Barclays Center to do official groundbreaking

With the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Barclays Center arena set for March 11, the ducks finally seem to be lining up in a row for developer Forest City Ratner.

The ceremony was quickly set last week following State Supreme Court Judge Abraham G. Gerges’ final approval ruling for the state’s planned seizure of property to make way for the $4-plus billion Atlantic Yards project.

The ruling also paved the way for several street closings and traffic changes to accommodate the 22-acre project at the Atlantic/Flatbush Avenue intersection and moving southeast.

These changes were slated for Feb. 1, but were put on hold until the court ruling.

Starting at 6 a.m., this Monday, March 8, Fifth Avenue between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, Pacific Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and Pacific Street between Vanderbilt and Carlton Avenues will be permanently closed.

Local and emergency vehicle access will be maintained as needed.

Northbound traffic on Fifth Avenue can use Flatbush Avenue or Sixth Avenue to continue north; southbound traffic can use Sixth Avenue. Eastbound traffic on Pacific Street can use Dean Street; westbound traffic can use Bergen Street.

To facilitate vehicle circulation, Sixth Avenue (between Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street) will become two-way and the block of Pacific Street (between Carlton and Sixth Avenues) will become one-way westbound.

These changes necessitate the removal of the Cobble Hill-bound B63 bus stop on Fifth Avenue, between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue.

Passengers can use existing bus stops on Fifth Avenue (at Bergen Street) and on Atlantic Avenue (at Fourth Avenue).

Advisory signs will be posted in advance of the closures and detour signs will be posted during the work. Traffic agents will be assigned to facilitate the flow of traffic and pedestrians.

The court ruling also means that the Empire State Development Corporation can officially start the process of removing residents whose property is condemned.

Daniel Goldstein, spokesperson for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the main plaintiff in many of the court battles, and a resident who will lose his home to make way for the project, called the ruling a sad day in Brooklyn.

“I am angry with our so-called political leaders who proudly stand by their abuse of power,” said Goldstein. “When the most powerful forces in state government collude with the real estate industry, injustices will happen, and today is a result of that.”

ESDC spokesperson Elizabeth Mitchell said the agency will continue to work with occupants to relocate them and anticipates an orderly relocation taking place over the next few months.

Mitchell said there are 4 commercial occupants and about 35 residents occupying 15 apartments including Goldstein’s condo that will be relocated.

On the flip side of the condemnation, the Atlantic Yards project comes at a time when the city has seen little major development come to fruition in recent years. The Freedom Tower, for example, remains stalled, and unemployment is over 10 percent.

Borough President Marty Markowitz said the ruling means the creation of much-needed affordable housing, solid union jobs and permanent employment opportunities for Brooklynites.

“Brooklyn’s shovels are, and have been, ready. So, let’s pick them up and get to work,” said Markowitz in a statement.

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