Skip to main content

From the Carpenters Union, a video of the "Brooklyn Day" rally

The Brooklyn Carpenters Union, Local 926, has produced a video with excerpts from the "Brooklyn Day" rally on June 5. I suggested the rally showed speakers embattled and a not-too-enthusiastic audience, but you can check it out yourself. Among the speakers: Sal Zarzana, president Local 926, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and radio host Curtis Sliwa. Note the criticism of local elected officials who've criticized the project.

Let me point out that 15,000 construction jobs is actually 1500 jobs over ten years, or 15,000 job-years. (More likely the project would stretch over decades, thus employing fewer people at one time.) Also note that there's mention of how "Brooklyn" needs the project, but no mention of developer Forest City Ratner.



Union interests

There's nothing wrong with the unions pursuing their interests, and Forest City Ratner, whether for reasons political and/or to ensure quality construction, has committed to union labor (though not for demolition).

One difference to remember, though, is that labor unions have been a part of Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) in Los Angeles, while in Brooklyn, the CBA was "negotiated" with hand-picked groups rather than a full spectrum of the community affected. Thus labor, not part of the AY CBA, did not have to balance its interests with the concerns, for example, of environmental groups.

The battle on video

Interestingly enough, the "related videos" appearing on YouTube all relate to criticism of and reform of the project. Perhaps, as the Atlantic Yards battle continues, we'll see a proliferation of videos.

A spokesman for the union confirmed that this was a union production, without the involvement of Forest City Ratner.

Comments

  1. I keep wondering why Ratner was ever able to enlist union support. (I invite anyone to explain it.) The unions would clearly be better off if they hadn’t supported him because then there would be more development further along-

    The problem is that Ratner’s goal is clearly the kind of unprincipled development that will serve him ahead of serving others (among other things his goals do not go very far in terms of serving union goals. In fact, they seem to work against them). I have frequently described Ratner as the boy with his hand in the cookie jar who is trying to get withdraw such a huge handful of cookies at one time that he cannot get his hand or even one of them out. - Ratner, is hanging on the idea of huge density, street and avenue closings, eminent domain abuse to acquire property unnecessary for his development, destruction of worthwhile old buildings, and inordinate subsidy for his arena. And he wants to get all this on a no-bid basis.

    If development of the Atlantic Yards/Vanderbilt Yards area were proceeding in a principled fashion there would be a project endorsed by the community that is much further along. A project bid out and build by multiple developers working concurrently would accelerate development and the delivery of jobs into the current near-term. It would also be a better project.

    (For more on what principled development would look like see: “Effective Action Needed From Brooklyn Speaks, BHA, etc. - MDDWhite | Mon, 03/17/2008 - 9:10am” http://www.brooklynspeaks.net/node/17#comment-1826)

    Right now the unions are losing valuable political capital as people witness their alignment with a big-business robber Barron’s greed. (When unions are on the side of popular projects they gain political capital, when they side with unpopular ones like this they lose it.) Furthermore, the union’s support for so much density at these locations or for the piling of all the city and state subsidies onto Ratner as a single developer does not create more construction: it redirects resources from other projects that would be more stimulating to the economy (other housing developments and for instance the extension of the 7th Avenue subway line) and results in less construction because the funds will not be leveraged as well Ratner’s hands.

    Michael D. D. White
    Noticing New York

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…

Former ESDC CEO Lago returns to NYC to head City Planning Commission

Carl Weisbrod, Mayor Bill de Blasio's City Planning Commission Chairman and Director of the Department of City Planning, is resigning,

And he's being replaced by Marisa Lago, currently a federal official, but who Atlantic Yards-ologists remember as the short-term Empire State Development Corporation CEO who, in an impolitic but candid 2009 statement, acknowledged that the project would take "decades."

Still, Lago not long after that played the good soldier at a May 2009 Senate oversight hearing, justifying changes in the project but claiming the public benefits remained the same.

By returning to City Planning, Lago will join former ESDC General Counsel Anita Laremont, who after retiring from the state (and taking a pension) got the job with the city.

Back at planning

Lago, a lawyer, in 1983 began work as an aide to City Planning Chairman Herb Sturz, and later served as the General Counsel to the president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Weisbrod himself.