Atlantic Yards Decision Drama! More Lawsuits as Financing Questions Remain

The ESDC said that there would also be $150 million in taxable bonds, which are far more expensive for Forest City. The stated reason? The property taxes are not excepted to be high enough to cover more than the $600 million in debt.

“While we have secured investment grade ratings, Empire State Development is in ongoing discussions with rating agencies and bond insurers. In addition to the investment grade rating, we anticipate there will be taxable bonds as well,” ESDC spokesman Warner Johnston said in a statement. “Details will be released once documents are finalized.”

Complexities aside, Greg Carey, a managing director at the financing underwriter Goldman Sachs, said he expected to begin marketing the bonds as early as next week, and said the whole deal would close in mid-December.

That is, if even more litigation doesn’t stop it.

Midday Tuesday, project opponents and landowners declared their intent to sue, again, to stop the use of eminent domain. This would be at least the seventh major lawsuit filed by Atlantic Yards opponents and critics to stop or derail the development.

At a press conference outside Freddy’s Bar, a neighborhood watering hole in the arena’s footprint, Matt Brinckerhoff, the holdout landowners’ attorney, said next week he expected to file a suit that would challenge the use of eminent domain based on the fact that the project has changed significantly since it was first approved in 2006. The public use–a component of the decision to use eminent domain–has changed, and thus the courts must reconsider the project under the new circumstances, he said.

There are also at least four other outstanding lawsuits challenging various aspects of the project, with three of them challenging the re-approval process this year. At least so far, Forest City and others involved in Atlantic Yards have expressed confidence that those suits do not pose a mortal threat to the development or its financing. 

ebrown@observer.com

Atlantic Yards Decision Drama! More Lawsuits as Financing Questions Remain