Skip to main content

"Maximum" private participation: will the Urban Room become ADT Plaza?

Architect Frank Gehry, developer Forest City Ratner, and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) have long called it the "Urban Room," publicly-accessible open space. (See more here and here.) It looks like we should start calling it the ADT Plaza.

While ADT Plaza is not described explicitly as the "Urban Room" on the Barclays Center web site, it would include several elements tagged to the Urban Room.

First, consider how the ESDC describes a large, at least 10,000-sf publicly accessible atrium that would serve as a dramatic gateway to the arena and provide a place for people to congregate... [I]t would serve as an entrance to the office space and hotel in Building 1, the restaurant and cafe, the arena (its ticket booths would be located here), and a new access point to the subway via an underground connection....The Urban Room would serve as its own destination when programmed with small concerts, cultural events, art shows, and readings that would be open to the public... The second level mezzanine of the Urban Room would be accessed externally by a grand stoop at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues or internally by a stair and an elevator.
(Emphasis added)

Enter ADT

Then consider the description on the Barclays Center web site:
# 365-day meeting place
# The Primary entrance for the venue
# Direct elevator, escalator and stair access to the subway station
# Pedestrian access in and out from Flatbush & Atlantic Avenues
# Access to the Team Store
# Prime location adjacent to Venue Box Office
# Views directly into the Venue Bowl
# Jones Soda Shoppe


It would be named for "ADT Security Services, a unit of Tyco International, the largest provider of electronic security services to nearly six million commercial, government and residential customers throughout North America."

The Soda Stoop & Shoppe

And what about the second level mezzanine of ADT Plaza, accessed by a grand stoop? That sounds like the Jones Soda Shoppe, with its retro spelling of "shop." Again, according to the web site, Jones Soda Stoop & Adjacent Terrace are expected to include:
# Open air structure at tip of the Plaza – the main access point to the Barclays Center – will serve as a year-round gathering point and meeting place for residents, visitors and tourists
# Prime location at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues; the Jones Soda Stoop and Terrace will be visible to 60,000 vehicles that pass through the intersection daily
# WIFI capabilities

Jones Soda Shoppe expected to include:
# Jones Soda branded signs visible to Atlantic & Flatbush Avenues
# Open daily for residents, commuters, and event attendees
# WIFI capabilities
# Digital TV service displayed on plasma televisions
# Branded environment (e.g., cups, napkins, staff uniforms)


Maximum private participation

The ESDC, in Part II of the Modified General Project Plan, assures us (p. 35) that FCRC will maintain the Urban Room as a publicly accessible space with a subway entrance.

That's keyed to a finding that Atlantic Yards would be a Land Use Improvement Project under state law, that the plan or undertaking affords maximum opportunity for a participation by private enterprise, consistent with the sound needs of the municipality as a whole.

Thus a Civil Rights-era provision aimed to clear slums in the absence of willing private investors apparently leads, in the 21st century, to a highly-branded "Urban Room."

Comments

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…

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…

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…