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Ratner to break ground next week!

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Bruce Ratner will officially break ground on his $1-billion Barclays Center on March 11, days after a crucial judicial ruling in his favor and slightly more than seven years after the project was first announced.

The ceremony in Prospect Heights will likely include Mayor Bloomberg and Atlantic Yards cheerleader-in-chief, Borough President Markowitz, wielding the ceremonial shovels.

If all goes as planned, the event will be the so-called “end of the beginning” of a project that was unveiled in 2003 and mired in delays and controversy since.

It was approved by the state in 2006, but has significantly changed since. Under the current plan, the arena and up to three buildings would be completed in the next few years — a big backtrack from the original 2016 completion date for the arena and all 16 residential, office and commercial buildings.

The project looked very much in doubt a year ago, but a series of favorable court rulings, a helpful renegotiation of the financing by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and a major cash infusion from Russian billionaire — and soon-to-be Nets owner — Mikhail Prokhorov turned it all around.

If only the Nets would do the same. At press time, the team was 6-53 — still on pace to break the National Basketball Association’s all-time record for fewest wins in a season, a dubious distinction.

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Reader Feedback

JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
You write as if the obstructionist lawsuits has nothing a scale back project. All the lawsuits accomplished is what the lawsuit's said it wanted to prevent. The developer seems to have come out ahead because of the numerous delays.
It does not take much to see that. With all of that Mr Goldstein still has to move.
March 3, 2010, 11:49 am
JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Bye, Bye clown!!!
March 3, 2010, 11:50 am
Raymond E. Alston from Flatbush says:
About time!
March 3, 2010, 12:50 pm
Susan from Sunset Park says:
Wasted time and money!!! Now build the Dam thing!
March 3, 2010, 4:08 pm
DDDB from Brooklyn says:
Lots of us are angry, no...mad, and
lots have already said 'I'll be there.'"

THIS IS THE MOMENT.

Skip work or take a long lunch...

Join us to Protest and Drown Out the Barclays/Ratner Boondoggle Ceremonial Groundbreaking
Thursday, March 11. Reportedly 1:30pm.
Exact location yet to be determined

ALL HANDS ON DECK

Next Thursday, March 11th, at 1:30pm., Forest City Ratner will stage a “groundbreaking ceremony” for the money-losing Barclays Center Arena, we presumein the Atlantic Yards project site though we do not yet know exactly where. Note there will be no groundbreaking for any "affordable housing" and the Barclays Billion Dollar Boondoggle will not house a single Brooklynite.

We use the term “stage” knowingly, since the “Atlantic Yards,” as currently conceived, cannot be built.

The ceremony of dirt shoveling pols will signify the start of prepping to eventually build an arena, not the promised affordable housing Bruce Ratner still claims he is going to build. It is a ceremony to celebrate an a money-losing arena and at least 25 years of blight and interim surface parking where a neighborhood once stood.

This is why we ask you to join us this Thursday to loudly protest at Ratner’s/Bloomberg's/Markowitz's/Paterson's “groundbreaking."

Mr. Ratner apparently doesn’t know Brooklyn very well.

Because by now, he ought to know that Brooklynites are mad, very mad, about his project.

We’re mad that a top-down, developer-driven, Big Brother-style project has been billed as “involving the community.”

We’re mad that our city laws, city zoning and democratic city land use review process has been bypassed.

We’re mad that billions of dollars that belong to taxpayers will be wasted on a folly whose prime beneficiary will be Bruce Ratner.

We’re mad that the unelected, unaccountable Empire State Development Corporation has abused eminent domain for the benefit of a private real-estate project.

We’re mad that publicly owned land is being awarded to the lowest bidder by the unelected, unaccountable Metropolitan Transportation Association, the same MTA that has neglected to properly maintain the Vanderbilt Railyards so Bruce Ratner can claim “blight.”

We’re mad that public money is being wasted on a frivolous, money-losing arena while public transportation, schools, infrastructure and social services go wanting.

We’re mad that our own elected representatives, like Tish James and Velmanette Montgomery, have been ignored by the powerbrokers in Albany and City Hall who try to hide their cronyism by saying that they know what’s best for Brooklyn.

We’re mad that for all the phony Brooklyn and Dodgers nostalgia pushed by Bruce Ratner and his supporters, the naming rights for the arena have been sold to a British bank with a sordid past – while Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokorov and Bruce Ratner pocket all the money.

