Bruce Ratner seals sweetheart deal with MTA

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Next stop, Atlantic Avenue Barclay’s Center − home of yoooour Brooklyn Nets!

Both the Empire State Development Corporation and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last week did their part in furthering along the 22−acre Atlantic Yards project, which includes bringing the borough its first major professional team since the Dodgers left Brooklyn.

The ESDC voted to approve a modified General Project Plan (GPP) that retains all the key elements of developer Forest City Ratner’s original $4 billion project.

Separately, the MTA voted to allow developer Bruce Ratner to pay $20 million down for the eight−acre Vanderbilt Yards portion of the project and pay off the remaining $100 million with 6.5 percent interest over the next 22 years.

Additionally, the MTA agreed to their first−ever station naming rights deal, wherein FCR will pay $200,000 per year for 20 years ($4 million) to have the Atlantic Avenue⁄Pacific Street subway station co−named “Barclay’s Center.”

“More than before, Atlantic Yards is about the future of Brooklyn,” said Forest City Ratner President and CEO Bruce Ratner in a statement following the agency’s decisions. “It is about the Barclay’s Center, which will be a world−class sports and entertainment facility. But equally it is about affordable housing and public space. It is about jobs and opportunity. It is about creating a new community in the heart of a thriving borough.”

The project site is bounded roughly by Flatbush and 4th Avenues on the west, Vanderbilt Avenue on the east, Atlantic Avenue on the north, and Dean and Pacific Streets on the south.

The centerpiece of both the original and now $4 billion−plus GPP includes an arena to house the NBA’s Nets. The arena will also give the borough of 2.5 million its first large venue to hold concerts, conventions and other larger events as well as community uses such as graduations from local high schools and universities.

The arena will be at the Atlantic⁄Flatbush avenues intersection.

Additionally, the plan calls for 16 buildings for residential, office, retail, community facilities, parking, and possibly hotel uses.

These buildings will include about 5,325 to 6,430 housing units, 2,250 of which will be affordable. Additionally, a proportion of the units will be set aside for seniors and some affordable condominiums.

The project also includes eight acres of publicly accessible open space, an elementary and intermediate school, a health center, an intergenerational center, a new LIRR storage yard, and a new transit entrance at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.

It is projected to create upwards of 17,000 construction and permanent jobs.

The modifications to the GPP include acquisition of the site in stages instead of one lump sum, allowing FCR to move forward with the development of the arena and the four surrounding towers, as well as construction phase parking and parking for the arena.

Other modifications include allowing FCR to pay off the $100 million for the Vanderbilt Yards in payments plus interest, and to provide the MTA with a letter of credit in the amount of $86 million to secure its future obligation to upgrade the Vanderbilt Yard, prior to the first property acquisition by ESDC.

The ESDC also will hold a public hearing regarding the proposed changes followed by a 30−day public comment period.

As of press time the hearing date is not set, but ESDC spokesperson Lisa Willner said it will most likely be at the end of July.

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