A coalition of Atlantic Yards-area civic groups are urging state officials to consider the idea of bringing in additional developers to speed construction at Atlantic Yards.
Brooklyn Speaks issued a news release on the issue Wednesday morning in advance of a public hearing on Atlantic Yards construction Wednesday evening.
At issue is a 2009 decision by Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards Construction, to allow developer Forest City Ratner to change the length of construction on the project from 10 years to 25 without conducting a new community impact study (called an SEIS) on how the construction would affect the surrounding community.
Brooklyn Speaks, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and others sued, arguing that a 25-year construction site would have a very different impact than one that lasts only 10 years.
The Brooklyn Speaks coalition won the initial suit and several appeals.
Wednesday night's hearing is on the new SEIS, which Brooklyn Speaks argues doesn't consider ways to shorten construction, such as their suggestion to bring in more contractors.
The group also argues that the study doesn't address the delays in the benefits promised by the project including affordable housing, jobs and open space.
“The economic benefits of residential development at Atlantic Yards to local business could be significant. The ESDC should be focused on completing that development, not justifying a delayed build-out," Ellen Fishman, president of the Vanderbilt Avenue Merchants District and chair of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, said in the news release.
Joe DePlasco, a spokesman for Forest City Ratner, said via e-mail that the developer is building the project "as fast as possible" and has already begun work on the first residential building.
"There are also other benefits that have been delivered, including the rail yard and quite a bit of infrastructure work. There were of course significant delays because many of the people who are now saying it is too slow were involved in delaying the project," he said.
A spokesman for Empire State Development said via e-mail that "Brooklyn Speaks' comments and suggestions will be considered as part of the public scoping process and responded to in the final scope document." (Added 7:27 p.m. on Feb. 27)
The hearing on the SEIS will continue until 8 p.m. tonight, Feb. 27, at St. Francis College, 182 Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights.