Sunday, March 14, 2010

Big picture Daily News columnist shows almost as many blind spots on development as the "Big picture Mike" he criticizes

Daily News columnist Adam Lisberg casts a more-approving-than-not eye on the mayor in a column headlined Mayor Bloomberg likes the big picture, but he should keep an eye on the details, too:
Mayor Bloomberg loves to think big. The little things may need some attention.

He was in his element last week at the groundbreaking for the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn - thousands of jobs, billions of dollars (plus more than $200 million in public subsidies), shovels, hardhats, progress.

"It took a long time to get here, yes it did," Bloomberg said as protesters blew whistles outside. "But nobody's going to remember how long it took. They're only going to look and see that it was done. And we're going to make a big difference."
Well, is Atlantic Yards a "smart bet," as the caption to the accompanying photo suggests?

Clearly if the goal is to move a professional sports team to New York City. Otherwise, the New York City Independent Budget Office has warned that the arena would be a net loss for the city.

And the largest chunk of jobs would come from office space, for which, as I've pointed out time and again, there's no market. So, while Lisberg allows that projects like Atlantic Yards stomp on neighborhood haunts like Freddy's Bar & Backroom, he misses the big picture.

From Crain's

In fact, this week Crain's New York Business offers another warning, headlined Downtown Brooklyn losing its big edge: Falling Manhattan rents, less demand for space; all is well on the surface:
By year's end, that deal ranked not only as the largest deal of the year but as one of only three deals in downtown Brooklyn for a mere 30,000 square feet of space or more. The area's two largest commercial properties, 6.5 million-square-foot MetroTech Center and 725,000-square-foot 1 Pierrepont Plaza, each recorded one deal for 30,000 square feet.

Much like New York's other traditional overflow market—the Jersey waterfront—downtown Brooklyn is suffering from not one but two setbacks. It has seen a huge dulling of its competitive edge as it competes with vastly lowered Manhattan rents, and it has seen tenants of all types and tastes reduce their space needs in response to the recession. What's more, those setbacks come at a time when several major developers are weighing plans for new office buildings—led by Forest City Ratner Cos.' plans for a vast commercial/residential project at the edge of downtown Brooklyn at Atlantic Yards, which had been mothballed for two years.

“It's hard to see who would have an appetite for large chunks of office space in downtown Brooklyn,” says Marisa Manley, president of Commercial Tenant Real Estate Representation.
Remember, it was Bruce Ratner who told Crain's last November: “Can you tell me when we are going to need a new office tower?”

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