Judge Approves Land Seizures for Atlantic Yards
Eliot Brown March 1, 2010, 3:53 p.m.
The property seizures necessary for a new Brooklyn Nets basketball arena have been approved by a judge, clearing a path for a groundbreaking on the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project.
The action, for which the Brooklyn judge granted a state petition seeking the title of properties within the project’s footprint, is one of the final few legal challenges opponents of the project and holdout landowners had thrown at the state in an attempt to block, or delay, the development.
In a project marked by incremental movements toward the start of construction, this one has a tangible effect: On March 8, the state announced, it will finally create its “superblocks,” forever shutting down the streets within the project’s footprint to make way for the development. In a statement, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn said the affected property owners and tenants “will be considering all of their legal options in light of today’s ruling.”
There are two other cases still pending that would stop the project, however they are not viewed by government officials or executives at Forest City Ratner, Atlantic Yards’ developer, as likely to be successful.
Assuming the cases do not move forward, the state still does not have possession of the holdouts’ properties. Property values have yet to be agreed upon, and should the existing property owners and tenants choose to fight to the end, the state would need to evict them, which can be a lengthy process.
Elizabeth Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the state’s development agency, said of the existing property owners and tenants, the state “has been and will continue to work with occupants to relocate them and anticipates an orderly relocation taking place over the course of the next few months.”