Immediate Release: July 7, 2005
Extell Bids Reveal Radically Different Visions for Brooklyn
Community Groups and Pols Express Cautious Optimism Over
NY—Brooklyn community groups and politicians are greeting a
new plan for development at the MTA's Atlantic Avenue Railyards
with what they described as ‘cautious optimism.'
"From what we've seen of the Extell Development Company's
plan," said Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDb) spokesman,
Daniel Goldstein, "it appears to respond to the desires
of this community. Their bid appears to meet many of the principles
the community has established for developing the Yards."
Two Different Visions
Extell Development Company entered a proposal to the MTA for
their 8.5-acre Atlantic Avenue Rail Yards this Wednesday, the
day on which bidding was closed.
"This plan couldn't be more different than Bruce Ratner's,"
said DDDb's Goldstein. "It respects the existing communities,
doesn't rip off taxpayers, doesn't displace residents and businesses,
and is much more within the context of the surrounding neighborhoods."
"In addition, Extell is offering to go through the inclusive
and multi-leveled City land use review process (ULURP), which
means that—far from being a backroom sweetheart deal, like Bruce
Ratner wants—Extell's proposal would have real community input,
oversight by Community Boards and City Planning, and be voted
on by our City Council."
The Extell plan provides for affordable housing, jobs for minority-
and women-owned contractors, a new community center or school
and significant amounts of open parkland. Buildings would reach
a top height of 28 stories, as opposed to the 50-60 story buildings
in Bruce Ratner's proposal.
What About the Arena?
What the Extell plan conspicuously lacks is a sports arena.
"We have always said that bringing pro sports back to Brooklyn
is a fine idea," said Goldstein. "But when Bruce Ratner
says that his destructive, taxpayer-subsidized sweetheart deal
is the only way to do it, that's a con job. There are viable
options for an arena in Brooklyn, and maybe now that debate
"If Brooklyn doesn't get a pro sports team," Goldstein
concluded, "it will only be due to Bruce Ratner's hubris
A Dark Horse Bid
Asked about the MTA's bidding process for Atlantic Yards, Goldstein
replied, "It was a joke. They barely advertised their RFP,
which is why Develop Don't Destroy took it upon ourselves to
send the RFP to about 100 developers."
"Extell contacted us and asked what the community would
want to see developed on the rail yards. Before they went to
the drawing board, we showed them the UNITY community development
plan—which grew out of 15 months of community meetings and presentations—as
well as principles for development that have the endorsement
of 20 community groups and our three locally elected officials."
"Extell seemed to want to make an effort to respond as
best they could to those guidelines. Now we invite and urge
all interested community groups to join the process and hold
their feet to the fire over the coming months."
To see the Community Principles that were submitted for developers
to consider, go to: www.dddb.net/principles