Eminent domain OK for Nets: New York NY Daily News, 12/9/06

By Elizabeth Hays

The Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn got a key approval yesterday from the Empire State Development Corp., authorizing the use of eminent domain to build an arena for the Nets, a hotel and 16 residential and office towers.

Now the ball bounces to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's court.

The three-member Public Authorities Control Board gets the project next. In recent years, Silver (D-Manhattan) has used his influence on the panel to kill the proposed West Side Stadium and delay the Moynihan Penn Station proposal.

A Silver spokesman said yesterday it is too soon to know the speaker's position, though a growing chorus of critics is calling for him to delay a vote until after Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer takes office Jan. 1.

The control board's next meeting is Dec. 20.

Empire Development Corp.'s chairman, Charles Gargano, said the board voted on three aspects of Atlantic Yards, approving the general plan, an environmental impact statement and the use of eminent domain for the property.

Supporters say the project, which is slated to be finished in 2016, will bring much-needed jobs and housing to Brooklyn. Critics charge it is too big and will create a traffic nightmare.

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