This is an archived version of a Field of Schemes article. Comments on this page are closed. To find the current version of the article with updated comments, click here.
January 28, 2008
Court papers hint at Nets arena finance woes
The New York Post reports today that New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner has admitted in court documents that his $4 billion Atlantic Yards project is facing financing problems:
The papers, filed Friday by Ratner's firm in an attempt to speed up the appeal process in a lawsuit by project opponents, reveal for a first time that the biggest development in Brooklyn's history is in jeopardy because of dragging litigation and a slumping fiscal market.
"The credit markets are in turmoil at this time ... There is a serious question as to whether, given the current state of the debt market, the underwriters will be able to proceed with the financing for the arena while the appeal is pending," one affidavit says.
Take this with a big grain of salt, given that Ratner is claiming it in an attempt to get a lawsuit dismissed - the New York Yankees, don't forget, threatened to move out of the city if a similar legal challenge against their stadium wasn't dismissed. Still, there have been questions about how the softening housing market will affect the project for a while now, real estate experts have questioned both its cost and revenue projections, and Ratner's own finances aren't looking too great right now either. The big question then becomes, if Ratner clears away the lawsuits but can't come up with the cash, does he back out of the whole project, or just the housing component, leaving Brooklyn with just a basketball arena and a really ugly skyscraper?