Ratner kills Mr. Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Paper
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Developer Bruce Ratner has pulled out of a deal with City Tech that could have net him hundreds of millions of dollars and allowed him to build the city’s tallest residential tower, the so-called Mr. Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Paper has learned.

“It was a mutual decision,” said a key executive at the City University of New York, which would have paid Ratner $300 million to build a new dorm and lab for City Tech and given him a prime plot at the corner of Tillary and Jay streets where he reportedly hoped to build the 100-story, Renzo Piano-designed building.

“Both sides agreed that the costs had escalated and the numbers showed that we should not go down that road,” added the executive, who did not wish to be identified.

Costs had indeed escalated. In 2005, CUNY agreed to pay Ratner $86 million to build the 11- to 14-story classroom-dormitory and also to hand over the lucrative development site where City Tech’s Klitgord Auditorium now sits.

Then in December, CUNY raised Ratner’s fee to $307 million with no explanation.

“Ratner’s ‘Mr. Brooklyn’ deal gets sweeter,” The Brooklyn Paper headline read.

Still, it’s likely that Ratner willingly got out of the deal in light of the nation’s ongoing credit crunch (see story below) and his own shaky finances, said Councilman David Yassky.

“He may be overextended right now,” said Yassky (D– Brooklyn Heights). “Look, a lot of developers are re-evaluting their numbers and feel that residential buildings don’t work right now,” he said.

Yassky called Ratner’s withdrawal “good news” for Brooklyn.

“A residential building at that corner was an awkward fit,” said Yassky. “A lot of planners see that site as ideal for a significant office building.”

Forest City Ratner did not return two messages from The Brooklyn Paper.

The CUNY official said the dorm and lab would still be built — but no longer as a public-private partnership.

“We’ll build it in partnership with the state Dormitory Authority,” the executive said.

Updated 4:35 pm, July 9, 2018
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