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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"
"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”.
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.
DEVELOP DON’T DESTROY BROOKLYN
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
Over 5,000 members.