Skip to main content

ESDC says it was wrong, AY could be "shovel-ready" for stimulus money; FCR nixes proposals by BrooklynSpeaks

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) says it was wrong in comments last week to the Courier-Life chain that Atlantic Yards wasn't "shovel-ready" and thus ineligible for federal stimulus money.

Also, in a letter (PDF) to Assemblyman Jim Brennan, Forest City Ratner Executive VP MaryAnne Gilmartin said no to the requests made by BrooklynSpeaks (and endorsed by him), essentially because they wouldn't be practical as the construction--as she assumes--begins in "mid-2009."

(It's not implausible that lawsuits could be cleared by the middle of the year. Some construction might begin. Other lawsuits are expected to be filed, though it's unclear whether they would stall work.)

ESDC backs off

The news came first in an article by the Courier-Life chain's Stephen Witt, who writes:
Separately, ESDC Communications director Warner Johnston backtracked on the agency’s comments made last week to this paper that the project would not be eligible for federal stimulus money because it wasn’t “shovel ready.”

“I am afraid that my office put out some inaccurate information regarding Atlantic Yards and whether it was shovel-ready. I take full responsibility and apologize,” Johnston wrote in an email.

“As we have stated in the past, the temporary suspension of work at Atlantic Yards is due to pending litigation. Once it has been resolved, work will continue. Stating that this site is not “shovel-ready” was inaccurate,” he added.

Johnston directed any further questions regarding federal monies to FCRC, which refused to comment.


The implication is that Atlantic Yards is in the mix for some sort of stimulus funds--likely to build the railyard that Forest City doesn't want to pay for.

Response to Brennan

Gilmartin, asked to stop further street closures, wrote that the developer "does not anticipate any street closures in the immediate future. When construction of the arena begins street closures will be required." (She doesn't say which streets, but Fifth Avenue between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue would be demapped, as would be Pacific Street from Fifth Avenue to Sixth Avenue.)

(BrooklynSpeaks sent its letter to Gov. David Paterson, who has not responded, as far as I know. Brennan wrote to FCR and ESDC.)

As for reopening the Carlton Avenue Bridge, Gilmartin wrote that its "demolition and reconstruction... is being coordinated with the construction of the new LIRR yard. Re-opening it is not practical or feasible, given the coordination issues, expense, and the fact that it will be put out of service again as soon as construction starts, which we expect to occur in mid-2009.”

As for the request to create interim open space on demolished sites, Gilmartin deemed it not practical “because we expect the land will be necessary to accommodate construction logistics and to meet other environmental commitments before the end of 2009.”

Construction schedule

So, how long would the project take? Gilmartin stuck to the ten-year schedule, with a big asterix.

“As you are aware, the project has been delayed by litigation," she wrote. "FCRC fully intends to build out the project in approximately ten years consistent with the schedule set forth in EIS [environmental impact statement] subject to financing and market conditions (albeit with a delayed start). Any official updates to the construction schedule will be made available to the public as soon as they are available."
(Emphasis added)

In other words, as Chuck Ratner of parent Forest City Enterprises has said, "we are terrible" at predicting when projects "go from idea to reality."

Comments

  1. While the ESDC and Forest City Ratner have repeatedly claimed that "the temporary suspension of work at Atlantic Yards is due to pending litigation," that is flatly untrue.

    The lawsuits hold no sway over work -- or the absence of it -- on the railyard portion of the project site. The demolition of the Carlton Avenue Bridge (which now rests half-deconstructed), for instance, could continue right now. That work is not encumbered in any way by any lawsuit.

    Why work has been suspended, and why the ESDC and FCRC feel a need to lie about it, is a mystery. Could it be because financially strapped Forest City doesn't have the money to proceed?

    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…

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…