Sunday, March 23, 2008

Economic Crunch May Stall Jay-Z And Partners

The ambitious $4 billion Atlantic Yards project, which is expected to include 8 million square feet of apartments, stores and offices, is the latest victim of the current economic downturn. The development has made headlines recently for drawing opposition from many Brooklyn residents, and has also spawned a $5 billion reparations suit from a resident. The suit alleges that Barclay's bank, which owns the naming rights to the adjacent sports arena associated with the project, has ties to the African slave trade which date back generations. Local residents have also unsuccessfully tried to file motions to stop the project on the grounds that condemning some of the buildings necessary to make space for Atlantic Yards is unconstitutional.

As it currently stands, the NBA's New Jersey Nets, which Jay-Z has a minority ownership stake in, are scheduled to relocate to Brooklyn after the 2010 season. Although plans to build the team's new arena are still in place, current market conditions will likely impact the rest of the project.

"It may hold up the office building," developer Bruce C. Ratner tells the New York Times. "And the bond market may slow the pace of the residential buildings. I'd hope that the first residential building will be done in six months of the opening of the arena, and a second one a year after that."

Atlantic Yards' setbacks aside, there obviously hasn't been an outpouring of sympathy for Jay-Z. Since vacating his position as president of Def Jam in late 2007 the rapper and executive has joined Steve Stoute as a part of Translation Advertising and entertained offers to head his own label.