June 1 (Bloomberg) -- The developer of the Atlantic Yards project in New York’s Brooklyn borough plans to borrow about $100 million to construct an apartment tower near the basketball arena now going up on Flatbush Avenue.
Work should start on the apartment building in December or January, Bruce Ratner, Forest City Ratner Cos. chairman and chief executive officer, said today in an interview on Bloomberg Television. The tower would join the Barclays Center sports arena as the second structure at the $4.9 billion, 22-acre project in downtown Brooklyn.
“We’ve already talked to banks and we will be able to get a loan,” Ratner said. “That’s appropriate. Pre the recession, that’s about what we would have gotten, and I think we should get that again.”
The master plan for Atlantic Yards calls for about 6,400 units of housing, 30 percent of them reserved for low- and middle-income tenants. Ratner’s Forest City fought in court for the right to develop the site against local activists, many of whom objected to losing their properties through government condemnation.
Ratner is considering plans for a 34-story tower with about 400 apartments, using prefabricated boxes containing floors, plumbing, bathrooms and kitchens that would be hoisted into place by cranes, the New York Times reported on March 18. The company is exploring modular construction techniques as a way of saving time and money, the newspaper said.
New York City’s economy is improving faster than the rest of the country, according to Ratner. Job growth is driving demand for housing, with the vacancy rate for apartments at less than 1 percent, he said.
The city’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to a 25-month low of 8.6 percent in April, led by hiring in tourism, finance and business services, the state Labor Department said May 19.
The Barclays Center, to be home of the National Basketball Association’s Nets who now play in Newark, New Jersey, is on schedule for a Sept. 28, 2012, grand opening, Ratner said.
“When we officially open, there’ll be three weeks of unbelievable entertainment,” he said. “Some of those great New York celebrities will be back.”
--With assistance from Henry Goldman in New York. Editors: Christine Maurus, Kara Wetzel
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