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Six years to groundbreaking, 200 meetings with the community, 34 favorable court decisions, and 600 master closing documents. Seems all that Forest City Ratner’s MaryAnne Gilmartin was missing was the partridge in the pear tree, as she explained to NY CREW the challenges of building the $4.9B, 8M SF Atlantic Yards project last night at Arent Fox’s Broadway offices.
Forest City Ratner's MaryAnne Gilmartin
From eminent domain to owning/selling the NJ Nets, MaryAnne described some of the challenges the developer faced in the ground-up project. Topping it off, the “closing of all closings” three days before Christmas included a missing UPS package with two letters of credit and no BlackBerry service—workers picked through the UPS facility until Santa found the package at 4 a.m. Other trials included a hard-to-win-over public, costly litigation, critical blogs and Internet coverage (a “new reality” for developers), and public intrusion into her personal life, including children and home. Would she do it again? “It’s about patience, about believing what you can do, and doing what you can ... we don’t know how to give up,” she says. “We have enough skin in the game that we can’t fail.” She says a 10-year build-out is still possible.

Centro Properties' Nicole Horne, Wells Fargo Insurance's Christine Chipurnoi, Crowell & Moring's Barbara Champoux, and Fidelity National Title's Isabelle Pullis and Pauline Anderson Brown
The many members attending last night showed no signs of jet lag, despite many just returning from last week’s CREW Convention in San Francisco. We were in The City by the Bay to join NYCREW members in The View lounge on the 39th floor of the Marriott, where Crowell & Moring’s Barbara Champoux (middle) hosted a reception for VIP convention attendees. Joining her were Centro Properties Group’s Nicole Horne, Wells Fargo Insurance’s Christine Chipurnoi, and Fidelity National Title’s Isabelle Pullis and Pauline Anderson Brown. CREW is a national organization with over 8 k members in more than 70 local chapters across the US and Canada.
Farer Fersko's Ann Waeger and KSS Architects' Sheila Spriggs-Nall
We also saw some friends from ICREW NJ, including Farer Fersko’s Ann Waeger and KSS Architects’ (and ICREW president-elect)Sheila Spriggs-Nall. Ann is an expert on these gatherings, since she’s a member of the National CREW Network Board. They told us they made some great business connections with members from other states, noting that the whole experience renewed their enthusiasm for the industry, even in these tough times.