Bruce Ratner can't take the heat in softball interview by virtual house organ The Commercial Observer (Norman Oder's examination of the interview is here):
Last year he thought they'd break ground...last year.
Waiting for Bruce: The Commercial Observer Tours Atlantic Yards Arena
By Daniel Geiger
...Mr. Ratner managed to break ground on the basketball arena – which will be home to the Brooklyn Nets – in 2010, just before tax free bonds the state had permitted him to issue in order to finance the arena's construction at below-market interest rates were due to expire. The timeline for other components of the project, including the construction of three residential towers that will hug the arena, is less clear.
"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. (Emphasis added.)
Such petulance just because a friendly publication's reporter was attempting to dig a wee tiny bit and perhaps broke the restrictions of Mr. Ratner's narrow interview ground rules? Of course Mr. Ratner wouldn't want to talk about anything besides the arena...because there is nothing to say about any of the rest of the phantom project
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 but one shouldn't. Why? Because this guy has broken every meaningful promise he has made to the public.
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.
It is an odd presumption the reporter has made, that Ratner was talking about that suit. Because neither that suit nor any others were filed becuase of "twisted words." We'd actually like to present a challenge to Mr. Ratner and The Commercial Observer to show us one instance of his words being twisted and one instance of them being twisted and leading to a lawsuit. His words haven't been twisted, they are twisted, e.g. "Why should people get to see plans? This isn't a public project."
"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.
If by "embrace" Mr. Ratner means dropping a rusty behemoth in the midst of a neighborhood with a massive traffic and parking problem, with no meaningufl mitigation or management plans, and opening it to 18,000 people 230-or-so nights per year...well, we'll have to reject that hug. An air-kiss would have been preferable.
...Mr. Ratner also pointed out that games will be partially visible from the plaza in front of the arena.
"It's going to be the only court in the league where you can literally watch the game from the street outside," Mr. Ratner said, pointing out the arena's embrace of the surrounding community.