Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Nets Endgame at Hand

Today is the day that the Atlantic Yards project should be decided by the Public Authorities Control Board. And, if the NY Post story today is correct, it looks as if the final hurdle for approval of the arena has been overcome. Of course, it goes without saying that the opponents of the plan will challenge any approval in court, although the fate of any eminent domain lawsuit is quite problematic in New York State.

If all goes according to the published reports then Atlantic Yards will become a reality and the Nets will become Brooklyn's first pro franchise since the Dodgers abandoned the borough over fifty years ago. If this happens then a great deal of credit needs to go to FCRC's Bruce Bender who has masterminded a political strategy that will have (hopefully) overcome an intense oppositional campaign that was well organized and, on the whole, well thought out as well.

Forest City-and credit to Jim Stuckey for his spearheading of the development effort-created a grass roots support effort that this city has never seen. It enticed the support of Acorn, mobilized local groups under the BUILD banner and, through the efforts of Richard Lipsky, FCRC's Tom Tuffey and Jeff Rothburg, created a grass roots sports support team that gave further legitimacy to the project.

On top of all this Forest City negotiated a community benefits agreement that, while it didn't escape some criticism, paved the way for further development of this concept of community participation. As much as the grass roots was essential here, it would be remiss not to mention how skillfully Bender and his team curried political support at all levels. If, as we hope, the green light is given today, than the Bender team's game plan will be studied and emulated for years to come.