A welter of community groups and politicians joined the legal pile-on on Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project on Thursday, claiming in a lawsuit that the state shirked its duties by approving major modifications to the project over the summer without a review of the environmental consequences.
Brooklyn Speaks, a coalition of eight community groups that has taken a backseat to other opposition efforts, filed the suit in Manhattan Supreme Court on the grounds that the June modifications allow Ratner to take far longer to build the $4-billion, 16 tower arena, residential and office complex — and a longer build-out time only worsens the “blight” in and around the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues that the project is supposed to remedy.
“The Empire State Development Corporation has ignored its statutory duty to act in the public interest,” said Assemblyman Jim Brennan (D-Park Slope), a member of the coalition. “By approving a modified Atlantic Yards project without so much as a new site plan, let alone a committed completion date, the agency has handed over to Forest City Ratner control of 22 acres of Brooklyn, no strings attached.
“The ESDC must address the likelihood that Atlantic Yards will continue to expand the kind of urban blight the agency now pretends the project will remove,” Brennan added.
The suit has some common ground with a suit filed in October by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and, as such, may be consolidated into one mega legal case.
“We are pleased that the opposition is getting bigger,” said DDDB spokesman Daniel Goldstein said. “It was big before and it’s only getting bigger.”
An ESDC spokeswoman did not seem too intimidated by the growing chorus of opposition to the project. “This new lawsuit is similar to the lawsuit filed one month ago,” she said. “Repeating this claim, however, does not make it any more valid.