Brooklyn Development: Atlantic Yards' Last Holdout Gets Monster Settlement

Daniel Goldstein's apartment has appreciated in value by more than just about any other in his Prospect Heights, Brooklyn neighborhood. He bought it for $590,000 in 2003. Seven years later, he'll get $3 million to move out.

Goldstein has been the most vociferous opponent to Atlantic Yards, a massive infill development project that used eminent domain to reclaim several buildings. He was the last holdout, the lone tenant in his building after every other was bought out by the developer, Forest City Ratner. Along with the $3 million, Goldstein has agreed to step down as spokesperson for his anti-Atlantic Yards organization, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, but not to leave the opposition or stop speaking out against the project, something he's been doing for years. Goldstein and his compatriots took their fight all the way to the Supreme Court, claiming that seizing private property for a private development was an abuse of eminent domain.

The court did not agree. As of March 1st, ownership of his home was transferred to the Empire State Development Corp., which told him to pack up his wife and kid and move out by May 7. Yesterday he reached a settlement with the developer, who will give him $3 million to do so; he initially was offered $510,000 by the state to leave.
Certainly, his legacy will be profoundly altered, and plenty have dismissed him as more sellout than holdout. His agreement to a variation on the gag order -- stepping down as DDDB's spokesman -- garnered him a fresh round of derision, too, but it's done nothing to quell his sharp tongue. "It wasn't enough, I guess, for Ratner to decimate my neighborhood, take my home, and kick me out," Goldstein said in a statement. "They also felt they had to cut out my tongue."
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