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Bruce Ratner sells majority interest in Atlantic Yards to Chinese company

SHoP architects

Bruce Ratner, who saved his investment in the Nets and Barclays Center by selling out to a Russian investor, is now selling a majority interest in the surrounding Atlantic Yards project to a Chinese-government land company, reports the Wall Street Journal. An investor confirmed the report.

The sale won't include Ratner's stake in either the Nets or Barclays Center. Mikhail Prokhorov bought 80 percent of the Nets and 45 percent of the arena for a less than $250 million in 2009. At the time, it was reported that he also had an option to purchase up to 20 percent of Atlantic Yards, an option he has not exercised. Its current status is unknown.

Greenland Holdings Group of Shanghai agreed to buy a 70 percent stake in the project that has been slow to get off the ground, mainly because of financing issues. The arena and B2, the 33-story apartment tower now rising next to the arena, are not included in the deal, said a source familiar with it. Fifteen other towers as well as planned retail and office space and a hotel are included. Terms haven't yet been disclosed but the overall project has been valued at $4 billion.

Atlantic Yards would rank as the largest commercial-real-estate development in the U.S. ever to get major backing directly from a Chinese company. Ratner would continue to manage the project.

Both Ratner and the Chinese company confirmed the basic details to the Journal. The main effect for Nets fans would be the acceleration of construction around the arena ... and an improvement in Ratner's financial stability. Atlantic Yards has been the center of controversy since it was first proposed in 2003, with one major complaint being its slow pace. With a government-backed Chinese company now in the mix, that's likely to become less of an issue.