After years of lawsuits, cost-cutting, and public debate, Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards stadium project has been reborn again— this time without starchitect Frank Gehry and his daring $1 billion design. The new version of the arena will be $200 million cheaper and designed by Kansas City firm Ellerbe Becket, architects who specialize in stadiums and convention centers. The new Atlantic Yards design revealed on the Times Website—which includes the plan for the massive new Nets basketball stadium—resembles their Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, home to the Indiana Pacers. From the looks of it, the building will be a lot less striking than the glass bubble amid Gehry’s wobbly pile of boxes, but rumors that he was out have been building for months, and reports of the scaling back of his design bit by bit have been trickling out for over a year now. For a great history of the troubles facing Ratner and his development project, see our lawsuit time line from March. “The current economic climate is not right for this design,” Ratner said in a statement yesterday, “and with Frank’s understanding, the arena is undergoing a redesign that will make it more limited in scope.” After years of having to defend his design against Atlantic Yards foes and reports that it would be scrapped, we’re sure that Gehry’s “understanding” came in the form of a little bit of yelling, crumpling up of plans, and throwing them against the wall. On the upside, maybe he’ll get a new design out of it.
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