They will be going to a Red Lobster, not to small, unique stores," said Mr. Beckett, president of the Fulton Area Business Association, which represents 60 merchants. "This won't bring foot traffic into our shops."

    For some Brooklynites, the prospect of Manhattan-style vehicular traffic is particularly unsettling. "Whenever there is a game, Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues will become parking lots," said Councilwoman Letitia James, who represents much of the area, including Prospect Heights. "People moved outside of Manhattan to get away from the traffic and noise."

    Clarence Nathan, co-owner of Premium Goods, a sneaker store on Fulton Street, says he is unsure what the arena's impact will be, but he tends to pessimism as both a businessman and a resident. "I live around here, and the traffic will be really bad,'' he said. "There will be no parking. I don't think it will increase business. They're coming here for the game, and then they'll leave. But who knows? Maybe we'll get more people."

    Other merchants, however, are even more optimistic than Mr. Bob, the owner of Jimmy Jazz. Bob Killen, owner of La Bagel Delight on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, sees the arena as a great economic boon for the borough. "It's going to create a lot of jobs,'' he said. "It will be great for business. We would like to open a store right there."

    In some ways, reaction to the plan seems to vary according to how far someone lives from the site. Patti Hagan, who lives two blocks away, worries that the proposal will undo her eclectic, reviving neighborhood. "This great urban mix will be crushed," said Ms. Hagan, a member of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition.

    Bernard Graham, who lives about 20 blocks away in Park Slope, has a rosier outlook.

    "It's good for Brooklyn, it's good for Brooklyn's economy, and it's good for Brooklyn's self-esteem," said Mr. Graham, president of the Park Slope Civic Council, which represents 800 residents. "A lot of small cities identify with their professional sports teams, and Brooklyn is no different from a small city."

    One group of residents seems to fully support the stadium: Nets fans. "Even at my age, I still get that feeling of being in the N.B.A. when I make a layup," said Darrell Canada, a 45-year-old construction worker who lives at the Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses. "Growing up in Brooklyn, I know that that court gives kids hope."

    Mr. Canada added : "We're talking about bringing opportunities to an impoverished community. They're talking about losing a few parking spots."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  15. #120


    I may have posted this here at one point, though probably not.

    This current proposal is not the first stadium designed for the Flatbush/Atlantic area. This was what we would have gotten had the Dodgers not left. The architect was a student of Bucky Fuller, one of that time's most 'out-there' designers. Of course the new design is by the real thing, not a follower thereof.

    I find the similarity of a glass-sided, round(ish) stadium interesting. I did this rendering for a magazine cover, I've always been fond of it.

    It was a good idea then (1957) and its an even better idea now. This project is the best thing to be proposed for Brooklyn in recent memory. I am not surprised at the opposition, but to hold back an entire boro to protect the rights of a few hundred people to live in blight or semi-blight is ludicrous at best. Ratner has a history of giving people displaced by his project more than fair offers. He will likely improve their lives along with the whole of Brooklyn. The only people likely to suffer would be the activists, who thrive on keeping people in bad situations so that they can be seen as their advocates. Grease their palms, or see those palms raised in objection.

    Enough ranting, the Gehry proposal is great and should be given every chance to be built!

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