Barclays Scores With NY Court

Brooklyn is yet closer to housing a basketball arena now that New York’s top court has dismissed a challenge over the state’s use of eminent domain for the future home of the New Jersey Nets.

The court of appeals decided in a 6-1 ruling Nov. 24 that the Empire State Development Corp. was justified in handing over “blighted” land for Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development that will include the Barclays Center.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman noted in his decision that “the constitution accords government broad power to take and clear substandard and insanitary areas for redevelopment.”

Forest City CEO Bruce Ratner lauded the victory in a statement.

“Once again the courts have made it clear that this project represents a significant public benefit for the people of Brooklyn and the entire city,” Ratner said. “Our commitment to the entire project is as strong today as when we started six years ago. Today, however, this project is even more important given the need for jobs and economic development.”

Construction on the development, which was announced in 2003, has faced numerous legal and financial setbacks over the years. A community group opposing the project announced following the ruling that it doesn’t intend to back down.

Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s Daniel Goldstein told the New York Times the fight against Atlantic Yards is “far from over.”

“The community has four outstanding lawsuits against the project and, meanwhile, the arena bond financing clock ticks louder and louder for Ratner. While this is a terrible day for tax-paying homeowners in New York, this is not the end of our fight to keep the government from stealing our homes and businesses.”

Forest City must break ground on the arena before Dec. 31 in order to use tax-exempt bonds to fund the construction. In the statement, the developer announced the Barclays Arena could debut in time for the 2011-2012 NBA season.