It’s back to the drawing board for the Atlantic Yards — they wish.
Armed with a digital projector and a lot of lung power, a group of planning wonks came together last Saturday to create a new development at the Atlantic Yards site in the (unlikely) event that the various lawsuits aimed at blocking Ratner’s $4-billion residential, retail, office and arena project succeed.
“If this project is stopped, we must be prepared with a plan that the community wants to move forward,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Prospect Heights), who attended the event, which was modeled after the “UNITY” planning forums she organized in 2005.
Those planning forums created a rival bid for the Yards site, the Extell Development plan, which was rejected by the state (in a sham process, Yards opponents say).
This time around, seven-hour think-fest was sponsored by the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, a coalition of 26 civic groups, and the Center for Community Planning and Development at Hunter College.
The resulting “New Unity” plan resembles Atlantic Yards — but with smaller buildings, an Atlantic Avenue with a planted median, a hotel in a restored Ward Bakery building, more affordable housing, a manufacturing area, artists’ studios — no big box retail, no superblocks, more open space and no — they repeat, no — arena.
In other words, it doesn’t resemble Atlantic Yards at all.