Delays Plague Controversial Atlantic Yards Project

<p>Protests, lawsuits, and accidents have caused big delays in the construction of the controversial Atlantic Yards mixed use project in Brooklyn, New York. But the developers say the project will be completed on time.</p>
September 6, 2007, 12pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"Forest City Ratner had once imagined that, by now, the Atlantic Yards site in central Brooklyn would be humming with construction activity. Contractors would be tearing up streets to upgrade utilities, moving train tracks for the Long Island Rail Road and digging the foundations for the basketball arena and nearby buildings. Some 588 workers would show up each day and 410 trucks would carry debris and material back and forth, according to the final environmental impact statement published last November."

"But lawsuits, a construction accident, and other factors have delayed the pace of construction by two to nine months. The delays are having a number of contradictory repercussions, potentially costing the developer millions of dollars a month and also bolstering the argument that the area is blighted and in need of the dire intervention that the Atlantic Yards project - with its 16 high rises, basketball arena, 6,430 apartments and retail and office space-represents."

"Now, the area looks half-begun. Trees grow in the middle of vacant lots where functioning businesses once stood-and, in other cases, long-abandoned warehouses were falling apart. Sidewalk sheds have gone up and equipment has been hauled into place, only to be abandoned when construction is suddenly halted."

"Forest City Ratner states that it still intends to complete the Frank Gehry–designed arena in time for the opening of the 2009-2010 basketball season, which was the plan when the state's Public Authorities Control Board approved the development last December."

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Published on Tuesday, September 4, 2007 in The New York Observer
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