Update: No new arguments in Yards case

The Brooklyn Paper
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The three-judge federal appeals court overseeing the last remaining legal challenge to Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project will not hear new oral arguments in the wake of the recent recusal by one of the judges.

After Judge Edward Korman recused himself citing a pro-Atlantic Yards postcard he once filled out, opponents of the 16-skyscraper, arena, hotel, commercial and residential mega-project called for a new hearing so that replacement Judge Dennis Jacobs could fully immerse himself in the arguments.

That motion was denied on Tuesday, but not reported until Friday in the New York Law Journal.

The newly reconstituted panel is expected to rule soon on the case, which centers on the state’s use of eminent domain to seize privately owned properties and give them to Ratner.

State officials said the condemnations are legal because the area around the buildings is urban blight.

Opponents argue that the condemnations are illegal because the decision to seize certain properties came after the state picked Ratner to develop the Vanderbilt rail yards and surrounding areas — an indication that the properties were not “blighted” until Ratner decided he needed them.

The case is the last remaining hurdle for Ratner. Last week, the developer won a huge victory in a related case that challenged the state’s environmental review of the $4-billion project. And he also defeated a legal challenge to his planned evictions of 13 rent-stabilized tenants in the Atlantic Yards footprint.

Opponents say they’ll appeal both rulings, but to this point, courts have consistently sided with Ratner.

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
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