It's probably never been as great a demand as we're having right now. ... This city did not have the kind of recession that much of the country had.
—Forest City Ratner Companies CEO Bruce Ratner*
New York State Court of Appeals denies ESDC and Forest City Ratner appeal of order to revisit 2009 Atlantic Yards plan
In a final defeat for the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) in their attempt to illegally extend construction of the Atlantic Yards project from 10 to 25 years, New York State’s highest court today denied their motion to appeal a July 2011 decision ordering a revisit of a 2009 modification to the plan and additional environmental analyses. ESDC and FCRC lost their previous appeal by a unanimous decision of the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division. The denial by the New York State Court of Appeals means that the July order by Justice Marcy Friedman will stand, and the supplemental environmental impact study (SEIS) must proceed.
The BrooklynSpeaks sponsors expressed frustration with the Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management Plan (TDM), released today nearly six months after its initially scheduled announcement, and only four months before the opening of the Barclays Center Arena. The TDM as presented by Sam Schwartz Engineering emphasized marketing of transit use to prospective arena patrons over disincentives to drive, and reduced the scope of the demand management strategies previously agreed between Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) in December of 2009.
“Effective demand management is a lot more than advertising,” said Ryan Lynch, Policy Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “But the plan released today doesn’t even include the free subway fare for Nets ticketholders promised in 2009. The TDM assumes the public will bear the cost of adding transit capacity after arena events. Instead, the developer should be paying for service enhancements.”
A missed opportunity to lead, and the back of its hand to the affected communities, as ESDC continues to defend its improper actions of 2009
When Forest City Ratner Companies approached the Empire State Development Corporation in 2009 seeking an additional 15 years for the development of the Atlantic Yards project, the agency had two responsible choices. It could have complied with the requirements of New York State environmental law and analyzed the impact of more than doubling construction duration on surrounding neighborhoods. Or ESDC could have fulfilled its obligation to State taxpayers that it manage public funds wisely, and sought bids from additional developers in order to maintain Atlantic Yards’ approved schedule. It could have even done both.