Another Lawsuit Could Block Brooklyn Move

barclays1Opponents of the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, the proposed site that would contain a new arena for the Nets, filed another lawsuit today at the State of New York Supreme Court designed to sink the project once and for all.

In the suit, project opponents, which include the group Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and 19 other community groups charge that the Empire State Development Corporation illegally abandoned the original purpose of the project, which was to remove blight from the Propsect Heights, Brooklyn neighborhood.

“Victory by the petitioners would doom the besieged development plan,” said a statement released by DDDB earlier today.

Cause for the suit come from a recent deal made between Forest City Ratner, the developer (and current Nets owner Bruce Ratner’s development company), and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority over the 22-acre rail yard site needed for the development. As explained in a Reuters report, Ratner originally agreed to buy the site for $100 million in cash at the time of closing, but the agreement has been revised to allow him to pay $20 million at closing and the remaining $80 million over a 22-year period. DDDB claims in its suit that this new payment plan will keep the site blighted and underdeveloped for decades.

Click here for more details of the suit from DDDB.

This is the fourth lawsuit filed over the site. Last week, a hearing was held in the Court of Public Appeals in Albany to contest the use of eminent domain for the project. Project opponents also filed a separate suit last week challenging the “sweetheart” real estate deal which involved the MTA selling the Vanderbilt Rail Yard to Ratner.

Not to sound like a broken record here, but at the end of the day, this all comes down to timing. December 31 seems to be an unofficial deadline for financing to be in place and construction to start on the Barclays Arena. In addition to any legal merit these lawsuits may carry, they also ensure that this timeline is disrupted, ultimately making this a game of clock management. The reason why this is important from a basketball standpoint is no Brooklyn means no Mikhail Prokhorov and his billions, and it also means this team will probably be up for sale again. And unless an ownership group looking to keep the team in Newark comes forward, who knows what that means for the future of the “New Jersey” Nets.