BUILDER CAN NIX NETS PLAN
By RICH CALDER, NY Post
Bruce Ratner can pull out of his $4 billion Atlantic Yards project for Brooklyn without penalty, The Post has learned.
That's because the developer never signed binding contracts for the controversial state-approved project or drew on hundreds of millions in government subsidies, officials confirmed yesterday.
The news comes a day after The Post, citing court papers filed by Ratner's firm, reported that dragging litigation and a drooping credit market jeopardize the developer's ability to secure financing to build an NBA arena for his Nets basketball team and 16 skyscrapers with residential and retail space in Prospect Heights.
The Spitzer administration said yesterday it was still committed to supporting a project that critics say was rushed through in the final days of the Pataki administration.
And despite the fiscal concerns over financing expressed in the court papers, Bruce Bender, a vice president for Ratner's firm insisted, "Atlantic Yards will be become a reality."
Councilwoman Letitia James, a vocal opponent of the Ratner plan, said the news of the developer's financial problems should convince all parties to return to the drawing board and try to find a way to develop the 22-acre site without taking private property through eminent domain.