Cash-strapped developer Bruce Ratner is selling half his stake in two of the borough’s largest shopping centers as he struggles to begin his $4.9-billion Atlantic Yards project across the street.
Ratner sold 49-percent shares of Fort Greene’s Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal Mall and 13 other projects to an international real estate investor for $172 million last week.
A spokesman for the company said that the sale would have “no direct bearing” on the delayed mega-development, which is supposed to consist of 16 residential and office towers, plus a basketball arena, but currently only features the under-construction sports facility.
“We’re happy to continue to own these properties, they’re fantastic properties,” said Forest City spokesman Jeff Linton, who added that shoppers at the two busy malls would not notice any changes. “It’s going to be completely business as usual to Brooklyn shoppers.”
The malls, at the nexus of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, consist of mostly chain stores, including Target, Men’s Warehouse, and Bath and Body Works. The site has long been popular with shoppers, and with thieves, who have ensured that the Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal malls make almost-weekly appearances in the police blotter.
The sale came two days before the company’s announcement on Thursday that its Barclays Center arena is on track to open in 2012.
And last week, the Brooklyn Nets — excuse us, New Jersey Nets — began selling ticket packages for future home games in Brooklyn.
But work on the residential portion of the Atlantic Yards development has not been finalized. For now, Ratner is considering a 34-story “prefabricated” tower for the site, which could be cheaply built from premade modules without expensive union workers.
Linton said that a pre-fab building, which is bitterly opposed by organized labor, is just one of several construction options on the table.