Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ratner Vows to Break Ground on Atlantic Yards


Developer Bruce Ratner unveiled Sunday a new timetable for the sprawling Atlantic Yards development after admitting recently the slowing economy might delay the project.

In an Op-Ed in Sunday's Daily News, Ratner acknowledged the massive 22-acre project is behind schedule due to numerous court challenges and the shaky economic climate. He insisted the obstacles have not derailed the project - and vowed to break ground on the Frank Gehry-designed Nets arena later this year and complete all 16 residential and office towers by 2018.

"In recent weeks, some have rushed to write the obituary of Atlantic Yards," Ratner wrote in his opinion piece. "Rumors of Atlantic Yards' demise, stirred by opponents, have been greatly exaggerated. The project is moving forward in its entirety."

In particular, Ratner vowed to complete the first residential tower - with "significant" affordable housing - at the same time as the arena in 2010. Ratner also promised to break ground on two more residential towers in the project's first phase by 2011.

"In these three residential buildings, no less than 30% of the approximately 1,500 units will be dedicated to low- and middle-income New Yorkers," Ratner vowed.

As for the complex's signature Miss Brooklyn tower, Ratner said officials are still searching for a key tenant and will not begin construction until a deal is signed.

Even with the softening real estate market, Ratner pledged that the project's original 6,400 apartments, including 2,250 affordable ones, will still be built.

"The cynics can doubt. The critics can naysay. Conspiracy theorists can spin wild tales. But Atlantic Yards is too important to the ongoing vitality of Brooklyn and New York for us to come up short," he concluded. "We will build Atlantic Yards - and deliver on all of our commitments to Brooklyn."

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