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Ratner, Bruce C.

RATNER, BRUCE C.

RATNER, BRUCE C. (1945– ), U.S. developer. Ratner was born in Cleveland, Ohio, part of the second generation of a prominent realestate family that left Poland in 1920. The original family name, Ratowczer, was changed to Ratner. A family lumberyard business built by Ratner's three uncles and an aunt grew into a national real estate enterprise, Forest City Enterprises, now publicly owned, with Albert Ratner, Bruce's cousin, as its chairman. Bruce Ratner graduated from Harvard University in 1967 and earned a law degree from the Columbia University School of Law in 1970. His interest at first was public service, and his first job out of school was as a lawyer for the Model Cities program in Queens. In 1978, he became head of the city's consumer-protection division. He taught law for four years at New York University Law School before being named commissioner of consumer affairs for New York City. He quit government at the end of 1981 to fortify his net worth in real estate development. He formed the Forest City Ratner Companies, an affiliate of Forest City Enterprises, in 1982. He picked unlikely places to develop, like little-known poor areas of Brooklyn. He built an office building in Brooklyn and then the Metrotech office complex in downtown Brooklyn, which proved to be major factors in raising the vitality of the area. From there he built hotels in Manhattan and spread his projects across Harlem, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. In 2004 he bought the New Jersey Nets, a professional basketball team, and was engaged in extensive negotiations with New York City and others to build an arena at Brooklyn Atlantic Yards for the team and to create a cultural-business center there, with Frank *Gehry as the architect. He was also a partner with the New York Times Company in building the newspaper's new headquarters, with Renzo Piano as architect. He was a member of the board of the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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