Bruce Ratner
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Bruce Ratner
Bruce Ratner
Born (1945-01-23) January 23, 1945 (age 75)
OccupationReal Estate Developer and Philanthropist
Julie Ratner[1]
Pamela Lipkin (2008-2017)[2]
Linda E. Johnson (2020-Present)
Parent(s)Harry Ratner and Anne (nee Spott)

Bruce Ratner (born January 23, 1945 in Cleveland, Ohio) is an American philanthropist, real estate developer, and former minority owner of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets.[3]

Family and education

Ratner was born into a Jewish family in the Cleveland metropolitan area,[4] the son of Anne (nee Spott) and Harry Ratner,[5] one of eight children to immigrate to the US from Poland.[3] Four of his paternal uncles, Leonard Ratner, Charles Ratner, Max Ratner, and Nate Shafran along with his aunt, Fannye Ratner Shafran[6] founded Forest City Enterprises in 1920; originally a construction materials company it eventually evolved into construction and then into real estate development.[7] Ratner's older brother was the late civil liberties attorney and activist Michael Ratner and his sister is Ellen Ratner, a former news analyst for Fox News.[8] Ratner graduated from Harvard College in 1967, and earned a Juris Doctor from Columbia University[3] in 1970.

Early career

After graduating law school in 1970, Ratner was the director of the Model Cites program until 1973. Simultaneously, Ratner served as the head of the Consumer Protection Division in the administration of New York City mayor John Lindsay.[9] From 1974 to 1978, Ratner taught at NYU's law school.[10] Following his teaching career, Ratner returned to work for the City of New York. Under Mayor Ed Koch he became consumer affairs commissioner where he went after corrupt merchants, repairmen and alarm companies. Ratner served as Consumer of Public Affairs for 4 years beginning in 1978. [11] He then turned to developing real estate.[3]

Forest City Ratner

In 1985, he co-founded Forest City Ratner, a joint venture with his family's company of which he is now executive chairman.[12] He developed the $1 billion complex of nine buildings in downtown Brooklyn called MetroTech.[3][13] He supervised the building of a 393,000 square-foot shopping mall at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in the 1990s.[3][14] As a response to Hurricane Sandy, Forest City, the Brooklyn Nets, & Barclays Center launched the creation of a Brooklyn focused recovery fund. [15] It is notable that during Ratner's tenure, half of the firm's leadership was female.[16]

Metrotech Center

Ratner's firm, Forest City Ratner, began construction of Metrotech Center in June 1989.[17] Brooklyn journalist Dennis Holt labeled June 26, 1989 as the start of a "new Brooklyn."[18] The complex totals over 5.8 million square feet of office space. [19] The creation of this office space brought at least 22,000 jobs to the borough. [20]

New York Times Building

In 2007, Ratner's company, Forest City Realty Trust completed construction and opened the New York Times Building. The skyscraper, located at 620 Eighth Avenue, is the eleventh-tallest building in the city, tied with the Chrysler Building.[21]

New York By Gehry

In 2011, Ratner's company, Forest City Realty Trust completed construction and opened New York By Gehry. Designed by Frank Gehry, the building stands 76 stories and 870 ft tall. In his review of the building, New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff proclaimed it "the finest skyscraper to rise in New York since Eero Saarinen's CBS Building went up 46 years ago."[22]

Nets ownership and the Pacific Park Brooklyn (formerly Atlantic Yards) development

Ratner first became owner of the Nets when he headed an ownership group that purchased the franchise from YankeeNets for $300 million. Ratner's group beat out an ownership group led by Charles Kushner and former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine. Ratner relocated the Nets to New York City, specifically to build an arena in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn even though there was desire to keep them in New Jersey and strong neighborhood protests to keep them out of Brooklyn.[23]

Barclays Center is the centerpiece and the only completed piece of a $3.5 billion sports arena, business and residential complex in development called Pacific Park Brooklyn.[24] This project is being built by Ratner's company, Forest City Ratner. The site of the arena is adjacent to the site that Walter O'Malley wanted to use for a new stadium for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the early 1950s. (O'Malley's plan was rejected by the city, resulting in the Dodgers relocating to Los Angeles in 1958.) On September 23, 2009, Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov reached a deal with Ratner to purchase an 80% stake of the Nets for $200 million, subject to Ratner acquiring financing for the arena project and control of the land by the end of the year in addition to the approval of three-fourths of the NBA board of governors.[25] According to Ratner, accepting Prokhorov as majority owner "gives us a partner who adds to the financial strength of the venture. Mikhail will have primary responsibility for the basketball part and we will have primary responsibility for the arena and the real estate."[25] On May 11, 2010, the sale of the Nets was approved by the NBA.[26]

