Developer Bruce Ratner received the final stamp of approval from the National
Basketball Association to purchase the New Jersey Nets, but elected officials
and opponents of the Atlantic Yards say the game is not over.
Prospect Heights Councilwoman Letitia James and community activists gathered
on the steps of City Hall Thursday afternoon to criticize the NBA “for
failing to listen to the voice of Brooklyn” and demand city oversight
on the proposed Atlantic Yards development project.
“If Mr. Ratner thinks we are going to roll over and play dead for
his arrogant proposed over development, he is wrong,” said Daniel
Goldstein, a spokesman for Develop — Don’t Destroy Brooklyn,
a group formed to fight the project.
The sale of the Nets to an investment team headed by Ratner was unanimously
approved by the NBA board of governors on Wednesday.
Ratner plans to build a 19,000-seat arena at the intersection of Atlantic
and Flatbush avenues. As part of a $2.5 billion development project that
includes 17 soaring towers with 4,500 units of housing and 2.1 million
square feet of office space.
As part of the plan, Ratner would either have to buy out or ask the state
to condemn over 10-acres of private property. The Empire State Development
Corp. is expected to be named the lead agency in the project, which would
cut out the city council and local community boards from the official
Councilwoman Christine Quinn, who is fighting the West Side development
project including a Jets arena in her Manhattan district, and councilmen
Larry Seabrook and Bill Perkins all joined in demanding the development
proposal go through a city review process.
“That this development will take place without any community oversight
is a smack in the face to the community,” said Perkins.
The group also called for public disclosure of all city and state subsidies
being requested by the developer, the elimination of eminent domain, and
a legally binding contract guaranteeing jobs and affordable housing.
Says Goldstein, “Now it’s time for the people we’ve entrusted
to protect us — our elected officials — to get off the bench,
get in the game and live up to their responsibilities.”