Supreme Court Rejects Appeal from Brooklyn Arena Opponents

The U.S. Supreme Court today turned down an appeal from opponents of the plan to build a new arena to house the NBA’s Nets in Brooklyn as the centerpiece of the Atlantic Yards development. Eleven property owners and tenants contended that the government’s seizure of the property via eminent domain, was in violation of the U.S. Constitution because the project benefits the developer, not the general public. “We believe, and the courts have repeatedly agreed, that Atlantic Yards provides significant public benefits, including thousands of affordable homes, and much needed jobs for Brooklyn,” said Bruce Rather, CEO & chairman of Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner Cos., in a statement today. “We are gratified that the Supreme Court has put an end to this lawsuit. The opponents have now lost 20 court decisions relating to Atlantic Yards, and we are now one step closer to making these benefits a reality for the borough and the city.” In a statement on its Website today, the group Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn said the plaintiffs will now pursue their eminent domain challenge to Atlantic Yards though the New York State court system. In an update on Atlantic Yards’ status, Forest City Ratner said that 53 percent of the structures on the site have been demolished, or are in the process of being demolished. To date, 30 structures have been demolished, and an additional three buildings are being demolished, or are slated to be demolished in the short term. There are 11 vacant lots, and 29 other remaining structures. As reported by CPN in early May, the developer recently unveiled the most recent renderings of Atlantic Yards by noted architect Frank Gehry. The 34-story Building One, or B1, will feature 650,000 square feet of office space. The 850,000-square-foot, 18,000-seat Barclays Center, to house the Nets, will include six restaurants and clubs. The 325,000-square-foot Building Two will be a 350-unit apartment structure, with 50 percent of the units reserved for low-and-middle-income residents. The project has engendered a significant amount of protest since its inception. Some critics have expressed concern that factors such as the credit crunch, increased construction costs and a downturn in the real estate market will mean that Forest City will not deliver some key components of the project. Forest City has maintained that it will still include 2,250 affordable housing units as part of the project. Also, the Municipal Art Society of New York recently revealed architectural renderings that it says demonstrates the negative impact the developer’s planned temporary parking lots will have on the area.