NY Supreme Court Stalls Second Phase of Atlantic Yards Project

From Kyle Thomas McGovern at The Local:

The Atlantic Yards development must undergo further environmental review to examine the impact of delays on the project, State Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman ruled today.

The decision was critical of the Empire State Development Corporation, the state agency that oversees the development, but it will not stop the developer, Forest City Ratner, from working at the site. Justice Friedman did order a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to determine the effects of the project’s extended timeline. Judge Friedman also called for further examination as to whether or not to approve the Modified General Project Plan for Phase II, which consists of most of the construction.

While the decision was hailed as a victory by groups that oppose the development plan, such as Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the impact of the decision is unclear.

“We are pleased that the court basically agrees with us, that what we’ve been saying since the beginning is true, that this project is not going to be developed as planned with the benefits that we’d been promised,” said Candace Carponter, the legal director for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. “We are hoping that [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo takes the reins, requires the ESDC to do their job, and to not let Ratner call the shots.”

Joe DePlasco, a spokesperson for the developer, sent a statement by e-mail.

“While we disagree with the decision, it does not stop us from continuing work on the project and will not impact our current construction schedule,” he wrote. “As of this week, we’ve erected 50% of the steel for the arena and we will start installing the façade along the Atlantic Avenue side next week.  The arena is scheduled to open, as planned, in September, 2012 and we are working aggressively to start the residential portion of the project.”

Michael Galinsky, the co-director of the documentary “Battle for Brooklyn” and a contributor to The Local, said he hopes that today’s decision will bring more government oversight to the Atlantic Yards project.

“When they do a new environmental study there will clearly be more scrutiny, and that’s a good thing,” Mr. Galinsky wrote in an e-mail. “Perhaps this will even open the door to taking the community’s alternate plan more seriously.”

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