Court affirms dismissal of Atlantic Yards challenge

Residents argued that the project’s public uses were illegitimate. The $4 billion Atlantic Yards project calls for an 18,000-seat arena for the Nets professional basketball team, a 180- room hotel, at least 16 high-rise apartment and office buildings, and eight acres of open space. The project site includes the Atlantic Terminal Urban Renewal Area, as well as surrounding areas developed by commercial and residential structures. The project calls for the Empire State Development Corporation to condemn private land for the project by eminent domain. 5 CityLand 16 (Feb. 15, 2008).

Brooklyn residents filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing that the proposed condemnation would not serve a public use because it would benefit private developer Forest City Ratner.

Second Circuit Court Judge Robert A. Katzmann affirmed the lower court, concluding that the project would serve several well-established public uses such as tackling blight, constructing a sports arena, and creating new market-rate and affordable housing. Judge Katzmann also noted that the fact that a private developer may benefit from the project does not void the project’s overall public purpose.

Matthew Brinckerhoff, attorney for the residents, said that he intended to seek review of the Second Circuit’s decision by the United States Supreme Court.

Goldstein v. Pataki, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 2841 (2d Cir. Feb. 1, 2008) (Katzmann, J.) (Matthew D. Brinckerhoff, for residents; Preeta D. Bansal, for Empire State Development Corp.; Laura R. Johnson, for New York State; Jeffrey R. Braun, for Forest City Ratner; Jane L. Gordon, for New York City).

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