Even though Forest City Ratner made sure to tout the groundbreaking of the first housing tower at Atlantic Yards late last fall, few would have described the developer’s approach towards housing, particularly affordable housing, as passionate. Forest City Ratner itself has made no secret of the fact that its focus was on the arena, the linchpin of the development site and the first and only building to be completed up to this point.
Apparently, though, newly appointed president and CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin is now thrilled about affordable housing. As she told a crowd of urban planning gurus, developers and real estate powerbrokers at a CURE. (Center for Urban Real Estate) dinner at Columbia University Wednesday night, while all of the positive feedback on the arena had been nice, “it is the housing component that will truly revolutionize the project.”
When Forest City Ratner executive vice president—and soon to be CEO, once Bruce Ratner steps down—MaryAnne Gilmartin spoke to Westchester Magazine, she was asked for “the most baseless criticism” leveled against her. She responded, “That I don’t really know Brooklyn, so I’m not qualified to develop a project there. I lived in Brooklyn from 1988 to 1993.”
That criticism is about to get a little more baseless: Ms. Gilmartin and her husband, James, just bought a townhouse in Park Slope, according to city records. The couple paid $3.85 million for the four-story, 20-foot-wide brownstone at 113 St. John’s Place, and will presumably be moving from their home in Edgemont, New York.
An Arena Grows in Brooklyn
It could be the biggest thing to come to Atlantic Yards since Barbara Streisand and Justin Beiber announced they would be playing concerts at the Barclays Center this fall. While everyone (but the neighbors and former neighbors) is looking forward to the opening of the new arena, Forest City Ratner now has its eyes trained across the street, to the two malls it owns there.
Once work on the arena is complete, the difficult task of moving forward with the adjoining apartment buildings lies ahead. But as interest in the area’s retail has boomed in anticipation of the new 18,000-seat venue, Forest City Ratner has also accelerated plans to redevelop the Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal malls.
“It’s an obvious opportunity,” MaryAnne Gilmartin, Forest City’s executive vice president, told The Observer. “One of the many things we think about is the impact the arena will have, and how we can help create a holistic neighborhood at Atlantic Yards from there.”
Week In Review
Prefabricated buildings have not been such a hot topic of conversation since Buckminster Fuller passed away, but that is about all anyone can talk about at Atlantic Yards anymore. On the one hand, it could signal a paradigm shift in how New York City builds; on the other, it goes against many of the employment promises Forest City Ratner made when the project won support from politicians and labor unions.
The recession, the credit crunch and the inherent difficulty of building in the most densely settled city in America: These are just a few of the challenges that have dogged the Atlantic Yards project since its announcement, in December 2003. Add to these general obstacles a small group of litigious opponents who vowed Read More
Forest City Ratner’s Executive Vice President Jim Stuckey got promoted today to President of the Atlantic Yards Development Group. The new title means he will continue to see through other commercial projects but not take on development of new ones, devoting more time to the 22-acre controversy in Brooklyn. Pipeline work will go to Read More