BROOKLYN, NY (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — New York's highest court has decided to hear a challenge to the state's use of eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn.
According to the New York Times, the Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments in October in a case that might throw a roadblock into developer Bruce C. Ratner's plans for the development.
Lawyers for the project expect that the favorable decisions of the lower courts unanimous rulings will be upheld, supporting the state's use of eminent domain while opponents hope that the Court of Appeals will reconsider the matter based on constitutional concerns.
The Appellate Division had previously rejected the suit, stating that the development would serve the public interest as approximately 40% of the housing being planned would be aimed at low income residents. The state had recommended that the Court of Appeals reject the suit as well, noting that the project had been approved at the city and state level but the request appeared to fall on deaf ears.
The decision to hear the case could raise issues for the developers, who are already facing significant challenges in obtaining funding for the project.
The developers are facing a December 31st deadline to qualify for tax-exempt status which would save developers millions. In order to qualify, the project must be finances by then and developers are currently trying to sell $650 million in bonds for the arena by late September but most observers doubt that the bonds will generate much interest in the current market. The renewed court battle can only compound the funding challenges and present a fairly narrow window to resolve matters before the December deadline.
"I certainly don’t envy anyone who has to raise capital in the current environment" Robert White of research firm Real Capital Analytics told the Times.
Ratner and company remain upbeat however and a spokesman told the Times that "We intend to be in construction before the end of the year." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers