Business: Atlantic Yards Project Starts

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Prep work and construction of a temporary rail yard on the east side of the Vanderbilt Rail Yard started this week, Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) announced.

The Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn is a residential and commercial development, including over 2,200 units of affordable housing and the future home of the Nets basketball team, all designed by world-class architect Frank Gehry.  

In keeping with the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), a voluntary and legally binding agreement signed by eight local community groups and ratified by over 200 community groups and leaders, the first contracts of this initial work, worth more than $600,000, have been awarded to minority- and women-owned (M/WBE) firms. 

The largest of these contracts were awarded to the woman-owned demolition firm A. Russo Wrecking to remove the MTA bus parking facility on the east side of the track and the minority-owned security firm Eddington & Associates.  Other contracts went to J&J Asbestos Abatement Corp., C & W Cleaning, JMV Associates and Cole Consulting. Additional contracts are expected to be announced shortly.

In addition to the contracts announced today, The McKissack Group, the nation’s oldest minority-owned professional design and construction firm, has been hired to manage the $182 million worth of work being done on the Vanderbilt Rail Yard. “While this is preliminary work in anticipation of the actual construction, it brings us a step closer to making Atlantic Yards a reality for all of Brooklyn,” said Bruce Ratner, President and CEO of FCRC. 

“From the current open rail yards will grow a new and enhanced facility for the LIRR, a new mixed-income community, thousands of needed jobs, public spaces and other amenities for people throughout the borough and the City.  Atlantic Yards is about the future of our borough and how, when we work together, we can create one of the most progressive affordable housing developments in the City.”

“The Atlantic Yards’ CBA is an important milestone for New York’s construction industry,” said Cheryl McKissack, CEO of The McKissack Group.  “By including diverse firms – and diverse individuals – from the start, I think this project is living up not only to the extraordinary standards of Forest City Ratner, one of the most committed and progressive companies out there today, but living up as well to the values of Brooklyn, where inclusion is a way of life and diversity is a badge of honor.”

As part of the historic CBA, at least 20% of the construction contract dollars will go towards minority-owned and 10% to women-owned businesses, and 35% of construction workers will be minorities and 10% women.  All construction and demolition work in conjunction with the Atlantic Yards development will be done with 100% union labor.

“From the beginning, inclusion was a driving principal of this project,” said Delia Hunley-Adossa, Chairperson of the CBA Executive Committee.  “So often smaller women- and minority-owned firms are overlooked, and FCRC's strong commitment to inclusion in the Atlantic Yards project is much admired.”

In addition to the preparatory work on the rail yard, demolition of 179 Flatbush Avenue is also expected to commence this week.  179 Flatbush Avenue, a former automotive repair shop, is owned by FCRC.  Demolition will be performed by Cole Partners, a minority-owned firm, with construction management services provided by Gateway Demolition.  Air monitoring during and after abatement was conducted by Safety Environmental, also a minority-owned firm. 

The demolition of 179 Flatbush and construction of the temporary rail yard will not impact subway or rail travel.  The current rail yard will continue to be used to house the trains while the initial work is conducted on the south eastern portion of the yard.

“As always, our contractors will conduct this work in the least intrusive way and we will be in direct communication with the local community to provide updates and address any concerns,” said Jim Stuckey, President of the Atlantic Yards Group at FCRC.  “And of course throughout this stage – and through the entire development – safety will remain our greatest priority.”

Stuckey said that nearby residents or others who require additional information, or have concerns related to this work, can call a special toll free hotline at (866) 923-5315 or email FCRC at

In addition, an Atlantic Yards Community Affairs Liaison Office, located onsite at 24 6th Avenue, will be open from 8am-4pm weekdays to provide updates and answers to any questions or concerns. Additional demolition and construction announcements are expected in the coming weeks. 

For more information, please visit

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