Game on at Atlantic Yards: Ratner disputes Gehry's pessimism. Even Gehry disputes Gehry.


There goes Bruce Ratner's latest plan to pump life into his stumbling, bumbling, Frank Gehry-designed Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.

Only a few days ago, the New York Times reported, in "Slow Economy Likely to Stall Atlantic Yards," that Ratner was still desperately trying to drum up tenants for the flagging project — which is heavily subsidized by hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and other perks for the developers — by invoking Gehry's name:

In another indication of the problems facing the project, Forest City recently sent a letter signed by the project's celebrity architect, Frank Gehry, to chief executives of many of the city's biggest corporations, inviting them to become a tenant in the "centerpiece of the project," Miss Brooklyn. It was originally scheduled to be completed in July 2009.

Brokers said that developers usually home in on companies actively looking for new headquarters, rather than cast such a wide net. Forest City's approach was more akin to cold-calling to solicit interest, a possible sign, they said, that the developer was struggling to find tenants.

But as I noted yesterday, speaking of the massive development's future, Gehry told The Architect's Newspaper, "I don't think it's going to happen."

Oops, there goes that sales scheme.

This morning, Gehry is reported to be backpedaling as fast as an 80-year-old architect can. The New York Post says:

Gehry later backtracked through a publicist, saying his comments to the trade publication were "misconstrued as a prediction" about the project and that he remains "hopeful it will come to fruition."

Without much help, obviously, from Ratner's invoking of Gehry's name to find corporate tenants.

By the way, the Times story notes that Ratner may be seeking more public dollars to help him get the project done. In effect, that would be a another round of bailout money. Good luck with that — with or without invoking Gehry's name to try to get it.

Gehry's collapsing-buildings design for Atlantic Yards (above) would actually look better in lower Manhattan, the county seat of Recession U.S.A., than anywhere else.

In the meantime, the development still features the drawing card of a new basketball arena for the NBA's New Jersey Nets. It's scheduled to be called the Barclays Center, which is another bailout-money saga altogether.