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Lawsuits Could Potentially Kill Atlantic Yards Development

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Here we were, after all the hubbub about kicking Frank Gehry off the Atlantic Yards project and Ellerbe Beckett stepping in, that everything was finished and going to move forward on the New Jersey Nets’ new arena from here on out. But apparently there’s still one big hurdle to jump. Bloomberg‘s James Russell reports that the developer, Forest City Ratner, is facing two lawsuits which it must win before construction can begin. One is from a Brooklyn-based activist group (who we discussed here when Gehry was still involved) who are trying to stop the project from moving forward and the other demands to know how the company has updated their environmental planning since they’ve made numerous changes to the original building plans. Should either one not go the developer’s way, there’s a healthy chance that none of it will happen at all (something Russel seems like he wouldn’t mind too terribly — we know his fellow critic over at the Times wouldn’t be left unhappy either). Here’s a bit:

If the judge in either case rules for the plaintiff, the resultant delay would make it almost impossible for Ratner to obtain financing through tax-exempt bonds that must be issued before the end of the year. An adverse ruling in either case also would give Barclays Plc the right to withdraw from a deal in which it would provide $400 million for naming rights on the arena.

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