In December 2003, developer Bruce Ratner stood in the old Brooklyn council chambers at Borough Hall and presented a dream that, he promised, would remake the borough's future. The dream was called Atlantic Yards.
What came next was eight years and counting of very public neighborhood strife: protests and lawsuits by residents angered at the use of tax dollars and state eminent domain powers to tear down two city blocks of buildings to benefit a private developer; accusations and counterclaims in the wake of Ratner signing a "community benefits agreement" to promise jobs and affordable housing to local groups in exchange for their endorsing the project
All that—aside from a few straggling lawsuits — is done now, and the Barclays Center basketball arena is now taking shape at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush, with its grand opening set for this September.
Almost everything else about the project, though, has changed.
Now that the first stage of Atlantic Yards is set to arrive, what will Brooklyn get for its near-decade of discord? What will the project mean for Brooklyn residents, workers, and businesses?