More controversy in the Atlantic Yards project
(Brooklyn - WABC, March 26, 2007) (WABC) -- Demolition of the "Ward Bakery" in Brooklyn is set to begin this morning, and it's stirring up a lot of controversy. Crews are clearing the way as part of the Atlantic Yards project.
Eyewitness News' Ken Rosato is live in Prospect Heights with more.
It's part of a plan to transform Downtown Brooklyn and the immediate areas.
For nearly a century, it stood at 800 Pacific Street in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights neighborhood. The former Ward Bread Bakery building is in the heart of an industrial corridor that was once home to the Daily News printing plant and the Spalding sporting goods factory, a major dairy and an ice cream warehouse.
Today, demolition began to make way for part of the Atlantic Yards project that would include a new basketball arena for the Nets, and at least 16 residential and commercial skyscrapers. Many are opposed to the move however, and held a protest this morning.
"We are extraordinarily opposed these billionaire industrial people coming in and taking over neighborhoods," protestor Barbara Skinner said.
The structure was the first modern bakery in America. Its architects actually went to Europe to study how to design it. Ward's was the first bakery to wrap its bread out of health concerns, and it became a model for large-scale bakeries just like it around the country. It's been closed for much of the last decade.
Bruce Ratner, owner of the NJ Nets and president of The Forest City Ratner Companies, has vowed to recycle 75 percent of the building, with its white, terra cotta tile facade. Locals say they're not opposed to Ratner's development, they just wish he could do something with the existing structure.
But many welcome the project.
"This project means, a lot to us that live in this neighborhood. Ratner is offering training and a pressure program that is actually going to be life changing to people from over here," Brooklyn resident Caprice Watson said.
People like Caprice Watson are saying they just want a job and it is important that people realize that those protesting already have jobs and they do not.
Protestors say why can't the bakery just stay and build something in behind it.
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