Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project continues to shrink. Now architect Frank Gehry’s ambitious $1 billion vision for the sports-‘n’-more complex has been dumped in favor of a $800 million sports-‘n’-less plan. The New York Times quotes officials who say the new rendering, out of architects Ellerbe Becket, looks like an “airplane hangar,” whereas the Gehry plan (model pictured) looked like part of the “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” set. And Atlantic Yards Report says the new stadium will be too small to accommodate hockey, which had been one of the value-adds of the old plan.
Of course, scaling back the project doesn’t mean scaling back what it demands of the city: Ratner is asking to be permitted to pay the MTA only a fraction of the cost of air and land rights needed for the project upfront, with the remainder to be tendered when the big bucks start rolling in. It’s beginning to get around that this scheme is going to cost more than benefit the city, and even longtime booster Mike Bloomberg is getting cold feet. And as for the neighbors, forget it. Sometimes it seems like the only people left in Brooklyn who want this thing are the people who run the borough and the people who want to run it.