Selling Low, Building High

How Brooklyn Dropped the Ball on the Biggest Negotiation of Its Life

Story by Dan Rosenblum

Photography by Paul Gargagliano

Published on Feb 18, 2013

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Most of us have heard plenty about Atlantic Yards, developer Bruce Ratner’s ongoing Brooklyn megaproject that houses the new home for the Nets basketball team and 16 planned high-rise towers. But whatever became of the complex deal-making that made the immense development — the largest in the history of the borough — possible? Not long after Ratner and New York CIty Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans for this six-block stretch on Atlantic Avenue, the developers and select community groups forged a very specific type of agreement: A community benefits agreement, or CBA, meant to assure that all the construction would result in a boon for the people who already called the neighborhood home. Now, with the first of the Atlantic Yards residential buildings beginning to rise, New York journalist Dan Rosenblum investigates what has come out of that much-heralded CBA. Through conversation with those community leaders who signed onto Ratner’s plan, Rosenblum offers new insight into how the project has — and hasn’t — been felt on the ground.

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