Ratner’s Atlantic Yards block party cancelled

New York /
Jun.June 27, 2008 05:07 PM

Three years ago today, Forest City Ratner entered into a community benefits agreement for its Atlantic Yards project, promising affordable housing and work for local and minority businesses to help build Brooklyn’s biggest-ever development. A block party planned for today to celebrate the anniversary has been canceled.

The party was to be in the footprint of the struggling Atlantic Yards project, on Pacific Street between Vanderbilt and Carlton avenues. Delia Hunley-Adossa, chairwoman of the Atlantic Yards Community Benefit Agreement, said the block party had been planned for months, but was canceled after the U.S. Supreme’s Court decision Monday not to hear an eminent domain petition presented by property owners and tenants challenging the government’s ability to seize their homes. The ruling followed a string of legal losses for the project’s opponents.

“We wanted to be sensitive to the community that the decision came down Monday,” said Hunley-Adossa, who works with both the developer and the community.

Daniel Goldstein of community group Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, a plaintiff in several lawsuits against the project, said that flyers were first emailed out Monday afternoon, soon after the Supreme Court’s decision.

“The flyer was emailed out at 4:30 p.m. on Monday,” Goldstein said. “The decision came out after 10 a.m. I believe that it was scheduled because of that decision and I believe it was canceled because somebody realized it was a really bad, offensive idea.”

Goldstein said the block is full of rent-stabilized tenants, including some families who have lived there for generations, and all of the homes are threatened by the project.

“We work to prevent displacement due to gentrification,” Hunley-Adossa said. “We’re getting 2,250 units of affordable housing [in the Atlantic Yards project]. For all of what has been done, the commitment is where it should be.”

Adossa said Forest City Ratner has been using local and minority businesses in pre-construction work.

“I think the third quarter is when the actual ground will be broken,” Hunley-Adossa said. “There’s no doubt that we’ll get all we fought for.”
Last week, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn asked the Public Authorities Control Board to investigate the financing of the project because of its increased cost.

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.


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