Is Atlantic Yards Dead or Not, Mr. Gehry?
by Daniel Bush
Mar 31, 2009 | 2171 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Six years ago, developer Bruce Ratner commissioned world-famous architect Frank Gehry to help design the Atlantic Yards complex. Now, after years of delays and setbacks, Gehry appears to have given up all hope the project will ever be realized. Or has he?

In an interview published March 24 in the Architect's Newspaper, the 80-year-old Gehry was asked what unrealized commissions he most wished he had built. Gehry mentioned just two, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. and Atlantic Yards.

"I don't think it's going to happen," Gehry said of Atlantic Yards. He added, "There are projects underway that are being threatened, and may not be completed. That would be devastating to me."

The admission - issued five months after Gehry's Los Angeles-based design firm fired its team of two-dozen designers working on Atlantic Yards - immediately caused a sizeable stir. In response, Gehry moved to mute the controversy by issuing a statement through his design firm last week saying his comments were "misconstrued as a prediction of the future of the Atlantic Yards development."

"All of us at Gehry Architects New York are immensely proud of our work with our client Forest City Ratner on the Atlantic Yards Project," Gehry said in his statement, "and remain hopeful that it will come to fruition in the very near future."

Still, Atlantic Yards opponents remain unconvinced. Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein said in a statement Gehry's admission was yet another indicator the Atlantic Yards project is unraveling.

"It seems clear that Frank Gehry - who was a major selling point for the project, its investors, and its naming-rights sponsor Barclays - is no longer working on the project," Goldstein said. "Mr. Gehry would not have made this comment if he were still involved with Atlantic Yards and Forest City Ratner as his client."
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