Atlantic Yards Brings "Permanent" Street Closings; Ratner Writes a Letter; Haier In On Barclays Center

Atlantic Yards Report reproduces a notice that says, starting on February 1, stretches of Pacific Street and Fifth Avenue within the footprint will be "permanently closed," presumably in preparation for work on the Ratner megacomplex at Atlantic Yards.

Dan Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn says the closings are being made "prematurely" and promises to challenge them. The Brooklyn Paper says the closings "indicate that the pace of construction will likely intensify," though "intensify" is a relative term applied to the slow-going project.

Today the Washington Post presents Charles Ratner's letter of complaint against the George Will column denouncing the project's use of eminent domain, which term Will said "has become elastic in the service of avarice." Ratner pleads that his and his cousin Bruce's company used eminent domain only as a last resort against "holdouts," and that the project will "create nearly 17,000 construction jobs, 8,000 permanent jobs and 2,250 affordable apartment units."

Norman Oder objects that Ratner doesn't address the use of eminent domain to squeeze the owners whose properties he did buy, and disputes the number and nature of the job and housing claims.

The folks from Freddy's, who have responded to the threat to their establishment with bar shackles and a mock execution, recently got on Fox News to protest. Patron Steve de Seve says his family's upstate neighborhood was grabbed by eminent domain for a highway that never got built, and Atlantic Yards is "where we gotta put the brakes on." A Fox legal analyst says they don't have much of a chance.

Electronics firm Haier America has partnered with Barclays on the Barclays Center to be established at Atlantic Yards, which will include under terms of the deal a "Haier Experience Store" and a Nets partnership. The chairman of the Haier board says this "perpetuates the roots we are building in the local community fabric with what will be one of the most technologically advanced arenas in the nation."

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