Atlantic Yards Update

Atlantic Yards Update

One of the most controversial eminent domain cases over the past few years has been Forest City Ratner’s planned $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, New York.

Photo by Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Photo by Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The project required the acquisition of a significant amount of property nestled within the 22 acre Prospect Park neighborhood in order to build a new basketball arena for the New York Nets, and to construct high-rise apartment buildings.  Of the approximately 6,340 housing units to be constructed, approximately 30% will be market rate condominiums and 70% will be rental apartments, half of which will serve middle to lower income residents.

Although a significant amount of property was acquired through negotiations, the real controversy arose when the Empire State Development Corporation used its power of eminent domain to acquire the remaining parcels.  Numerous property owners challenged the state’s right to acquire their property through eminent domain, taking their case to the highest state court, the New York State Court of Appeals.  Unfortunately, the court sided on behalf of the government and the property was in turn acquired through eminent domain and sold to Forest City Ratner Corp.

On the surface, it looks like the case is complete, with the exception of a lawsuit concerning air rights.  However, for those property owners undergoing eminent domain, their battle to recover fair and just compensation is just beginning.

Biersdorf & Associates is currently representing a significant property owner still not acquired for this project.  The battle that this property owner will eventually face, as well as many others, is obtaining additional compensation beyond what the state has thus offered.  The eminent domain process in the state of New York involves either property owners accepting a final settlement with the acquiring authority or accepting the offer for advanced payment. If the property owner elects to sign the final settlement documents, they waive their right to file a claim for additional damages.  Property owners who choose the advanced payment option can within three years after service of notice of acquisition or vesting file a claim for additional damages with the courts.  While the Atlantic Yards project is likely to move forward, the work to ensure owners receive fair compensation from the taking of their property will continue for some time.

If you are interested in following the latest developments of this project Atlantic Yards Report is a great place to start.  Learn more about the eminent domain process in New York on our New York Eminent Domain Process page and how attorney fees may be recovered on our New York Attorney Fee Recovery page.

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