We’re mad that a project that will do nothing but cause blight has been falsely sold as blight removal.

We’re mad that public streets are being closed and discredited superblock designs are taking their place.

We’re mad that Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Paterson have continued to keep their head in the sand about this boondoggle.

We’re mad that the ESDC railroaded through a sham environmental review, ignoring comments from thousands of citizens and telling Brooklyn residents that we’ll just have to deal with the project’s many unmitigable adverse impacts.

We’re mad that Bruce Ratner has told us that his out of scale, out of character project is what’s best for Brooklyn, when we know much better.

We’re mad that Bruce Ratner and his political supporters have exploited the housing crisis in New York City to sell the public a project that will cause instant gentrification (if it is ever built) and cause the displacement of thousands of lower-income residents, while never fulfilling its affordable housing promises.

Etc.

If the project is moving forward, and we have our doubts, it is greatly important for all those who have been involved in the fight against Atlantic Yards to any degree, to come out to this protest. Let the political dignitaries who have allowed this corrupt project to proceed hear and know of your opposition and anger.

Let them know that they are not getting away with this unnoticed. Let them know that WE, the people, are angry and watching…. very closely.

If you, too, are mad about this miscarriage of justice, join us this Thursday around 1pm to express your anger. Bring signs, slogans, posters, effigies and noisemakers—drum, a pot, a whistle, make some noise, and let Bruce Ratner and his political cronies know that Brooklyn is mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore.

(More to come as details emerge about the event. Check back at dddb.net.)0
March 3, 2010, 4:36 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
It's a great event...after all these wasted years of court delays...a big waste of time and money.. we will finally have a revitalized atlantic ave hub. those who stood in the way of this reconstruction caused Brooklyn to have a watered down version of what could have been built on that vital location.
Now all the net's need are some players who know how to play the game of basketball, maybe they should look for talent in some of the local Brooklyn school yards.
March 3, 2010, 4:39 pm
Judahspechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Dear DDDB:

If there's free beers at your get together, then I am there. I am all about beers. Might I suggest some imported & some domestic micro-brews.

It will be a great party. I am finally glad to see that you have come around to liking this arena idea. It is great that you & Ratner will be throwing this party together. It is nice to see you guys celebrating together after all these years of fighting.
Maybe there is hope for our great political divides.

Oh let me know if I should make some signs. I was thinking, "Let's Go NETS"!!!

Holla back!!!
Your Friend,

JudahSpechal
March 3, 2010, 7:29 pm
Peter from Clinton Hill says:
Boo Ratner! Boo Arena! Boo Blight! Boo Nets! Boo Nasty People!

Go Brooklyn and Go Knicks!!!!!!!!
March 3, 2010, 9:02 pm
DDDB from Brooklyn says:
See you there Judah!
March 3, 2010, 11:05 pm
M to the I from Prospect Heights says:
This project was delayed because of Ratner and the NY State ESDC. This is what happens when you don't allow public input and include the public in the planning process from the beginning.

The fight against this project is not over.
March 4, 2010, 9:26 am
JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
My tax$$$, your tax $$ still does not equal the risk a developer takes on with this kind of development. I would be all for kicking Ratner to the curve, I mean who wants to look at a George Foreman grill for the next 50yrs(We have the obstructionist to thank for that). Thank you DDDB! (?) Until Ratner came with his development there was no one talking about this site. I mean no one. So the 2 people who are the obstructionist, your tax contribution is nothing is minor. Plus you are going to get is back plus extras in income tax paid. If DDDB can come together with Ratner in celebration of this arena, why can't you other "sourpuss"?
I hear that they will be grilling brontosoris steaks, (don't know if I spell that right, but you know Flintstone style).

