Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner will move forward with a long-planned demolition this week, leaving a family that is suing to stop the project to live, literally, in the shadow of its progress.
Over the next week, the developer will complete the emergency demolition of the Wards Bakery parapet, which collapsed in a near-fatal accident in April, and also move forward with preliminary demolition of buildings at 814 and 818 Pacific St., between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, according to a construction update issued by the Empire State Development Corporation.
For the village of holdouts that remain in the project’s largely abandoned footprint, the construction notice was dismissed with a sigh.
“All the buildings are coming down. Sometimes if feels like it makes no sense for ours to be standing up,” said Maria Gonzalez, who has lived at 812 Pacific St. with her husband, Jose, for 35 years.
Their rent-stabilized building will be seized via the state’s power of eminent domain and turned over to Ratner, who will level it to make way for an 18,000-seat basketball arena and mostly luxury apartment towers designed by starchitect Frank Gehry.
The Gonzalezes’ lawsuit to halt the eminent domain process was dismissed in June, but the case, officially Goldstein v. Pataki, will be heard in a federal appeals court next month.
Ratner is required by state law to relocate the family — if their legal battle fails.
Like the Gonzalezes, Nelly Heredia could soon be evicted from her rent-stabilized apartment at 810 Pacific St., where she has lived for seven years. In 2005, when a Forest City Ratner subsidiary bought it for $2 million, she was told that she would be relocated to another apartment. She said that she has heard nothing from her landlord since.
“The only thing I hear is the machines going,” she said. “The construction is my alarm clock.”