Skip to main content

Why luxury suite sales this week are needed to market arena bonds

A counter-protest in response to the "Time Out" rally. An Bruce Ratner op-ed in the New York Daily News. The release of new renderings of the Atlantic Yards arena, office tower, and first residential building.

Let me try to put Forest City Ratner's recent efforts in some perspective. The office tower rendering is aimed to help attract an anchor tenant and get the building started. The rendering of a residential rental tower, with half the units subsidized, is aimed to maintain public support for the project.

But, more than anything else, the developer's efforts are about getting the arena built. That means the public must be convinced it's viable and, crucially, buyers of luxury suites must be recruited. The guarantee of certain suite revenues, I believe, will back bonds for the now-$950 million arena.

(Rendering from New York Post.)


Matthew Schuerman of WNYC, in a report on Tuesday, not only broke news of the arena's missing green roof, but also started making the point about marketing:

The reason behind releasing these images now wasn't so much to grab headlines, although they have, so far. but in order to prep the public and the press for marketing purposes. Forest City Ratner is going to begin marketing its luxury boxes at its arena later this month and wants to attract a company to rent office space in this new building.

Suites on sale

Luxury suites go on sale this Thursday, May 15. Crain's reported that 20% of the 130 suites have been sold to “friends and family,” according to Nets Sports Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark, but the Nets are trying very hard to get others on board.

The Nets actually sent 185 of the city's top CEOs a Tiffany key chain with a key, and one of those keys is to a free suite. And Jay-Z and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will be there.

Next: arena bonds?

It's a good bet that a quota of suite sales, along with the value of the Barclays Center naming rights agreement and of other, as yet unnamed, partnerships, are part of the package that Forest City Ratner must put together to sell arena bonds. So far, Forest City Ratner has acknowledged that the naming rights agreement "lends itself pretty nicely" to securitization, but hasn't spoken about securitizing suite revenue.

But suite revenue has been part of other arena deals.Consider the 1999 sale of $315 million asset-backed securitization financing for the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, at that point, the largest-ever financing for a professional sports arena.

The developers announced:
The future revenue streams used for the securitization come from contractually obligated fees from the arena's naming rights, a portion of the luxury suite and premier seat licenses, the concession leases, the ten Founding Partner corporate sponsorships and an exclusive ticket sales agreement with Ticketmaster-California Inc.

Multiple that by three and you've got Brooklyn and a much higher-stakes effort. The road is a bit rockier in Brooklyn, given the presence of some pesky lawsuits and skeptical public officials, not to mention some plausible portraits of an arena that surely won't get its full--or perhaps any--shiny titanium skin until the towers around it are complete.

Will the Tiffany key chain recipients be daunted?


  1. Personally, I highly doubt investing in an arena with so many possibilities for failure will sit well with potential investors. Not to mention all those CEOs are posting some of their worst quarters to date. I would be quite surprised if these sold.

    Then again, I could be totally wrong as I am certainly no CEO.

  2. These will sell like hot cakes...I wish I has CEO money, I'd be buying one myself.


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…