After years of legal wrangling, developer Bruce Ratner finally closed on the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project—which involved the state, city, MTA, and other agencies—in downtown Brooklyn. Ratner said in a press release, "Six years after we announced our plan for Atlantic Yards we are very pleased to be closing on the project with our public partners. Today’s closing represents a vital step forward for New York City, one that is all the more important because of the economic challenges our City faces. The jobs we are creating today, as we set forth on the arena and one of the boldest affordable housing initiatives in our City’s history, will create a new dynamic center in this wonderful borough.”
According to a press release (PDF) from Ratner's company, "Atlantic Yards will create close to 17,000 union construction jobs, as well as 8,000 permanent jobs once the project is complete. The project involves the redevelopment of 22 acres in downtown Brooklyn, which will include approximately six million square feet of residential space (6,430 units of affordable and market-rate housing), an 18,000-seat sports and entertainment arena to be known as the Barclays Center, 247,000 square feet of retail use, approximately 336,000 square feet of office space, and eight acres of publicly accessible open space."
Last month, an Appeals Court dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the use of eminent domain to seize land for the project. However, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, one of the most vocal opponents of the project, promises that it will not stop fighting and offers some Ratner and Governor Paterson Grinch Photoshopping.
Ratner admitted the long journey to closing—as well as putting $511 million for the Barclays Center (home of the future Brooklyn Nets, see picture above) into escrow— to the Times, "It’s incredible. I always told everyone that it was going to get done, but there were moments when I don’t think I really believed it myself."