Skip to main content

AY scaleback? Well, at least Miss Brooklyn, apparently

As I wrote yesterday, the evidence from the transcript of Forest City Enterprises' "Investor Day" last October suggested that "the size of the project may have been reduced" and "the flagship Miss Brooklyn tower has apparently been trimmed." But I didn't put them in the headline or lead sections because the evidence was murky.

But the potential scaleback was apparently the news of the day, as Brownstoner declared in a headline, Atlantic Yards Scope Trimmed; Funding Still Fuzzy and commenters piled on, suggesting that the affordable housing would be cut, even though a company executive said in the transcript that "we are committed to creating [the 2250 units] over the life of the project."

Miss Brooklyn cut

And if Miss Brooklyn no longer would contain condos, as Forest City Ratner officials seem to have confirmed, part of a reduction in total bulk as well as a tradeoff for office space. The loss of some 435,000 square feet of condo space suggests a reduction in planned residential units from 6430 to about 6000, assuming an average of 1000 square feet a unit.

That means the project's residential density would go down, as well, from 292 apartments/acre to 273 apartments/acre.

Indeed, as I should've pointed out yesterday, just before Atlantic Yards was approved in December 2006, Miss Brooklyn was reduced in height from 620 feet to shorter than the 512-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank. That implies some reduction in square footage. I kept asking about the revised bulk, but never got an answer.

And it's not clear whether the building would still contain a hotel, as originally planned.

(Update) To clarify, FCR officials described the building as 528,000 square feet "of zoning rights." It was to have 908,144 square feet. A hotel would add 164,652 square feet to 528,000 square feet of condos, but the use of the term "zoning rights" implies an overall cap. Then again, a reduction to 528,000 square feet would be a more than 40% cut, while the height of the building was reduced only 18%, from 620 feet to 511 feet. Include the hotel and the cut in bulk is less than 24%. Maybe the building is getting a little shorter, too.

Crain's confirms, sort of

Later in the day, Crain's New York Business weighed in, in an online article headlined Atlantic Yards quietly scaled back? A representative of the developer asserted that the project had not been scaled back but acknowledged that Miss Brooklyn had been cut.

There's a gap there. As I commented on the Crain's site, If "the square footage adds up to what was previously projected" and Miss Brooklyn has "smaller square footage," then where has the developer *added* square footage to stay at square one? The evidence suggests there's been a reduction of a couple of hundred thousand square feet, but until full dimensions of the project are released, we can't be certain.

A company rep confirmed that, as I had suggested, the discussion in October had omitted the portion of the project at Site 5, hence the omission of one building and a significant amount of square footage.

Signed agreements?

According to the transcript, FCR Executive VP MaryAnne Gilmartin said, “In June of 2007, we received [a] favorable decision on the Federal eminent domain lawsuit, in September of 2007, executed critical funding agreements with the City and State of New York, which allow us to be reimbursed for investments made in infrastructure and land to date on the project.”

That seems to contradict some public statements, as I noted. Crain's followed up:
Yet company sources suggested to Crain’s last month that said no such funding agreements had been completed because litigation against the development was still pending.

A source familiar with the agreements says they were indeed signed by Forest City Ratner last fall but are still waiting for approval by the city and state comptrollers.


OK, so they've been signed, but not completed. But the term "executed" sure sounds like the process is finished.

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…

"There is no alternative": DM Glen on de Blasio's affordable housing strategy

As I've written, Mayor Bill de Blasio sure knows how to steer and spin coverage of his affordable housing initiatives.

Indeed, his latest announcement, claiming significant progress, came with a pre-press release op-ed in the New York Daily News and then a friendly photo-op press conference with an understandably grateful--and very lucky--winner of an affordable housing lottery.

To me, though, the most significant quote came from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
said public housing had been “starved” of federal support for years now, leaving the city with fewer ways of creating affordable housing. “Are we relying too heavily on the private sector?” she said. “There is no alternative.” Though Glen was using what she surely sees as a common-sense phrase, it recalls the slogan of a politician with whom I doubt de Blasio identifies: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative who believed in free markets.

It suggests the limits to …