Last week, Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco was quoted in the Daily
"As we said this fall we anticipate additional delays
because of a pending court case," said spokesman Joe DePlasco,
referring to an Appellate Division lawsuit challenging the use of eminent domain
to acquire private land at the site.
"Over the last two years, we've prepared the site for the next steps. We've
gone about as far as we can go at this point with preliminary work,
including sewer, track, infrastructure and utility work, along with demolition,"
DePlasco said that litigation is the reason Ratner stopped all work on the Atlantic
Yards site. We asserted, correctly,
that litigation is an obstacle to building the arena and the rest of the project,
but is not an obstacle at all to Ratner continuing his work on building
a new rail yard.
Well today, on parent company Forest City Enterprises third quarter analysts
call, CEO Chuck Ratner said, "We've put all new development on
hold until economic conditions improve meaningfully." He included
Atlantic Yards in his run down.
So the rail yard work stoppage is due purely to corporate strategy, not litigation.
Though Chuck did come back to toe last week's line: "We stopped work because
the work we were doing came to an end."
But this is a fib, as Norman Oder
has proven (and here).
Other tidbits from the analyst call Q&A (which we suspect Norman Oder will
give the definitive report):
> Ratner has a
million bridge loan with Gramercy $153
million bridge loan from Gramercy for some of the Atlantic Yards land coming
due in February, 2009 and according to Chuck, they are trying to renegotiate
And this (transcribed by DDDB):
Analyst Q: How long can you delay that project and what is
the extra cost of delay?
Chuck A: We continue to work with public parties, who are still
fully committed; I think we can successfully delay until we are prepared to
start. I can't tell you in this market when that can be. How long? I don't know.
It's not a question of entitlements, it's a question of the market place.
As we've been saying for years, Ratner is speculating on our publicly owned
land, privately owned properties faced with eminent domain, hundreds of millions
in public subsidies, hundreds of millions more in undervalued land and tax breaks;
and while speculating he tears down the neighborhood to create developer's blight.
It's time for some good public policy at the proposed development site, instead
of corporate strategies.