Skip to main content

How many jobs, really? ESDC quietly added nearly 4000 construction job-years between June and September

So, how many jobs would there be at the Atlantic Yards project?

The numbers are confusing, as the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) in September significantly changed its projection on construction jobs without explaining exactly why. And Forest City Ratner, in its most recent press release, has doubled the number of permanent jobs projected.

Construction jobs

For years, Forest City Ratner said there'd be 15,000 construction jobs, which actually meant 15,000 job-years, or 1500 jobs a year over a decade.

Of course, if the project takes longer than the promised decade--which, if it is built, seems a good bet--there'd be fewer jobs per year.

The ESDC, in its July 2006 General Project Plan, estimated 15,344 new direct job years and 26,803 total job years (direct, indirect and induced).

But the numbers have kept changing, and we don't have backing information. And if you read recent legal papers, it would be easy to get confused.

From the ESDC's MGPP

Here's the ESDC's June 2009 Modified General Project Plan (MGPP), also cited in an MTA affidavit in the recent case challenging the approval of the revised Vanderbilt Yard deal.

The same numbers--12,568 new direct job years and 21,796 total job years--were in the the December 2006 MGPP. In other words, the estimates weren't updated in more than two-and-a-half years. (Click on all graphics to enlarge.)


From the MTA

In recent legal papers, the MTA stated more generally that the ESDC estimated it would generate more than 10,000 new, direct job years and more than 20,000 in total.

From the ESDC

But the 9/17/09 ESDC board memo, distributed on the day the project was reapproved, stated that construction would generate more jobs: 16,427 new direct job years and 25,133 total job years (direct, indirect and induced):

Why did the numbers change? The ESDC stated:
The new projections result from changes in estimated Project revenues, a significant increase in the Project budget based on more current information, revisions to the ESDC model used to predict job creation and fiscal benefits (some of these changes reflect the impact of the economic recession, such as changes in wage rates) and additional information with respect to Project costs and subsidies.
Does that explain the increase of nearly 4000 construction job-years? Not exactly.

More importantly, in the 2006 analysis, the ESDC calculated not only total tax revenues (nearly $1.4 billion) over 30 years, in present value, but net tax revenues of $944.2 million "in excess of the public contribution to the project." In the 2009 analysis, the ESDC omitted a net tax revenue figure.

From FCR

In its response in the lawsuit challenging the ESDC approval, Forest City Ratner used those updated numbers--16,427 job years--as it did in its response in the lawsuit challenging the MTA deal.


FCR press release

Those numbers were distorted somewhat in Forest City Ratner's press release last week after the master closing. The developer stated:
Atlantic Yards will create close to 17,000 union construction jobs, as well as 8,000 permanent jobs once the project is complete.
While I initially thought the figure of 17,000 construction jobs was way off base, given the longstanding estimate of 12,568 job years, it's not as far off base. Still, it should be job years, not jobs. And 16,427 is not "close to 17,000;" rather, it's closer to 16,000.

Also, the claim of 8000 permanent jobs is bogus. Remember, the ESDC memo and FCR legal memo both claim 3998 jobs in New York City and 4277 jobs in New York State, inclusive of New York City. Whoever wrote the press release apparently added those two figures together.

ESDC stays fuzzy

In its legal answer in the suit challenging project approval, the ESDC steered clear of definitive numbers, claiming "thousands of construction jobs." Maybe the ESDC's lawyers know how fuzzy the numbers are.

Comments

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…