Plan to build Brooklyn’s largest office tower hits complication
An ambitious plan to build Brooklyn’s largest office tower in the Pacific Park development site, formerly known as Atlantic Yards, is at a standstill after a state Supreme Court justice blocked an attempt to boot local retailer P.C. Richard.
State Supreme Court Justice Sylvia Ash ruled on Jan. 29 that developers of the project — a two-tower retail and office development across from the Atlantic Terminal Mall and Barclays Center — have reneged on a promise to grant replacement space within the complex to P.C. Richard & Son, which currently occupies part of the site alongside Modell’s Sporting Goods, as first reported by Atlantic Yards watchdog Norman Oder.
The appliance and electronic purveyor has been at 590 Atlantic Ave. since 1997. As plans for the Atlantic Yards development gathered steam in 2005 and 2006, developer Forest City Ratner, now owned by Brookfield Properties, sought to fold the site (Site 5) into the project, despite objections from P.C. Richard.
After some back-and-forth, Forest City ultimately agreed to provide the retailer with space in any new development, along with other compensation.
Development moved forward on other parts of the Atlantic Yards project, but Site 5 was put on hold as the recession set in. Suddenly, in April 2015, Forest City directed the state to begin eminent domain proceedings for P.C. Richard’s land, without informing the retailer.
The new plans for the site would include a roughly 1.5 million-square-foot office tower across from Brooklyn’s largest transit hub at Atlantic Avenue. But it didn’t seem to include P.C. Richard, as the parties had agreed.
“Pacific Park was always meant to include modern office space,” a spokesperson for Greenland Forest City told Crain’s in February 2016. “We think the time is right for the borough to have an iconic office building for the new Brooklyn economy and the thousands of jobs it will bring to the doorstep of one of the city’s largest transit hubs.”
P.C. Richard eventually filed suit against the venture’s original developer to ensure a space, as previously agreed, but Forest City “did not consider [it] to be a binding agreement,” according to court documents.
Justice Ash disagreed and found Forest City “in breach” of its original Letter of Intent.
According to the decision, “the undisputed evidence demonstrates that the parties did not intend to be bound.”
Forest City filed an appeal to reverse the decision.
Oder’s Atlantic Yards Report describes the whole sordid saga of the back-and-forth relayed in the newly unsealed documents.
Looking forward, even if the developers successfully acquire the land, the proposed office towers to rise in P.C. Richard’s place will require state approval.
Correction (2/7): The previous headline of this article inaccurately described the project as “blocked.” It has been updated. The Brooklyn Eagle regrets the error.
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