Skip to main content

CBA coalition launches invite-only "Meet & Greet" sessions

For those interested in the Atlantic Yards project, a series of Meet & Greet sessions have begun at the Atlantic Yards Information Center on the third floor of the Atlantic Center Mall. While the term "open forum" is used to describe the meetings, they are invitation-only. According to a press release:
The Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement Coalition has started a series of “Meet and Greets” in Brooklyn, NY to both introduce community residents to the proposed $3.5 billion, Frank Gehry-designed Atlantic Yards project and to elicit additional feedback.... Future Meet & Greets are planned to occur regularly in the ensuing months.

The source for that press release was the Event Calendar Tuesday of the Electronic Urban Report (EUR), which listed the following: Essence Fest adds rap show, Diddy drops out; NBAF in Atlanta; Hip-Hop Theater Fest in NYC; ‘Thug’ film at Urbanworld; Atlantic Yards Meet & Greet. (Emphasis added)

While the issue of community benefits would presumably be interesting to a broad range of people, Forest City Ratner p.r. staff apparently want to get the word out to the black/urban audience.

First meeting June 13

The first event was held June 13. According to the invitation (click on the image to enlarge it):
Our Meet and Greet(s) are intended to be an open forum in which community residents and businesses can gather and meet an assortment of CBA signatory groups and representatives. In addition, these series of Meet and Greet(s) are to inform community residents and businesses more about the community benefits of the Atlantic Yards Project (AYP).
If you want to learn more about the CBA Atlantic Yards Project, have an idea, suggestion or just want to enjoy the company of your Neighbors, please join us! Our Meet and Greet(s) are free and you are welcomed to come via RSVP.


Given to attendees was a copy of the "Connect to CBA Opportunities" brochure produced by BUILD. The same document, which discusses plans for job training, affordable housing, and other CBA components (some of them still emerging), was given out Tuesday at the BUILD meeting, also held at the Atlantic Yards Information Center.

Cops, bankers also join in

The version of the guest list I saw had 66 names. Among the group:
--13 people from nine different public housing projects across Brooklyn, representatives of Public Housing Communities, a CBA signatory.
--4 people representing Brooklyn Endeavor Experience, a CBA signatory
--10 people from the New York State Association of Minority Contractors, a CBA signatory
--12 representatives from BUILD, a CBA signatory
--2 people from Mainline Financial Services
--2 representatives from HSBC
--1 community relations representative from Polytechnic University (a partner with Forest City Ratner on MetroTech)
--5 staffers from the Kings County District Attorney's Office
--7 representatives of the New York Police Department
--1 person from the Department of Education

Not present at this meeting were representatives from three CBA signatories: the Downtown Brooklyn Educational Consortium (DBEC), headed by Freddie Hamilton; the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA), headed by the Rev. Herbert Daughtry; and the All-Faith Council of Brooklyn (AFCB), co-chaired by the Rev. Walter J. Morris.

Still in formation?

Based on the "Connect to CBA Opportunities" document, it seems that at least a couple of the CBA signatory groups are still in formation. (Click on the page at right for a larger view.) It states that PHC "will establish a Public Housing Council that will work with NYCHA Residents to ensure full participation in the programs and benefits of this Agreement."

Also, it states that "AFCB will form and facilitate an All-Faith Council, which shall be representative of the religious diversity within the Community, to establish an ongoing mechanism for community input for referrals to the jobs, housing and other programs created by this Agreement."

Unanswered questions

I wanted to find out more about this meeting and future meetings, so on Wednesday I called and emailed CBA Chair Delia Hunley-Adossa. I haven't heard back yet.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…