Deal or No Deal?

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Thursday, June 11, 2009
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Will the MTA allow Forest City Ratner to under pay for the Atlantic Avenue rail yards? (Courtesy Daylife)

Will the MTA allow Forest City Ratner to under pay for the Atlantic Avenue rail yards? (Courtesy Daylife)

Maybe Forest City Ratner won’t get a deal on the MTA rail yards after all.

A major part of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s strategy for putting the final nail in Atlantic Yards’ coffin is challenging the ethicality (and legality) of an apparent agreement to allow Ratner to pay less than the agreed-upon $100 million for the rail yards atop which the Atlantic Yards are to rise. DDDB hopes the agreement will be released in advance of a hearing on the matter on June 24, something we inquired about for yesterday’s story. Today, the MTA responded, and depending on your perspective, it is either good news or bad for the project’s opponents.

Says MTA deputy press secretary Aaron Donovan: “It’s too early to say right now because an agreement has yet to be reached. Check back with me once we get closer to the 24th.”

This could mean one of two things: Either the final details are just being hashed out, confirming DDDB’s worst (if expectant) fears. Another possibility, however, is that the deal might be faltering in the heat of negotiations and recent events. It is well known that the MTA is woefully short on cash, so it is possible some of the board could be resistant to taking a smaller payment. Furthermore, increased scrutiny following the news of Frank Gehry’s departure could be putting increasing public (and possibly even political) pressure on the project. And so, with bated breath, we wait for June 24.

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