The NY Times is reporting that the Nets won't be playing in Brooklyn for the 2009-2010 season because the arena won't be finished until 2010. The Times attributes the delay to legal challenges.

The most publicized lawsuit is the federal case brought by 13 property owners and tenants. The suit alleges that the taking of their property via eminent domain was unconstitutional. In June, a US District Court judge dismissed the case, finding that the 22-acre, $4 billion Yards project qualified as a "public use," because of plans for housing, office space, and a sports arena, among others. Plaintiffs' counsel recently appeared before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing before a three-judge panel for a trial to determine whether the project was awarded to confer a private benefit rather than for public use.

There are other suits. One, filed by community groups in state court, seeks to annul the state's environmental impact statement and begin the process anew. Another, also filed in state court, involves rent-stabilized tenants who argue that their rights as tenants were extinguished after their buildings were demolished following the state's use of eminent domain.

The tireless Norman Oder criticized the Times in October for reporting that the stadium would open in 2009. Oder predicted that "in the best-case scenario, the arena would open in [sic] for the 2010-11 basketball season."

Another issue surrounding the arena involves its proximity to the street. According to the City Room, the arena is planned for at least 20 feet from the street. In Newark, a new arena is the same distance from the street - and that leads to street closures during games for security reasons. A version of the blog post appeared in the Times print edition three days later.

In other Yards news, departing Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff told the Observer this week that, on second thought, he would support a public review process for the Yards. "If it happened again, and the state were to ask if I would encourage them to take Atlantic Yards through the ULURP process, I would say yes," he said.