Four Sparrows Development Nixed Under Shadow Of Corruption

One of the proposed plans for Four Sparrows Shopping Center.

Plans to build a shopping center with ties to indicted State Senator Carl Kruger on a city-owned nature preserve near Kings Plaza have been terminated by the developer.

Forest City Ratner Companies, which is currently building the controversial Atlantic Yards, decided to bail on its plan of building a shopping center on the Four Sparrows Marsh next to the Toys ’R’ Us on Flatbush Avenue, between Avenue U and the Gil Hodges Bridge. The cancellation was first noted by Queens Crapper.

Insiders say the reason Forest City is doing this is because they couldn’t find a suitable tenant, but there are reasons to think otherwise. The project was mentioned during conversation recorded by the FBI between Kruger and developer Aaron Malinsky, who was trying to get state funds directed towards the project. Though the project isn’t included in the indictment, prosecutors say Kruger received at least $1 million in bribes from developers – including co-defendant Malinsky – and others seeking the pols help.

FCR said the ties to Kruger had nothing to do with the project’s cancellation, though. According to the article:

Insiders say Kruger’s links to the Four Sparrows project may have made Ratner “feel uncomfortable” — but the mega-developer would have quickly put those feelings aside to make a profit.
“If there was money to be made, he would have developed the property,” said one source. “[Kruger’s involvement] would have been an unpleasant reminder, but it would have been acceptable enough to go forward.

In the conversations recorded by the FBI, Forest City veep Bruce Bender tried to get Kruger to steer $2 million to the Four Sparrows project, but instead settled for $500,000 to a project near Prospect Park.

FCR’s plans only accounted for about half the proposed development. Toys ‘R’ Us will remain on the plot, and a section will be developed for the relocation of Kristal Automall, the city’s largest minority-owned car dealership.