Bruce Ratner, minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets and majority owner of the Barclays Center, is looking for someone to buy anywhere between 50 and 80 percent of the Atlantic Yards development project which is supposed to include 14 residential buildings and 6,000 apartments, according to Charles Bagli of the NY Times.
By selling off part of the project, Ratner stands to bring in as much as $800 million, but the company says that it will remain in control of the project and will continue to develop it using that money to help finance the project.
“The money will be invested in the Atlantic Yards project,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, chief executive of Forest City Ratner, told the Times. “We’ll retain our position as the managing member. It’s exciting; it raises the possibility that we’ll be able to accelerate vertical development there.”
Under the agreement Forest City Ratner has with New York State, it would be fined millions of dollars if they do not complete the residential part of the project. This money is apparently necessary to avoid further delays and fines as the company has had trouble financing the remainder of the project due to a recession, community opposition and a weak market, the Times writes.
Not everyone is buying that this is just a way to continue the project and think this is Ratner’s way of trying to get out. ”Did anyone really think Ratner was going to actually build it all?” asked NYTimes.com commenter Tal Barzilai. “I never thought he would, and it seems like I will be right about it. Just goes to show everyone who believed that they had his word only to be duped in the end.”
However, a financial analyst for BMO Capital Markets, interviewed by the Times, points out that Ratner will likely receive lots of interest in this and it is “consistent with what they do” in trying to further profit off the development of this project.
Ratner owns 55 percent of the Barclays Center with Mikhail Prokhorov owning the other 45 percent. Prokhorov also owns 80 percent of the Nets and has an option to purchase up to 20 percent of the Atlantic Yards project as well, but so far has not exercised that option.
Forest City Ratner also won the rights to redevelop the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island. Construction for that is set to begin in 2015 immediately after the New York Islanders’ final season ends and is expected to be finished by September 2017.