A judge ruled that state officials can use eminent domain proceedings to acquire properties located in the footprint of the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards development, reportedly "removing the most significant legal hurdle remaining before construction can begin." The decision allows developer Bruce Ratner to obtain properties including the home of project adversary Dan Goldstein and Freddy's Bar, where protesters handcuffed themselves to the bar to demonstrate against the planned arena and high-rises on the border of Prospect Heights and Fort Greene.
According to the Brooklyn Paper, state Supreme Court Justice Abe Gerges ruled that 14 claims by project opponents regarding issues including the timing of the condemnations and recent modifications of the plan had no "merit." Last year, the project seemed stalled before an Appeals Court dismissed lawsuits challenging the development and Ratner managed to sell $511 million in bonds to get financing. Ratner—who project opponents attempted to arrest last month —will now likely be able to move forward by permanently closing streets around the project site and beginning construction on the Barclays Center.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, a longtime Atlantic Yards supporter, issued the following statement:
Today's ruling by Judge Abraham Gerges of the New York State Supreme Court, Kings County affecting the Atlantic Yards development means that the creation of much-needed affordable housing, solid union jobs and permanent employment opportunities for Brooklynites can finally begin—and that our nation’s 'fourth-largest city,' Brooklyn, USA, will soon have a national professional sports team and a world-class sports and event facility back in our borough after 53 years! Brooklyn's shovels are, and have been, ready. So, let's pick them up and get to work!