Atlantic Yards Critics, Supporters Agree On One Thing

NYC Aerial
An aerial shot of Atlantic Yards in 2010. (AP)

An aerial shot of Atlantic Yards in 2010. (AP)
Brooklyn Nets minority owner and Forest City Ratner CEO Bruce Ratner has been planning a project to build 11 resedential towers between 6th and Vanderbilt Avenues for some time now. In fact, according to The Brooklyn Paper, it is scheduled to take about 15 years longer than originally expected. Critics and supporters of the project both agree on one thing, that it must get done sooner rather than later:

“Twenty-five years is too long to wait for the open space that was promised to the public as a benefit and that we have paid hundreds of million dollars for in government aid and zoning overrides,” said Danae Oratowski, the chairwoman of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council during a court-mandated forum last week on the potential impact of a quarter-century of construction.

The project is not only forcing Brooklynites to wait longer than expected for affordable, residential housing in the heart of their borough, but it’s also becoming an annoyance. The construction-related headaches will not subside until the project is complete; if not done within a reasonable timeframe, critics suggest that Empire State Development, which oversees the project, should divvy up the development among other builders in hopes of progressing the project toward completion.

It is not often that critics and supporters agree on an issue, especially in this controversial project’s hostile environment. But now, with frustration boiling over from both sides about the delay in completion, many have come into accordance:

“If you like Atlantic Yards, because it offers jobs and the promise of affordable housing, would you rather see it in 10 years or 25 years? If you don’t like Atlantic Yards because you’re concerned about some of the construction impacts … do you want to endure those for 10 years or for 25 years?” said Gib Veconi, a member of Brooklyn Speaks, an activist group dedicated to Atlantic Yards oversight.

Forest City Ratner’s response to the questions about why they are having such issues in getting the project completed in a timely manner have consistently involved complications with lawsuits and troubles with the ailing economy.

“We hope to build out the project as fast as possible,” said spokesman Joe DePlasco.

This most likely means that the construction disturbances around Barclays Center will continue for the foreseeable future.