Skip to main content

Stuckey's shocker: Ratner VP says Brooklyn Arena would use more mass transit than MSG

Would 65 percent of visitors to the planned Brooklyn Arena at the Atlantic Yards development use mass transportation? That's what Forest City Ratner VP Jim Stuckey told an audience on 11/22/05, even though two weeks later public officials expressed skepticism that the Brooklyn Arena could draw even half of its visitors via mass transit.

Stuckey, speaking at American Institute of Architects presentation along with Atlantic Yards architect Frank Gehry and landscape designer Laurie Olin, stated (according to a tape I recently listened to), "Most everyone believes and I think the EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] ultimately will say that about 65% of the people who come to the arena... will be using mass transportation already." The EIS is expected in the next weeks or months. (Photo from Forest City Ratner web site.)

However, at a 12/5/05 Borough Board hearing on transit issues, transportation consultant "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz suggested that Madison Square Garden was the best model for Atlantic Yards arena traffic, with about 50% of visitors using public transit, 40% using cars, and 10% walking. But that drew contentious responses, as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said that such an estimate was overoptimistic.

As the New York Post reported:
"I don't think you can compare Madison Square Garden to Brooklyn. There's a huge part of Brooklyn that does not have public transportation," he said — adding that parts of Staten Island and Queens, too, are out of the reach of public transportation leading to the arena's designated site at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

Note that Schwartz is now working as a consultant for Forest City Ratner, though he was not doing so at the time.

Stuckey on the mark?

I asked Stuckey to amplify his remarks, but he didn't respond to my email. I asked Stuckey's questioner, Brad Lander, director of the Pratt Center for Community Development, if Stuckey's observation was legitimate. "Sixty-five percent does indeed seem to be an extremely inflated estimate, given that Madison Square Garden is at 50 percent," Lander responded. "It does not seem credible to me to suggest that more people would come to Atlantic Yards by train than to MSG--more likely the opposite (since I would guess that more New Jersey & Long Island residents would drive)."

Lander did note that the developer is considering the possibility of incorporating the price of transit into ticket prices to arena events, which could reduce traffic, but "much more would be needed in any case to make parking limited/expensive."

Remote parking?

During the November 22 Q&A session, Lander followed up Stuckey's "65 percent" comment by asking what arena had the next highest percentage of attendees via public transit. Stuckey responded by focusing on Madison Square Garden: "The interesting thing about the modeling is that they have Madison Square Garden, where there’s been an awful lot of modeling done... It obviously has to be adjusted."

Stuckey said any model must understand the number of people that are coming and the time of their trips. "I think you have to put in place programs, which we’re working with the government on, that will hopefully part of the EIS process, where you can encourage even further mass transportation. There are a lot of ways of doing that. One example, and this is a way of tying other parts of Brooklyn into the project, you could have people park remotely, you could have people come to games, you could have them then go to dinner in other places, enjoy other Brooklyn neighborhoods, and keep cars off the streets."

It remains to be seen whether Stuckey's "65 percent" estimate includes those who use mass transportation at the last leg of their trip, such as after parking in other parts of Brooklyn.

But so far, it's hardly clear that "most everyone believes" in that 65 percent figure. Schwartz didn't believe it in December. Now that he's working for the developer, will he be finding ways to make that work?

Comments

  1. If you want less people to drive, take away the parking spots! Don't build any garage space and give the neighborhoods surrounding the arena resident permit parking.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…