Skip to main content

The Russian connection: reason for celebration or dismay? Has Marty been rendered "oddly silent"?

Is the Russian connection--the purchase of the Nets by Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov--a good thing? Would it help bring new fans to the team? It depends on whom you ask.

Let's put aside the presumed improvement in the team roster that would result from an owner with deep pockets and genuine interest in basketball. Let's just look at the immediate reaction to Prokhorov.

"Big explosion" leading to new fan base?

According to the Courier-Life:
Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny, who represents Brighton Beach and Coney Island, and is a Russian-American immigrant, said the sale will probably trigger a big explosion in the local Russian media resulting in more Russian-Americans going to Nets games.

Do people really attend because of the owner?

NLG added: Just like the "big explosion" in Chinese-American Nets fans after the team signed Yi Jianlian?

With Yi, at least, the Nets could (and did) try to reach out to a new fan base. This seems more iffy.

Some pushback

The AP (via Newsday) added another note of skepticism:
Brooklyn's famed Russian enclave of Brighton Beach is only a few miles from the proposed arena, but for many Russian emigrants Prokhorov symbolizes everything wrong in their homeland — a smooth operator who made a fortune when Russia sold off its state industrial treasures for a song.

The Times reported dismay back home:
The purchase has already angered some in Russia, who say Prokhorov’s cash would be better invested at home. In fact, the women’s CSKA team recently announced that it could soon face bankruptcy.

Markowitz embarrassed?

The New York Post suggested Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, usually quick to offer a statement in support of the project's twists and turns, isn't so happy:
He's been the biggest booster of the controversial Atlantic Yards project that includes bringing the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn, but Borough President Marty Markowitz has been oddly silent since a Russian billionaire swooped in to try and save the project this week.

Political operatives close to Markowitz say he's red-faced over developer Bruce Ratner's plans to sell a majority stake in the NBA's Nets to Mikhail Prokhorov. The 44-year-old playboy would also finance the project's long-stalled arena, and potentially salvage the residential and commercial portions of Atlantic Yards.

"It's a combination of anger and embarrassment," said one operative. "He signed on to a magnificent Frank Gehry-designed Brooklyn palace in the sky, and now he's got a foreign-owned big hole in the ground."


Well, if there's an arena, there wouldn't be a "big hole in the ground right there" and, frankly, whoever's the owner of the team and AY would accompany decades of interim surface parking.

Daily News endorsement

The New York Daily News, the most reliable editorial voice in favor of the project, echoed statements by Forest City Ratner CEO Bruce Ratner and Mayor Mike Bloomberg that this business deal somehow represents "confidence" in New York and Brooklyn, opining:
Know where they have confidence in New York as a can-do town with grand ambitions? Moscow, that's where.

And know where they have the cash to make things happen in the capital of capitalism? Right. Moscow.

So along comes Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia's 44-year-old richest man, to buy the NBA Nets, move them to Brooklyn and jump-start the critically needed Atlantic Yards development.

As humbling as it is that New Yorkers are too busted to get the job done alone, a hearty dobro pozhalovat - "welcome" - to this 6-foot-9 basketball fan who, with a reported worth of $9.5 billion, could have pockets deep enough to rival Michael Bloomberg's.


New Yorkers aren't too busted, they're just too wary. Prokhorov wants to get some money out of the country and gain an entree into the NBA.

Comments

  1. the deal represent Prokhorov confidence he could own an NBA team for a song, and Ratner's confidence that he had better drop the team and its losses before his clan in Cleveland tosses completely under the bus.

    we don't need a Russian billionaire in Brooklyn for confidence. confidence we got. Ratner and Prokhorov are the ones who need it.

    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…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …

"There is no alternative": DM Glen on de Blasio's affordable housing strategy

As I've written, Mayor Bill de Blasio sure knows how to steer and spin coverage of his affordable housing initiatives.

Indeed, his latest announcement, claiming significant progress, came with a pre-press release op-ed in the New York Daily News and then a friendly photo-op press conference with an understandably grateful--and very lucky--winner of an affordable housing lottery.

To me, though, the most significant quote came from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
said public housing had been “starved” of federal support for years now, leaving the city with fewer ways of creating affordable housing. “Are we relying too heavily on the private sector?” she said. “There is no alternative.” Though Glen was using what she surely sees as a common-sense phrase, it recalls the slogan of a politician with whom I doubt de Blasio identifies: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative who believed in free markets.

It suggests the limits to …