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BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page


For Immediate Release: March 8, 2006

Impending Demolition of "Underberg Building" By Forest City Ratner
Attempt to Stabilize Battered "Atlantic Yards" Proposal
Ratner's Demolitions Subvert State Review Process

BROOKLYN, NY - Developer and land speculator Forest City Ratner intends to begin demolition today on the "Underberg Building" at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Fifth Avenue within the footprint of its proposed "Atlantic Yards" development.

"It must be made very clear to the public that this demolition and the others that may come have nothing at all to do with an approval of Ratner's proposal or the start of the project. The project's review process has barely begun and the developer faces substantial political, legal and financial obstacles in his attempt to shove his misguided plan down the throats of Brooklynites," said Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) spokesman Daniel Goldstein. "The community's fight to determine its future landscape and well-being is stronger than ever."

Reverend Clinton Miller, Pastor of Clinton Hill’s Brown Memorial Baptist Church located a few blocks from the proposed development site said, "I have maintained from the beginning concerning this development, that he process will determine the project. If the process is wrong, then the project will be wrong." 
(Reverend Miller’s full statement questioning the transparency and democratic principles of New York City and State governments is here:  http://www.dddb.net/documents/legal/clintonmiller.pdf)


The developer claims that five other buildings in the proposed development site are in such a terrible state as to endanger the safety of the public. Despite this claim, none of the buildings, most of which Ratner has owned for over eighteen months, currently have protective scaffolding, sheds or netting to safeguard the “endangered public”. 

"Ratner bypassed the City review process and City Council oversight for the far less stringent and much more opaque State development review process. Despite public and political outcry about that breach of process, the developer is apparently not content to just sidestep the City Charter but has now also chosen to take advantage of the very low standards of review set by the State process," Goldstein said. “By demolishing these buildings Forest City Ratner is destroying evidence, for all time, that would confirm that the neighborhood he claims to be 'blighted' is not at all 'blighted.' Instead Ratner's demolitions are his attempt to create 'blight' where there was none.” 

Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation will eventually try to claim that the development site is a 'blighted' neighborhood in order to invoke the use of eminent domain to take private property and hand it over to the developer for his private, mostly luxury housing and arena project. 

An appeal, by DDDB and co-plaintiffs, to a February 14th court decision that paved the way for the demolitions will be heard in court on March 23rd. At the same hearing the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) will appeal a February 14th decision disqualifying ESDC's attorney on "Atlantic Yards" for having a clear conflict of interest as he represented Forest City Ratner on the same project.



All lawsuit related documents and information can can be found here.

Photos of some of the buildings slated for demolition.



DEVELOP DON’T 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.
www.developdontdestroy.org
Over 5,000 members.

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