Ratner originally planned to move the Nets across the Hudson River for the beginning of the 2009-10 NBA season. However, he had to revise his goal and moved the franchise to Brooklyn for the start of the 2012-13 season. Although the arena was scheduled to open in 2011, along with the rest of the complex, controversies involving the project's use of eminent domain and local residents, coupled with the lack of continued funding in a struggling economy, caused the project to be altered and delayed.[27] On May 16, 2009, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division struck down an opponents' lawsuit that sought to prevent the state of New York from using eminent domain to seize the property where the 22-acre (89,000 m2) Pacific Park Brooklyn project is being built. The opponents appealed the New York Supreme Court's ruling,[23] but lost when the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court, upheld the right of the state to use eminent domain for this project.[28] A groundbreaking ceremony was held on the site on March 11, 2010,[29] but ringed with protests.[30] The Nets began playing in Brooklyn in time for the 2012-13 NBA season.[31]

Board memberships

Ratner serves on a number of boards including the Weill Cornell Medical College, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Lang Lang International Music Foundation, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage as chairman of its trustees board.[32] He was chairman of the board[1] and now chairman emeritus of the Brooklyn Academy of Music's board of trustees.[33]

Center For Early Detection of Cancer

In 2016, Ratner established the Center for Early Detection of Cancer in memory of his brother, Michael Ratner.[34]

Honorary Degrees

Ratner holds honorary degrees from Brooklyn College, Medgar Evers College, Pratt Institute, and Long Island University. [35]

Personal life

Ratner has two daughters: Elizabeth ("Lizzy") Ratner, a Senior Editor at The Nation magazine,[36] and Rebecca ("Rebbie") Ratner, a filmmaker.[8] Following his first marriage, he was married to plastic surgeon Pamela Lipkin from 2008-2017.[2] As of 2020, Ratner is married to Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Public Library.[37]


  1. ^ a b New York Observer: "If Bruce Ratner Can Move the Empire Theater He Can Move Himself" by Carl Swanson March 16, 1998
  2. ^ a b "Real estate magnate Bruce Ratner and his plastic surgeon wife Pamela Lipkin reach divorce deal with little ugliness". New York Daily News. April 23, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bagli, Charles V.; Berger, Joseph (September 26, 2012). "Nets Helped Clear Path for Builder in Brooklyn". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Jewish Daily Forward: Top 50 Jews of 2012: "Bruce Ratner" retrieved December 25, 2012
  5. ^
  6. ^ Bullard, Stan (May 16, 2015). "The Ratners: Family rooted in growth". Crain's Cleveland Business.
  7. ^ Forest City Website: "Our History" Archived 2013-05-24 at the Wayback Machine retrieved April 12, 2013
  8. ^ a b Smith, Chris (2006-08-06). "Mr. Ratner's Neighborhood". Retrieved .
  9. ^
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  12. ^ "Forest City Announces Leadership Transition at New York Subsidiary".
  13. ^ "Downtown Brooklyn".
  14. ^ "Bruce C. Ratner". Gawker. Archived from the original on 2013-01-24.
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  21. ^ "12 tallest skyscrapers in New York City". am New York. Retrieved 2018.
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b Thompson, Ryan (2009-07-09). "The Court Date is Set for Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Retrieved .
  24. ^ "N.Y. / REGION: After Decades at a Walk-Up, Tenants Fear Losing a Home". New York Times. Feb 17, 2014.
  25. ^ a b Bagli, Charles V. (2009-09-24). "Richest Russian's Newest Toy: An N.B.A. Team". The New York Times.
  26. ^
  27. ^ Calder, Rich (2008-01-28). "Court Trouble: Ratner admits arena-funding woes". New York Post. Retrieved .
  28. ^ Bagli, Charles V. (2009-11-25). "Ruling Lets Atlantic Yards Seize Land". The New York Times.
  29. ^ Fahim, Kareem (March 11, 2010). "Ground Broken on Atlantic Yards Project". The New York Times.
  30. ^ "Protesters Hold Mock Funeral at Atlantic Yards Groundbreaking". NBC New York. March 11, 2010.
  31. ^ "Brooklyn Nets Calendar".
  32. ^ Aldredge, Betsy; Spilka, Abby. "Bruce Ratner Named Chairman-elect of Museum of Jewish Heritage -- A Living Memorial to the Holocaust" (PDF) (Press release). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-26. Retrieved .
  33. ^ "Board of Trustees".
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External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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