Fresh off dumping Frank Gehry from his planned Brooklyn Nets arena, Bruce Ratner appears to be putting his money where his mouth is, as the real estate developer plans to restart stalled construction work again on his $4 billion Atlantic Yards project.
Preliminary work at the site, including the construction of a temporary rail yard, has been stalled since December 2008, when Mr. Ratner abruptly halted all work in an apparent bid to save money while the project was debated in court.
But now, per a construction update from the state agency overseeing the project, in the next two weeks, we’ll see a “remobilization of contractors” and “general excavation” in the rail yard.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the project is a go just yet. The biggest hurdles remaining for Mr. Ratner are the successful financing of his arena with tax-free bonds, along with a renegotiation of agreements with the city and state.
The tax-free bonds are certain to stoke debate, as a similar bond sale by the Yankees for their stadium ignited an explosion of criticism before the deal was completed early this year. Much of that criticism focused on what critics said was an artificial increase in land values to make the bond deal legal, and as the Atlantic Yards Report notes today, values have skyrocketed in the Atlantic Yards footprint in the past two years.