Skip to main content

Elected officials shocked, shocked at changes in AY; DePlasco, Daughtry maintain talking points

A couple of elected officials who wouldn't mind a little press coverage are shocked, shocked by changes in Atlantic Yards.

An article in the Daily News, headlined Atlantic Yards beginning to look like pie in Brooklyn sky for pols, states:
Five and a half years later, a state agency's recent vote to adopt a plan for a new Nets arena and 16 towers - which will take longer, cost more, and look radically different than the original - has left [Assemblyman Hakeem] Jeffries and some other officials disillusioned.

"The way in which the project was sold is dramatically different than the one in which the developer appears prepared to deliver," he said. "The promises made by this developer have disappeared like a house of cards."

...Ratner still promises 2,250 units of affordable housing, but critics doubt it will ever happen.

City Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn) said he always thought the towers were too big, but supported the arena because he was "excited about a professional basketball team in Brooklyn and an architecturally significant arena."

He soured on that as it became clear taxpayers would end up footing much of the bill.

"The MTA changing the deal just added insult to injury," he said. "This was already a bad deal for taxpayers and now it's an appallingly bad deal."


Changes long evident

Beginning? The Daily News article doesn't actually explain that the project was long promised to take ten years, a dubious assertion maintained by the Empire State Development Corporation and, most notably in the pages of the Daily News itself, by developer Bruce Ratner.

Well, the State and City Funding Agreements signed in September 2007--which surfaced in the spring of 2008-- provided no timetable for Phase 2 and allowed the developer 12 years (after the delivery of property via eminent domain) to build a smaller Phase 1, with only 300 affordable units.

In other words, the changes in the plan have long been evident.

Now there's a 25-year timetable for Phase 2, though it's not guaranteed either.

Defenders say

The article quotes a defender:
The Rev. Herbert Daughtry of the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance said he still backs the project because Ratner will provide jobs, a health center and money for a community foundation.

He acknowledged it's not what it once was.

"Everybody wishes it would be what was originally planned, but given the realities the project had to face, it's a wonder that it's still there," he said. "I think it's the best we can do at this point."


But when, Rev. Daughtry, and how much? And how much does his organization get from Ratner?

The article closes with this assertion:
Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco said all the promised jobs and affordable housing will be delivered.

If it's not legally required, and it's not, the paid flack DePlasco can say whatever he wants. Remember, he's the guy who once said, “There’s no reason to think the team is not moving to Brooklyn for the 2007 season."

Who's missing

Missing from the article are two elected officials who have posed more substantive questions: both Assemblyman Jim Brennan and state Senator Bill Perkins have questioned the legal authority of the MTA to renegotiate its deal with Forest City Ratner. And those questions may be answered in court.

Jeffries didn't show up (or send a rep) at either of the MTA meetings when the deal was considered in June. Yassky did attend the June 24 hearing, but arrived late enough to speak last, rather than with Brennan, Perkins (via a rep), and City Council Member Letitia James.

What's missing

Also missing is an acknowledgment that the Independent Budget Office now estimates that the arena is a money-loser for the city--and that the IBO is supposed to be conducting an expanded cost-benefit analysis.

Comments

  1. two glaringly obvious issues of litigation for dddb:

    prior to the recent renegotiation with ratner, neither the mta or the esdc tested the market for new developers of the a.y. site, thereby violating their fiduciary responsibilities to the people of new york

    and

    the unnecessary & arbitrary 48-hour deadline given to state officials to review the renegotiation of the a.y. general plan did not allow for serious analysis & consideration of all the details involved ... as the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and 48 hours is nowhere near enough time to review them all

    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…

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…