As Other NYC Projects Falter, Atlantic Yards Still on Track

Amid a flurry of announcements of delayed projects in New York City, Forest City Ratner Cos. has orchestrated the $161.9 million refinancing of a loan connected to its $4 billion Atlantic Yards project in Downtown Brooklyn. Gramercy Capital Corp., which made the original loan to Brooklyn-based FCRC for the purchase of land for Atlantic Yards, provided the refinancing along with a group of co-lenders. Timing of the deal was just right, as the loan was scheduled to be repaid this month; the new loan is due in February 2011. To be developed in phases over a long-term period, the Frank Gehry-designed Atlantic Yards will feature 6,430 residential units, including affordable housing; 336,000 square feet of office space; 247,000 square feet of retail space; a 180-room hotel; eight acres of open space; and an 850,000-square-foot arena that will become home to the NBA’s Nets. The arena is first on tap to be constructed. While FCRC was successful in arranging a big refinancing transaction in the midst of one of the most challenging economic periods in memory, the company concedes that its drive to move forward with Atlantic Yards has not gone unhindered. “The economy has impacted all development activity–certainly tenant interest and the ability to access credit markets–and we certainly aren’t immune to that,” a spokesperson told CPN. And there are other issues preventing the Atlantic Yards project from progressing smoothly. “There are a couple of lawsuits pending by the opposition, but we’ve cleared many hurdles on that front and are confident that we will be able to clear the remaining hurdles.” So the show goes on at the 22-acre site at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues. Earlier this month, FCRC wrapped up the demolition of the building at 800 Pacific St., and additional site work continues. “We’re still moving forward,” he said. “We remain committed to the project and are continuing to work with our partners to finalize plans for the development.” The list of New York-area projects that are being delayed or canceled is growing. Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that the partnership period of conditional designation with Related Cos. and Goldman Sachs, the team selected to develop the $1 billion Hudson Yards project, had been extended one year beyond its original January 31 finalization date. And about a week ago, news emerged that Boston Properties Inc. had suspended construction of the $980 million office tower at 250 West 55th St. upon the unraveling of a planned lease agreement.