“I think we’ll break ground sometime this year,” was all Mr. Ratner would say, referring to the first residential building that is slated to rise at the site, a tower on the corner of Dean and Flatbush whose base will cantilever over a rear entrance to the 14,000 seat Barlcays Center. The first building will be something of a barometer, Mr. Ratner suggested. The offerings in the other two buildings, he said, be they studios, one bedrooms, or larger apartments, will be based off the market’s reception of the spaces that Forest City Ratner will offer in the first tower.
Mr. Ratner bristled when asked to make further reaching projections of progress on the Atlantic Yards site. Standing inside the arena and gazing into its nearly finished bowl of seats, The Commercial Observer’s gaze couldn’t help but trail farther, through a large entryway being used by construction vehicles. Beyond was the rest of the site, a stretch of train tracks and dirt recessed below grade that runs east for several blocks between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street.
“We’re here to talk about the arena,” Mr. Ratner snapped when asked when those portions of the development would begin.
One could forgive Mr. Ratner’s edginess given the opposition he has faced. Sensing that he had perhaps recoiled a little too fiercely, his demeanor quickly loosened.
“You have to understand, my words have been twisted around in the past,” Mr. Ratner said.
“And then all of a sudden I’m getting sued,” he added, seeming to refer to a recent suit by a group of workers who claim they were promised union jobs by Forest City Ratner for enrolling in a training program, but subsequently weren’t offered employment.