Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The DBP's "Downtown Development Story" and the Atlantic Yards asterisk

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle's Dennis Holt, in a "news analysis" column headlined Partnership’s Report Details Downtown’s Development Story, touches on but misses the misleading part of the story:
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has been publishing its own "scorecard" for sometime now -- the record of development plans or achievements in Downtown Brooklyn.

...Of the capital funds that have been allocated, funding for now-finished projects has taken up 20.7 percent. Of the residential units, 30.8 percent are completed. Of the 22.8 million square feet of projects to be built, 24 percent have been done. Apartment buildings have made up most of the completed projects.

Looking at this new statistical method, one very important element leaps out at you: How the Atlantic Yards project dominates the Downtown Brooklyn numbers. For example, of all the cost estimates, the Yards account for 41 percent of the total. About 44 percent of the new residential units are for Atlantic Yards, and the entire Yards site takes up almost 38 percent of all the space.
AY doubts

Holt acknowledges that "no one really knows right now" how many of the announced 6430 apartments would be built" and thus that, without the AY figures, the numbers under planning don't seem so impressive.

Still, he concludes by accepting the DBP's figures:
The Partnership's new score card is thus a very useful format, and tells the story of the building of a new Downtown Brooklyn in a more meaningful manner. The totals are impressive. They include $9.7 billion spent to create 22,615,000 new square feet of built space, and 14,481 new housing units.
But there's no assurance that figure is being spent or will be spent. Remember, only 24% of that square footage has been built.

And wouldn't it have been "very useful" to acknowledge that the DBP's map (above) of Downtown Brooklyn can't even accommodate the Atlantic Yards site?

That would be an acknowledgment that the site was not part of the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning and would extend the neighborhood's boundaries into Prospect Heights.

More confusion

An article from Brooklyn Business Trends on Downtown Brooklyn's success, headlined Fortuitous timing, is also confusing:
The success of Oro Condominiums, located on Gold Street, is living proof that the demand is there. Since Rose Associates took over the sales for the 303-unit building in September, re-pricing and re-marketing the property, the sales rate has increased from 30 percent occupied to 50 percent occupied.

Edward Azaria, manager of sales for Rose Associates, said the complex has seen success because it reacted to the market so quickly and because the product has stayed true to what the developer promised.

“The product has been true to the promise,” he said. “We’re pricing them (the units) where they should be priced, and we’re not moving too much around in the negotiation.”
Hold on. If the product "has been true to the promise," then for a while, it had not been true, since prices were lowered to sell more units.

And if they're "not moving too much around in the negotiation," that's because they've already moved down in price.

Here's some more history on the Oro condos, whose alleged success as of August 2009 was cited in a deceptive KPMG report for the Empire State Development Corporation.

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