New legislation would rein in Atlantic Yards

TRD New York /
Jun.June 16, 2008 04:29 PM

Brooklyn politicians and civic groups proposed legislation today to create a trust that would impose more public control over the construction of Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards mega-project in Brooklyn.

The bill, dubbed the Atlantic Yards Governance Act, is modeled on the Hudson River Trust Act of 1998, which created a public benefit corporation that oversees the park along Manhattan’s western waterfront.

“The Atlantic Yards development is a public project built on public land with public money, therefore it is important to maximize the amount of public involvement,” Democratic Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who is co-sponsoring the bill, told The Real Deal. “The Atlantic Yards Development Trust simply replicates the organizational structure every other development project operates under.”

Democratic Assemblywoman Joan Millman, a co-sponsor, cited the turnover at the state’s Empire State Development Corporation as a reason to give the project a “clear and firm leadership structure.”

The bill would create an Atlantic Yards Development Trust, a committee of 16 officials appointed by the governor, mayor, borough president and other authorities. The committee would oversee the project’s architectural design guidelines, work with state and city agencies concerned with environmental issues, develop policies about transportation and other concerns, and examine any project changes.

A council of local residents would also be created to advise the Trust, with members appointed by local elected officials.

Scrutiny of Atlantic Yards has intensified following Ratner’s recent decisions to downsize the project and delay construction of a centerpiece tower until an anchor tenant is secured.

Forest City Ratner refused to comment.

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