Thursday’s symbolic groundbreaking of the Atlantic Yards project practically demands a look back at the long history of this ambitious and controversial project. Here’s a timeline.
December 10, 2003
Flanked by Jay-Z, his starchitect Frank Gehry, Mayor Bloomberg, the former Nets and Knicks legend Bernard King and Borough President Markowitz, Bruce Ratner announces his plans for a mega-project that will feature mixed-income housing, commercial space, a hotel and a sports arena.
Ratner buys the New Jersey Nets.
July 4, 2005
Bruce Ratner signs a “Community Benefits Agreement” with eight groups, with Mayor Bloomberg acting as merely a witness. The contract guarantees certain civic benefits to the signatories, such as job training and affordable housing — though critics blasted the document as merely a PR stunt.
The state’s obscure Public Authorities Control Board gives the green light , paving the way for billions in subsidies and dozens of courtroom challenges.
The project becomes one of the most significant victims of the economic downturn in New York, as Ratner tells the generally sympathetic New York Times that he has had to drastically overhaul his vision for the 22-acre property. Among the shocking revelations: the pricetag had ballooned from $435 million to $950 million and the “Miss Brooklyn” centerpiece tower would not be built because there is no anchor tenant.
Starchitect Frank Gehry’s ambitious plan for the Atlantic Yards is scrapped in favor of a more modest — and widely criticized — plan for just an arena. Weeks later, Ratner reveals a newer rendering that is received more favorably.
The state revises its deal with Ratner to pull back the project back from the brink by allowing Ratner to make a smaller up-front payment for the Atlantic Yards land and paying out the rest over 30 years.
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov buys 80 percent of the Nets and becomes a major investor in the larger Yards project. The move gives Ratner much-needed financial backing for his project.
New York’s highest court rejects one of the most significant lawsuits brought by project opponents, which alleged that the state had abused its power of eminent domain.
A New York State Supreme Court judge rules that the state may proceed with its seizure of properties in the Atlantic Yards footprint.
A groundbreaking ceremony is held to commemorate the Barclays Center, which is slated to be completed before the end of the 2011-2012 basketball season.