Skip to main content

ESDC CEO: focus on infrastructure projects

Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) CEO Marisa Lago, in a recent video interview posted on the Crain's New York Business web site, was recently asked what the city and federal governments should do to help New York business.

Her answer: "We have to inject an element of realism in today's market. We have to be smart about where we continue to invest. But the important thing is: we do need and will be continuing to invest."

Back to basics

"In a time like this, what do you focus on?" she asked rhetorically. "You get back to basics. And the basics are infrastructure projects. As so you can see through the state submission for the [federal] stimulus bill, we're focusing where we can put dollars today that will both put people to work today but also just lay that groundwork that, when this economic crisis turns around, and it will at some point, we will be prepared with the infrastructure that will allow the private sector then to come and continue with development."

Isn't that the way it's supposed to work? Infrastructure first. The "public realm." (I suppose she means things like the Second Avenue Subway.)

Some of the Atlantic Yards project would certainly be infrastructure, but it's not "shovel-ready," as the ESDC has acknowledged. And, more importantly, rather than set up a process to enhance infrastructure to lure the private sector, Atlantic Yards was a package deal, and one developer had the inside track.

Comments

  1. Is "shovel ready" a static term? Will the Atlantic Yards become "shovel ready" when the legal cases are resolved and financing is obtained? Will "ground breaking" translate to "shovel-ready"? Aren't those questions you should be asking or at least raising?

    "Public realm" could also apply to things like, oh I don't know, moving an LIRR railyard east...or maybe some improvements to the Atlantic Terminal subway stops.

    Why do you not raise these questions? It seems as if you don't because it would also raise troubling concerns, like the city and state see AY as something they want to succeed.

    Please, go back to your Mad Overkiller mode and do some digging.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bobbo, ensconced in Cranford, NJ--and who really ought to be using his own name, right?--asks if groundbreaking means shovel-ready.

    Good question, since it depends on whether groundbreaking is something that occurs once Forest City Ratner puts a shovel in the ground or whether the transfer of property via eminent domain is completed. Given that the developer had consistently announced groundbreaking at a time when eminent domain could not have been completed, that wouldn't be shovel-ready.

    As for "public realm," had Mr. W. (aka NetIncome) actually read Alexander Garvin's description, he would've noticed that Garvin said, "I think it’s high time we started spending money and stop trying to get private property owners to do things that we the city should be doing, whether it’s building schools or improving our streets.”

    Sure, the city and state see Atlantic Yards as something they want to succeed--so much so that too often they close their eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bobbo should sign his name as Bob Windrem.

    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.