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Ratner Hopes To Break Ground on First Tower, But Doesn't Have the Cash

The developer of the Atlantic Yards project also announced that the same architect behind the Barclays Center will design the tower.

The architects of the Barclays Center will also design the first residential tower of the Atlantic Yards project, though officials with the developer, Forest City Ratner, conceded the company still lacks the funding to start building.

A Ratner executive revealed that the company does not have the money in hand to start building the tower on Thursday during an unpublicized meeting called by the Empire State Development Corporation, the state agency overseeing the project. The news was first reported by The New York Post.

SHoP Architects, the firm behind the current design of the Barclays Arena as well as its public plaza, will also design the first of 16 towers within the mega-development bounded by Flatbush and Vanderbilt avenues from Dean Street to Atlantic Avenue.

SHoP got the job to design the tower at Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue to maintain a uniform aesthetic, according to reports from the meeting.

Still, the announcement was undercut by the fact that developer Bruce Ratner doesn’t have the money to build, and that he hopes to attract investment through renderings of the 400-unit building.

The admission is a far cry from more confident statements Ratner made at the groundbreaking last year, as well as during a recent press conference regarding the pedestrian plaza at the Barclays Center.

“If there’s no market for the kind of middle-income housing with the amenities and the numbers that we’re doing, then New York City is in serious trouble — but I really don’t think that’s going to happen,” Ratner said in September, according to The Brooklyn Paper.

The news also represents yet another delay in a project that has been characterized by them since it was first announced.

The first residential tower was originally supposed to be built in late 2010.

Then Ratner said he hoped to begin construction this summer.

Now the developer is aiming for the end of the year.

As the New York Post noted, the meeting was only announced at all because the watchdog blog The Atlantic Yards Report reported that it was taking place.  According to ESDC officials, the meeting did not need to be publicized in the same fashion as most public meetings because of an odd loophole that defined the gathering as one of an “ad hoc committee.”

Ellen Edelman February 12, 2011 at 05:22 PM
Where is the affordable housing????? In the tower?????

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