Ratner's Atlantic Yards Land Deal All But Done

Final deal likely to be inked on Wednesday

Despite significant pushback from the people, the loss of architect Frank Gehry and the global economic crisis, the forces behind the new downtown Brooklyn home for the Nets are poised to close the deal -- at an even deeper discount -- this week on the Atlantic Yards.

Developer and Nets owner Bruce Ratner is planning to scale back the size of the project and intends to lower the amount he pays the city for the prime real estate in the heart of the County of Kings that makes the whole thing possible.

Today, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns rail yards where Ratner plans to build, announced a new pact to sell development rights.

The revised agreement would call for Mr. Ratner to pay $20 million up front for the property, and $80 million in deferred payments for the air rights.  

The new terms are currently being discussed by the finance committee; if the committee approves the agreement, as it is expected to do, it will go to the full board of the transportation authority on Wednesday, The New York Times reported.

“Too much has happened on this project,” Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, told Crain's New York. "The horse is out of the barn on this one.”

Ratner was also supposed to build a new "rail yard that’s worth $200 to 300 million," an official told New York Magazine.
You can likely shave about 25 percent off that project.

And instead of a 22-acre mega-plex featuring office space and housing, the newly scaled back project may be little more than a basketball arena and a lone residential tower. So much for the 2,500 units of affordable housing.

Ratner is desperate to break ground by the end of the year; otherwise he'll lose millions in tax-free financing.

"There is no way they'll have the land they need to build this by the end of the year," Daniel Goldstein, spokesman for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, told The New York Post.

The adjustments to the project were unveiled Friday during a meeting between the Empire State Development Corp. and city legislators, many of whom were displeased by the news.

“This was a classic bait-and-switch,” Councilwoman Letitia James, a Brooklyn Democrat, told Crain's New York. “They [Forest City] made promises so they could get their arena."

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