Skip to main content

An AY governance bill emerges, aimed at 2009

A press conference will be held at City Hall Monday at 10 a.m. to to launch “The Campaign to Reform the Governance of Atlantic Yards,” an initiative to pass new legislation that would reform the governance of the Atlantic Yards project--changes that have been resisted by the Empire State Development Corporation.

The proposed legislation would set into law the governance structure recommended by the BrooklynSpeaks coalition. According to the press release, the Atlantic Yards Governance Act (A11395) would create the “Atlantic Yards Trust” to oversee the project with a board of state and city appointed officials, overseeing policies to mitigate the environmental impact of the project (and recommending additional policies). A “Stakeholders Council” comprised of local residents appointed by local elected officials would advise the Trust.

Goal: 2009

Among those at the press conference will be Assemblymembers Hakeem Jeffries and Jim Brennan, and City Council members Letitia James and David Yassky, along with Brooklyn community leaders. Given that the state legislative session essentially ends June 23, it's unlikely that the bill would pass the Assembly in time, much less the Republican-controlled state Senate.

However, the Senate may tip Democratic after this year's elections, and the bill, once introduced, can be considered again, said Jeffries, the legislative sponsor. So it seems that the bill is being announced as an effort to get attention to the issue before it gets serious legislative consideration.

Jeffries, Brennan, and Yassky have all supported aspects of the project, though lately all have become more critical. (Another cosponsor is Assemblywoman Joan Millman.) James is the most prominent political opponent of Atlantic Yards; her support for the bill, which assumes that the project eventually will go forward (though it's stalled for now), suggests she's being pragmatic.

From the bill

The lack of a subsidiary, such as one parallel to the Battery Park City Authority, has its impacts, according to the bill:
The result is that the project is governed in a less transparent, less accountable manner than comparable projects, and without any vehicle for coordinating the city and state agencies involved in the proposed development, or involving local elected officials and the relevant community boards. Further, changes in administration in State government, as well as changes in the ESDC`s internal organization, pose risks to the continuity of project oversight which may threaten the realization of Atlantic Yards` stated goals.

Comments

  1. To be effective, the Atlantic Yards Governance Act (should it be called the Vanderbilt Yards Atlantic Avenue Area Governance Act?) is going to need to provide for a fair amount “back to the drawing board” work otherwise there won’t be principled development, community involvement, a good project, or effective negotiation when it comes to subsidies- The old axiom is that you don’t want to lock the barn door after the horse has been stolen- By the same token, we don’t want to appoint a posse whose job it is to sit around on the corral fence rails and admire horse-rustling-thief-Ratner riding off into the sunset.

    What principled development (and effective action) means was expressed as I set forth in 7 enumerated points at that Brooklyn Speaks site at: “Effective Action Needed From Brooklyn Speaks, BHA, etc. - MDDWhite | Mon, 03/17/2008 - 9:10am” http://www.brooklynspeaks.net/node/17#comment-1826

    Among other things it most certainly includes, as one of its starting points, eliminating the unnecessary avenue and street closings which the Municipal Art Society has long been calling for. There would be proper processes without shortcuts circumventing community involvement and ULURP: For instance, this very importantly applies to upzoning and proposed condemnations.

    The current project has gotten bogged down because Ratner is like the little boy trying to get too many cookies out of the jar for himself with a single unrelaxed grasp. Development which proceeded in principled fashion would not have gotten bogged down this way and it would have resulted in something benefitting the community to a substantially greater degree at substantially lowered cost. At the risk of people not clicking on the Brooklyn Speaks site to review the worthwhile supporting reasoning, the key features of what would constitute a principled approach to development covered there are:
    1. There would be no inclusion of the Ward Bakery Block for the sake of eminent domain windfall,
    2. Density would be reduced and set at a more appropriate level
    3. All unnecessary street and avenue closings and takeovers would be avoided,
    4. Valuable additional streets would be created by extending the existing street grid in obvious ways,
    5. Ratner would not be permitted to use the Megadevelopment as an excuse or mechanism to receive no-bid subsidy, instead, the project would be bid out and awarded to multiple developers who could work concurrently to construct it faster and with greater leverage of any public funding provided,
    6. The location of the arena at the site would be scrutinized and the arena subsidy would be cut back to a reasonable level whether or not it is permitted to remain located at the proposed site. In all probability the arena would be relocated elsewhere consistently with Robert Moses’ analysis that congestion would be an insurmountable problem in placing a giant sports complex at this site
    7. The project would be subject to good and well thought through design guidelines

    It is also interesting to note that this sounds like it dovetails well with Senator Richard Brodsky’s ideas about what should be done in terms of developing Manhattan’s West Side in the Hudson Yards, Moynihan Station, Seventh Avenue Subway Extension and perhaps one-day-to-be-demolished Javits Center.


    Michael D. D. White
    Noticing New York

    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…

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 …