Developer Forest City Ratner is shopping around a major chunk of the controversial Atlantic Yards development, but the company says that the project will continue as planned no matter what.
The developer is seeking an investor to buy a stake in half to four fifths of the un-built portion of the $4.9 billion development, but the company claims that it will remain in full control, sale or no sale.
“Nothing would change,” said Ashley Cotton, Forest City Ratner’s vice president for external affairs. “Our commitment to Atlantic Yards is a top priority.”
The sale could net Forest City Ratner up to $800 million, according to published reports. The transaction might make the investor majority owner of the project, but real estate experts say that such financing arrangements are common, though it is not every day that they happen at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.
“What [potential investors] get out of it is that they get to own a piece of an enormous rental development in Brooklyn,” said legendary real estate broker Chris Havens. “Is there anything else like this in Brooklyn where you could invest that money in one shot?”
The complex that is planned to include 14 high-rise apartment buildings with 6,430 units is running a decade and a half behind schedule, something the developer says will stay the same whether or not an investor steps up to the plate.
The top-dollar deal is for a stake in the13 un-built buildings, not the almost one-year-old Barclays Center — a key part of the Atlantic Yards project — or the 32-story modular tower called B2 that is currently under construction at the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue. The big purchase is likely to appeal to managers of pension funds and sovereign wealth funds, according to industry newsletter Real Estate Alert, which first reported the possible sale. The plan for a towering, six-square-block development has faced resistance from the jump, sparking indignation from people whose homes were to be demolished, neighbors with quality-of-life concerns, and housing advocates who said that company executive chairman Bruce Ratner’s promises of 2,250 affordable apartments were a ruse to enjoy huge tax breaks.
Project foes and supporters alike have pressed Forest City Ratner to finish the second phase of the project — 11 residential towers between Sixth and Vanderbilt avenues — in 10 years. Construction has only started on the B2 tower.
Ratner’s company blames the snail-like pace of construction on litigious protesters.
“The delays were caused primarily by the multiple lawsuits that were brought against the project,” said company spokesman Joe DePlasco.
The company said it does not have a date for when it might next break ground.
News of the possible sale comes shortly after Forest City Ratner announced it won a bid to redevelop the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island. The company will invest $229 million to renovate the arena, casting uncertainty on the future of the Islanders the hockey team that is scheduled to move from the Coliseum to the Barclays Center next season.