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don't destroy

BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page

For Immediate 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 reports.

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?”

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
DDDB is 501c3 non-profit corporation supported by over 4,000 individual donors from the community.