Skip to main content

Closer look at Crain's poll: those who follow AY project are more critical

So, are people who know more about the Atlantic Yards project more likely to oppose it? Yes, though the results from the Crain's poll weren't as dramatic as I'd have thought.

From Wednesday's Crain's Insider:
ATLANTIC YARDS POLL
The Crain’s poll on Atlantic Yards prompted immediate spin yesterday from project detractors, who claim that the survey showed 60% support for the development because most people know little about it. But of respondents who said they are following the Forest City plan closely, 59% were favorable and 38% were negative. Of those not following it closely, 60% were favorable and 22% were not. The poll also showed that savvy advertising and public relations by Forest City could increase support further. After callers were read three negative statements and then three positive statements about the project, support rose to 71% from 60%. The statements moved Brooklynites the most, raising the borough’s favorable portion to 74% from 60% and reducing the unfavorable portion to 24% from 33%. Support went up among all demographic groups, but the biggest jump was among blacks and Hispanics.

That contradicts to some extent the assessment I made. Yes, those with close knowledge are more critical, but the difference comes from the undecideds, while the support, at least as expressed in this poll, seems consistent.

But my criticisms of the poll questions stand. And why exactly is Crain's hailing the developer's media techniques? Crain's said:
The poll also showed that savvy advertising and public relations by Forest City could increase support further. After callers were read three negative statements and then three positive statements about the project, support rose to 71% from 60%.

What if we inverted some of that logic? Consider this:
The poll also showed design of the poll could increase opposition to the plan. After callers were read three positive statements and then three negative statements about the project, support went down.

Or another way:
The poll also suggested that accurate journalism could counter "savvy advertising and public relations". After callers were told that the Community Benefits Agreement was with handpicked groups and not actually negotiated, unlike CBAs elsewhere, support went down.

An exchange with Crain's

I queried Crain's editor Greg David about the poll, who emailed in response:
The questions were drawn up by Charney Research. We reviewed them, but our revisions were minor matters of fact. This was an independent, professional opinion research firm with no particular interests in the matter.
Doing the poll was my idea. I thought an scientific telephone survey by an independent, professional pollster would add an important element to the debate. I had no preconceived idea of what the results would be.


I responded that, while I didn't doubt him, different questions could have produced a different poll:
Nobody's against affordable housing in the abstract. However, had people been told, say, that most of the affordable housing would be unaffordable to those at Brooklyn's median income (because they earn too little to qualify) or that most would not be available until after 2010, well, the results might be different.

David responded:
All I can say is that Charney had no motive to be anything but professional and had no axe to grind and no interest in the results.

And I responded:
I don't doubt that. But that doesn't mean he fully understands the topic.

Indeed, the quote from Charney in the original Crain's article sounds hubristically conclusory:
The meaning of the poll is that New Yorkers are broadly pro-development, and that includes people in Brooklyn who are close to this project," says Craig Charney, the research firm's president.

Rethinking the housing question

Consider the housing issue, which 83% percent of respondents judged positively. They were asked:
The project will provide 2,250 low-, moderate-, and middle-income rental apartments. Is this a very important benefit, an important benefit, not an important benefit or no benefit at all?

Consider some alternative ways to ask that question:
The project would include 2,250 low-, moderate-, and middle-income rental apartments, with an average rent of $1542.

The project would include 2,250 affordable apartments, but more than half would be too expensive for people at Brooklyn's median income.

The project would include 2,250 affordable apartments, but the inclusion of those apartments means the development would be significantly out of scale with its neighbors.

The project would include 2,250 affordable apartments, but most wouldn't be built until after 2010, and could be delayed by the market.

The project would include 2,250 affordable apartments, but we haven't been told the full amount of the subsidies used to support them.

The project would include 2,250 affordable apartments, but most wouldn't be built until after 2010, unlike city rezonings which require affordable housing to be built along with the rest of project.


The meaning of the poll is that it matters how you ask the questions.

Comments

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…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

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…