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don't destroy

BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page

For Immediate Release: July 26, 2005

The Developer Has No Clothes
Ratner Rejection of Extell Arena Compromise Exposes Ratner Plan for What It Is:
An Arena as a Front for a Massive Land Grab

NEW YORK, NY -- The NY Times (http://tinyurl.com/8r2wt) is reporting today that:

"The real estate investment group [Extell Development Company] battling with the developer Bruce Ratner for control of the Atlantic rail-yard near Downtown Brooklyn offered a compromise yesterday that it said would allow both parties to declare victory: The group would incorporate Mr. Ratner's plan to build a glass-walled basketball arena for the Nets into its project."

"...Mr. Barnett [Extell CEO] said yesterday that if he won [the MTA bid], his company would resell a portion of the development rights for no additional cost to Mr. Ratner so that he could build the basketball arena, now expected to cost more than $500 million."

Mr. Ratner immediately rejected the compromise offer.

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn spokesperson Daniel Goldstein said, "With Mr. Ratner's swift rejection of the Extell compromise, the developer has shown that he is much more interested in the enormous profits his land grab would bring to his firm, and not interested in bringing pro sports to Brooklyn or compromising with the community. Clearly if pro sports does not return to Brooklyn, it will be Mr. Ratner's inflexibility that will be at fault."

Goldstein continued, "Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn remains opposed to eminent domain for a sports arena or any private development. However, we appreciate that Mr. Barnett, of Extell, is interested in opening a dialogue, and accommodating those politicians, and some Brooklynites, who are nostalgic to bring pro sports back to Brooklyn, and the majority of the community that wants to see sustainable, in-scale development. We are also pleased to see that if there is an arena proposal, it would go through the city's land use review oversight process known as ULURP, instead of bypassing it as Ratner has chosen to do."

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn has always said that it is interested in an open dialogue, and it believes a discussion about viable options for an arena in Brooklyn can finally begin.

Goldstein concluded, "We need Mr. Ratner to tell the truth. Thus far his track record doesn't lend us much hope for that. The truth is that his arena has always been a front for a land grab, and his rejection of this compromise offer proves that. Development needs to be about what is best for the community, not what is best for Bruce."

With this new compromise offer on the table, along with the two proposals offered by Extell and Forest City Ratner ($150 million in cash from Extell, versus $50 million in cash from Ratner), it is ever more necessary for the MTA Board to deliberate further and fairly, and hold their vote in September, not Wednesday–only two days after seeing the bids for the first time.

DEVELOP DONíT DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community coalition
fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing and destroying them.
We oppose Forest City Ratner's "Atlantic Yards" proposal in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
Over 5,000 members.