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Release: March 20, 2009
Ratner May Cut Gehry Beekman Tower in Half
If The Developer Can Only Build Half a Tower
That’s Already Financed, How Is He Going To Build
Atlantic Yards’ Arena and 16 Skyscrapers?
ESDC Needs to Provide Some Answers
New York, New York — Developer Forest City Ratner, it appears, is going to stop vertical construction 38 stories short of completing its 76-story, 900-unit Downtown Manhattan, Frank Gehry-designed tower.
According to WNYC-radio
and Crain's, all signs
point to a tower half the planned height, and the developer has not denied those
One year ago Forest City Ratner announced with much fanfare the securing of $680
million in financing for the whole 76 stories. With financing in place, why would
the company halve the project? Presumably, the souring housing market, the global
financial crisis and the overall
poor performance of Forest City Ratner’s Cleveland-based parent company Forest
City Enterprises (FCE-A) have
all played a role.
The inability to complete more than half of a single tower in Manhattan—propped
up financially by Liberty
Bonds from New York City’s Housing Development Corporation—does not bode well
for Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards mega-project.
“Let’s get this straight. Bruce Ratner can’t build half of his Downtown Manhattan
tower, even with financing, but he
claims he can finance and build the $4 billion Atlantic Yards project, which
includes a $1 billion 18,000-seat arena and, not one, but 16 skyscrapers, including
a hotel, an office tower and 6,430 units of housing. Who does he think he is kidding?
He may have cut Gehry’s building in half, but that doesn't make him a magician,”
said Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s spokesman Daniel Goldstein.
New York State, through the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), is still
supporting the Atlantic Yards plan, including the arena, for which Forest City
Ratner has neither secured the financing nor the land. Nobody really knows what
the arena cost is, though the last reported estimate, one year ago, was $950
million. Meanwhile, the City and State are keeping the current arena construction
costs top secret, refusing to
divulge the costs even in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, claiming
that the information is a “trade secret.”
Goldstein concluded, “New York State’s continued unconditional and unquestioned support for Atlantic Yards, especially in light of the apparent problems with the Beekman Tower project, is incredibly reckless. It’s time for the ESDC to give some answers to the public, starting with a simple one: what is the estimated cost of the Barclays Center arena?”
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