Skip to main content

DDDB to get preservation award from HDC, but Ward Bakery demolition continues

From the Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn newsletter:
The Historic Districts Council (HDC) will be awarding Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn their Grassroots Preservation Award for our "ongoing efforts to stop the Atlantic Yards project." There will be a ceremony in May. We thank the HDC for acknowledging and honoring our ongoing work.

HDC gives several Grassroots Preservation Awards, often to groups that, unlike DDDB, have succeeded in their preservation mission. Last year's winners included the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association, the Crown Heights North Association, the East Village Community Coalition, and the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance, all of which had achieved preservation progress.

DDDB and allies have succeeded in raising consciousness about valuable buildings within the Atlantic Yards footprint and the general importance of responsible development, but it has not succeeded in blocking the ongoing demolition of the Ward Bakery, though Forest City Ratner and parent Forest City Enterprises have certainly practiced historic preservation elsewhere. Tracy Collins's photo shows the smokestack coming down. (More here.)

"Absurd" but sustainable demolition

FCR's 3/22/07 announcement regarding the Ward Bakery demolition noted, "As part of its sustainability efforts and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification process, at least 75% of the demolition debris is expected to be recycled."

However, recycling debris from a building that could've been renovated does not represent the path to sustainability, given "embodied energy," as sustainability consultant Donovan Rypkema explained last year.

Indeed, the issue came up last Thursday, at an HDC panel on “Preservation, Planning and Aesthetic Regulation in New York City." Eric Allison, coordinator of the Historic Preservation Graduate Program at Pratt Institute, called it "an absurdity" that "they're getting LEED credit for the reuse of the historic building they're destroying."

Why not Spalding?

If Forest City Ratner is in such a hurry to build the Atlantic Yards Arena, why hasn't the developer started to demolish the Spalding Building, which, unlike the Ward Bakery, actually would be within the arena footprint?

Maybe because it was already renovated into condos, and should the project be scotched, the apartments could easily be marketed.

Comments

  1. The reasons why Bruce Ratner is demolishing the Ward Bakery (not within the arena footprint) while not starting to demolish the Spalding Building, (within the arena footprint) is that he knows that: 1.) he has no legitimate reason to use eminent domain for the Ward Bakery block, 2.) he has the least legitimate reason to demolish anything on that block, and 3.) the public is most likely to rally to prevent destruction of the buildings on that block including the Ward Bakery.

    And yes, Ratner is contemplating that his success is far from guaranteed (the project is fragile) so he has importantly factored in his ability to resell the Spalding Co-ops after such a failure.

    Either the city or state could have prevented Ratner from starting to demolish the Ward Bakery: there is this question of $2 billion or so of public subsidy Ratner wants from them so it would have been easy for either the city or the state to do what they should have done to postpone premature demolition of the Bakery.

    It is too bad that the city and state could not see and protect the interest of the public as easily as Ratner could see and act upon his own interests. It is too bad our public officials allow the interests of Ratner to come first.

    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…

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…

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…

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…

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…