With a major court victory behind him, developer Bruce Ratner is applying the full−court press to break ground on an arena this year that will eventually land the NBA’s Nets in Brooklyn.
Among the items on the agenda that need to be taken care of before ground is broken include closing on the MTA’s Vanderbilt Yards, ironing out details with the Empire State Development Corporation on the rest of the 22−acre Atlantic Yards site and lining up financing for the project.
“This was a huge victory that starts the ball rolling again,” said Forest City Ratner Companies spokesperson Joe DePlasco. “We’re working very aggressively on the financing and next steps with the goal of formally breaking ground this coming September or October. It has been a tough haul in a difficult economic environment but there’s very much a sense now that we’re moving forward. “
DePlasco’s comments came after last week’s Appellate Division, Second Department 4−0 ruling against opponents of the project, and upholding the state’s right to use eminent domain given the public benefits associated with the Atlantic Yards project.
Following that ruling, Ratner maintained his commitment to the Atlantic Yards project including the arena, and thousands of units of market−rate and affordable housing.
Ratner also expressed confidence the project would break ground this year, with the intent that the Nets will play the 2011−12 season in the Barclay’s Center arena.
FCRC officials said they expect to start at least one residential building, along with the arena during the first phase of the 22−acre, 16−high rise project moving southeast from the Atlantic⁄Flatbush avenues intersection.
Opponents of the project, led by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, vowed to appeal the case.
“The court’s logic is faulty. The private benefit to Ratner was never compared with the alleged public benefit because no one knew or cared to ask Ratner whether he would make billions, tens of billions or hundreds of billions,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff.
Ratner, perhaps the borough’s largest developer, having also built the MetroTech complex, the new courthouse on Jay Street and the Court Street cinema, among other projects, also topped off the 34−story 80 DeKalb Avenue tower built last week.
The building, Ratner’s first residential project in the borough, includes 73 affordable rental units along with 292 market−rate apartments, making it the first 80⁄20 development in Brooklyn financed with bonds issued by the New York State Housing Finance Agency.
Under the program, FCRC was able to finance 80 DeKalb with $109.5 million in tax−exempt bonds and $27.5 million in taxable bonds.