So stop on all whining, come to the party, and lift a pint, to the Barclays George Foreman Grill. Thank you DDDB!!!
March 4, 2010, 10:30 am
John from Ditmas West says:
DDDB: Glad your Mad-ness failed.
Hope your rage is spent.
Ratner has prevailed.
Yes, he'll make a mint.
Get over it.
March 4, 2010, 11:11 am
Barbara from Clinton Hill says:
A dark day for our Democracy when the likes of all powerful developers can promise the sun, the moon and the stars yet, deliver blight and take our federal dollars and people's homes in the process. Help DDDB, they have struggled, fought, rallied, spoken out and they need everyone's support, not cynical derision. Daniel, his family with all the plaintiffs and friends of DDDB have been HEROIC in this dreadful fight against mired NY politics, greed and big brother. How many people would try SO HARD to expose and stop this boondagle project. They are sincere, steadfast and admirable to the core and all of NY and especially Brooklyn owe them tremendous thanks for the work they have done and continue to do.
March 4, 2010, 2:09 pm
JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Barbara please!! Your comments reads like something you would probably march against. Scar-a-poli-tricks!! "Dark Days for Democracy". How do you think all these buildings in NYC was developed? With your/mine/everybody's tax $$$ as incentives. Are we going to oppose every development? Probably not! You certainly don't want Bloomberg developing these projects, but soon as a private developer comes with their loot we want to tell them how to spend it and where. I can't see how one family, sad as that maybe losing an apartment, where a few thousand of jobs are created for many out of work people is not a dark days for Democracy. When one goes to the extremes with protest you get all levels of anarchy!! Which DDDB has resort to on occassion. And you certainly can't expect everyone to be just as outrage when people pick & choose projects to protest. You have a Councilwoman who's anti-AY, but pro "Dock St development", which will put a structure by the Brooklyn Bridge. How do you then mobilize outrage with such pro/con contradiction?
March 4, 2010, 2:47 pm
DDDB from Brooklyn says:
No, we are not going to oppose every development. Just the corrupt ones.
March 4, 2010, 6:41 pm
Dan from Park Slope says:
The money DDDB spent was well worth it. The court delays and related expenses were the result of a flawed process on the part of the city and the state. The Yards was a public asset that should have been sold to the highest bidder willing to develop a project matching the goals of a development plan that NYC City Planning should have written. That plan, which was never written, should not have included the use of eminent domain and should not have included the closure of public streets.

You can't really blame Ratner for being manipulative and scheming. He is a developer and his goal is to develop at maximum profit. You can blame City Hall and Albany for not requiring an open, competitive process.

This site could have been the future site of much greater things. The day Ratner breaks ground is a sad one for the future of Brooklyn.
March 4, 2010, 9:40 pm
Dan from Park Slope says:
...Actually... If Ratner didn't want to build so much parking, didn't get the city to let him close 5th Avenue, limited eminent domain the physical footprint of the arena itself, and was willing to pay a fair price for the MTA's land... then it actually wouldn't be such a terrible project.
March 4, 2010, 9:43 pm
alan from sheepshead bay says:
daniel goldstein, may we hear your name no more.
March 4, 2010, 9:58 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
Go Nets! Thanks Bruce for getting rid of the slum that Robert Moses created by denying the beloved Dodgers.
March 4, 2010, 11:01 pm
Harmony from Park Slope says:
I agree with Pacholo - the triangular shape of this building definately calls to mind other images. Long live the vag center!
March 5, 2010, 8:48 am
Antoinette from Carroll Gardens says:
This is why Park Slope seems so uncivilized to us on this side of the canal. Nobody's crossing the canal to become part of that loud mess! We shop here or in Manhattan. Cities evolve. It's a simple concept the crazies in Park Slope will never grasp. As for me, I'll buy tickets to the Nets games!
March 5, 2010, 11:26 am
Matt from Mill Basin says:
You wanted Gentrification, you got it.
March 5, 2010, 12:08 pm
No Hand Grab from Dope Slope says:
Danny Boy and Norm need a drink badly. Hopefully Freddy's is not closed yet.
March 5, 2010, 11:57 pm
John from Clinton Hill says:
Great day for Brooklyn!! Where were all of the protesters in the 70's-90's when this neighborhood was blighted and filled with drug dealers and abandoned buildings? In my Darwinistic view, you have to sacrifice a few to save the whole. There are many in Brooklyn who want this project. There are many who speed by this area daily because it looks like crap now. Matt has it right. The city encouraged gentrification in this area and now the leaders of that movement are being bitten by it. There are many in Brooklyn who don't think much of Tish James or Velmanette Montgomery. Cry me a river! Let's get this project built so that the city and the opponents of the project can benefit from all of the new tax revenue. Finding a new place to live in Brooklyn isn't that hard in this market. Or maybe I have it all wrong and everyone actually enjoy looking at that hole in the ground on Atlantic Avenue.
March 7, 2010, 5:15 pm

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