Skip to main content

Would you believe it? Thompson likes Battery Park City (but has ignored the UNITY plan)

Guess what? Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, according to a report in the New York Observer on a speech he gave Thursday, suggests that Battery Park City provides a better model for real estate development than the Bloomberg administration’s mega-projects.

The reason: at Battery Park City, each parcel was developed separately. (I'd add that the park space came first, not in the second phase, as with the Atlantic Yards plan.)

Of course, the UNITY plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard--the key public land within the Atlantic Yards footprint--would do just that, but Thompson has never acknowledged it.

Pros and cons

The Observer's Eliot Brown weighs the pros and cons:
Giving a big site to a single developer all at once—such as the 22-acre, $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project—could bring a higher bid given, among other reasons, that the developer would benefit from economies of scale and increased values as it fills out the site. But, as has been seen in these strained times, these projects are also quite prone to failure or renegotiation as the developers struggle to get off the ground amid the cyclical economy.

While one site per development could bring a higher bid, in the case of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard, the initial cash bid from Forest City Ratner was well below both the bid from rival Extell, which itself was well below the appraised value.

The MTA, under political pressure, agreed to negotiate only with Forest City Ratner. And--as hinted by Brown--this June the MTA, under political pressure, agreed to renegotiate the deal on terms more favorable to the developer.

Comments

  1. (Comment on the Eliot Brown Story: Multiple Parcels Should Actually Increase Developer Bids)

    We agree that the Battery Park City model of dividing up large development into separate parcels is the best way to go. Yes it allows for staged development which can be good, but, when appropriate, it also allows for multiple parcels to go forward simultaneously notwithstanding the fact that a single developer would not have the wherewithal to proceed on multiple fronts at the same time. (For instance the city was getting strong advice not to try to advance the new phases of Queens West as a single-developer site given this kind of incapacity.- Queens West had already wound up delayed already under the Bloomberg administration due to the Bloomberg/Doctoroff preoccupation with the Olympics bid.)

    There is one thing in this post, that we think misleads in the impression it coneys: “Giving a big site to a single developer all at once—such as the 22-acre, $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project—could bring a higher bid given, among other reasons, that the developer would benefit from economies of scale and increased values as it fills out the site.”- -

    - - We think that it need to be understood that `giving a big site to a single developer all at once—such as the 22-acre, $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project’—could bring a MUCH LOWER bid.

    No doubt everyone has heard the expressions “You didn’t pay retail for that, did you?” and “I can get it for you wholesale.” Suffice it to say, retailing sales, RAISES the prices a seller can charge. Furthermore, dividing huge sites into multiple parcels increases the number of capable bidders in the game and that raises the price the government will receive. Another benefit is that it mitigates risk for the government allowing for more flexible Plan Bs (and Cs). Finally, when it comes to sites as large as Atlantic Yards there aren’t actually any economies of scale for the developer because you’re way past the point where they max out and developers never gear up to that scale.

    If there were, in fact, actually economies of scale you would see it in developers putting out the highest bid for multiple parcels all at once or on a running basis. That didn’t happen at Battery Park City although some developers did bid successfully to build more than one site.

    Government also ought to feel chagrined if it wholesales megadevelopments to (no-bid or low-bid) developers like Forest City Ratner and then those developers then retail out sub-parcels to other developers at a marked-up price. This is something we may see at the West Side’s Hudson Yards.

    Not mentioned above is that single-developer development produces listless monoculture and monopoly.

    Michael D. D. White
    Noticing New York
    http://noticingnewyork.blogspot.com/

    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…