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BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page

For Immediate Release: March 8, 2007

Forest City Ratner Misleads Public On Construction Timeline;
(Minimum) 15-Year Build Out Looms

Parent-Company CEO Says Arena Won't Open Until 2010;
“We Are Terrible” in Estimating Time Needed for Construction

BROOKLYN, NY- Forest City Ratner (FCRC) appears to be having trouble being honest with the public about its proposed “Atlantic Yards” project. And this time, they've been caught making misleading statements by the CEO of their parent company.

In comments Tuesday at the Citigroup 2007 Global Property CEO Conference in Naples, Florida, Forest City Enterprises (FCE) CEO Chuck Ratner said that the build out for the “Atlantic Yards” would last at least 15 years, and that the planned arena would open by the 2010 season at the earliest. Yet only two weeks ago, FCRC Executive VP Jim Stuckey told The New York Observer “we expect that it will take 10” years to complete construction, and just last week, FCRC CEO Bruce Ratner told The New York Times that “I think we can” open the arena in 2009.

“The memo from headquarters about the project's real timing appears to have suffered the same mail delivery problems as the lease assignment for Henry Weinstein's property,” said Eric McClure, speaking on behalf of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn. “These guys might want to start using the telephone in order to keep their stories straight. We don't imagine that Chuck Ratner is talking worst-case scenario, either; 20 years of construction — and the truck traffic, noise, debris and disruption that accompanies it — is probably more realistic.”

Chuck Ratner's comments at the Citigroup conference were first reported today by AtlanticYardsReport.com, which analyzed a webcast of the FCE CEO's remarks. “I'm not at all confident of how long it will take us to finish.” Mr. Ratner said, while discussing the timetable for “Atlantic Yards.” He added, “we are terrible — and we've been a developer for 50 years — on these big multi-use, public-private urban developments, to be able to predict when it will go from idea to reality.”

The statements by Chuck Ratner further cloud the question of when the proposed project's below-market-rate housing will be available. The great majority of the below-market units are planned for later stages of construction. In addition, the March issue of the real estate publication The Real Deal is reporting slackening demand for Brooklyn office space, which could further limit the “Atlantic Yards” project's already vastly reduced promises of new jobs.

FCRC's misleading statements about construction timing are part of an emerging pattern of inconsistencies. The developer had told the Empire State Development Corporation that it “controlled” the property owned by Mr. Weinstein in the footprint of the proposed “Atlantic Yards” project during the state's review process, despite the fact that FCRC held only a lease, at best, and had obtained that without Mr. Weinstein's required consent. A state court ruled in Mr. Weinstein's favor on Tuesday in a lawsuit regarding the property.

Click here to listen to the webcast of Chuck Ratner's comments at the Citigroup 2007 Global Property CEO Conference.

Comments relating to the “Atlantic Yards” project begin just past the 27-minute mark of the webcast.

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