Skip to main content

Video: a walk around the arena block footprint shows traffic, demolitions, and perspectives from a wide road and a low-rise neighborhood

Early in the afternoon on December 24 I took my camera to shoot some video (bottom) around the footprint slated for the arena block, the western third, more or less, of the site plan.

(December 22 photo of Atlantic Avenue at Fifth Avenue, looking east, by Tracy Collins.)

I wanted to see the new advertising signage erected by Forest City Ratner after the master closing and I wanted to see the impact of the new traffic plan, in which Fifth Avenue is limited to northbound traffic between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, and southbound traffic is diverted to Sixth Avenue.

Bottom line observations

My conclusion: on a high-traffic day, the traffic was pretty bad, with gridlock at Atlantic Avenues going into Fort Greene Place (the northern extension of Fifth Avenue between the Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls), though it was manageable with the help of traffic officers.

That's an interim condition, of course, because Fifth Avenue would be completely demapped, either compounding the problem or provoking new solutions.

(December 22 photo of Fifth Avenue below Atlantic Avenue, looking north, by Tracy Collins.)

Also, a walk around the block offers evidence that can be used by both project opponents and supporters. Yes, the southern border of the site is an intact, low-rise residential community, with houses less than 200 feet away, thus violating zoning, which is why the city's rules would be overridden by the Empire State Development Corporation, with the city's assent.

And the remaining parts of Dean Street, despite demolitions, attest to the residential character of the block--a reason why AY supporter Roger Green, then an Assemblyman, declared that the neighborhood was not blighted. Some of Pacific Street is still residential, but there have been many more demolitions of industrial buildings.

Then again, the completed demolitions have left empty lots that serve as an argument for building something. And the Vanderbilt Yard, at the northern border of the arena block, as well as the now cleared triangular block to the west of it, together border wide Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, could accommodate significant density.

For a look at the existing and demolished buildings, as well as some neighboring buildings, see Tracy Collins's collection.

(December 22 photo of Atlantic Avenue at Flatbush Avenue, looking east, by Tracy Collins.)

The route

My route began on Sixth Avenue just south of Flatbush Avenue, the area marked at the bottom right of the map, then proceeded to Dean Street, the next marking, then west to Flatbush, up to Atlantic, east to Sixth, and back down to Dean.

Note that the map derived from the site plan, at right, shows Fifth Avenue already demapped, though it hasn't happened yet. See Tracy Collins's map, below, part of his collection of AY maps.

Before the video, some notes

On Sixth Avenue between Bergen and Dean Streets, two row houses are for sale. One of the houses, on the southwest corner of Dean and Sixth, has been on the block for a while, but the other is newer to the market.

While the houses might be attractive, say, to someone wanting a pied a terre near the arena, the foot and auto traffic, if/when the arena is built, would make Sixth Avenue a much, much busier street.
'
Also note that, while Forest City Ratner has demolished two buildings across Dean Street east of Sixth Avenue, leading to construction trailers, the state has deferred plans for eminent domain on the three adjacent occupied row houses.

The Barclays Center signage is not wrapped around all the arena footprint block, just the western part of it, the triangle bounded by Fifth, Flatbush, and Atlantic avenues

The video is not continuous; I had to edit segments to fit it within the ten-minute limit set by YouTube.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…

Former ESDC CEO Lago returns to NYC to head City Planning Commission

Carl Weisbrod, Mayor Bill de Blasio's City Planning Commission Chairman and Director of the Department of City Planning, is resigning,

And he's being replaced by Marisa Lago, currently a federal official, but who Atlantic Yards-ologists remember as the short-term Empire State Development Corporation CEO who, in an impolitic but candid 2009 statement, acknowledged that the project would take "decades."

Still, Lago not long after that played the good soldier at a May 2009 Senate oversight hearing, justifying changes in the project but claiming the public benefits remained the same.

By returning to City Planning, Lago will join former ESDC General Counsel Anita Laremont, who after retiring from the state (and taking a pension) got the job with the city.

Back at planning

Lago, a lawyer, in 1983 began work as an aide to City Planning Chairman Herb Sturz, and later served as the General Counsel to the president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Weisbrod himself.