Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hooray! (fingers crossed)

NY Daily News:

The multi-billion Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn is dead, according to one who should know: the "starchitect" who was going to build it.

Asked by a trade paper about "unrealized commissions" he most wishes had been built, famed 80-year-old architect Frank Gehry brought up Atlantic Yards.

"I don't think it's going to happen," he told the Architect's Newspaper in an interview published online.

The comment suggests the troubled relationship between Gehry and developer Bruce Ratner is over.

"While Ratner's project is a big question mark, it appears to be clear that his star architect - a key selling point for the project, its sponsors and Barclays bank - is no longer working on the project," said Daniel Goldstein, a member of the anti-Yards group Develop Don't Destroy.

Ratner's controversial $4.2 billion project has been stalled because the bad economy has dried up financing.

Gehry's Los Angeles-based design firm laid off all two dozen employees working on the Atlantic Yards project in November.

The sprawling project included a NBA basketball arena and five soaring Lego-like towers. A second phase of 11 towers, affordable housing and public space was also planned but never finalized.

Mayor Bloomberg this week suggested the project may still get built - but on a smaller scale and without Gehry.

"It would be sad if Atlantic Yards gets built without the Gehry design, which would've been phenomenal for this city," Bloomberg said. "I gather at this point it looks like that the only ways Ratner's going to get that done is to do it at a lower cost and not to do everything at the same time."

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