Skip to main content

The slow buildout at Battery Park City, according to the ESDC, serves as an acceptable example for Atlantic Yards. Except it doesn't.

So what do the attorneys for the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) say when faced with legal papers expressing dismay about potential 25 years of construction in Prospect Heights rather than the announced and promised ten years?

They say it would be unimportant, and point to the example of Battery Park City--even though the latter is more than four times as large, with several other key contrasts.

The statement comes in a motion (below) arguing that Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman should not reopen the case in which she dismissed a challenge to the ESDC's 2009 approval of the Modified General Project Plan, though she criticized the ESDC’s “deplorable lack of transparency."

Would AY buildout be like Battery Park City?

One of the key issues is whether it was reasonable for the ESDC to assume a ten-year timetable for the project and thus evaluate environmental impacts based on that scenario, an issue seemingly belied by the Development Agreement that sets 25 years as an outside date. (I'll discuss more of the arguments in another post,)

The ESDC motion states:
The project site is quite large--7 1/3 City blocks. If construction were to be delayed so that, for example, only one building at a time is to be erected across the project site, then the intensity of the construction activity would be greatly reduced, compared to the construction impacts analysis presented in the FEIS....

Petitioners' essential contention--that decades of construction would overwhelm the local area--ignores the fact that construction of the 17-building Project on an extended schedule would be episodic rather than continuous, with each building built on a modular basis... Battery Park City in Manhattan has seen buildings constructed over many decades, as part of a master development plan, but it is generally thought to be a desirable place to live, work, recreate, and go to school.
The truth about Battery Park City

Battery Park City is 92 acres, more than four time the 22-acre Atlantic Yards site, so the impact of staged development has been more attenuated.

It was built on a landfill, with no established neighborhood and longstanding street grid.

At Battery Park City, large portions of the 36 acres of open space were built first, while with Atlantic Yards, the buildings would come first.

Battery Park City involves multiple developers and multiple parcels, rather than a single developer controlling one site, choosing to move forward as it sees fit, with light penalties and many excuses for delay.

Will it make a difference?

These points about Battery Park City, I'll note, do not appear in the response papers filed by the attorneys for the two coalitions (led by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and BrooklynSpeaks, respectively) challenging the ESDC project approval.

Perhaps Justice Friedman knows better.
ESDC Memorandum of Law in Opposition to the Motions to Reargue and Renew case challenging 2009 MGPP

Comments

  1. Some other distinctions not mentioned (whether they are implied or not):

    * The many multiple developers of Battery Park City also had to BID for the sites they were developing. The sites were put out to bid when the government wanted them developed and project readiness was a factor in the process so the public was getting what it specified it wanted in nearly immediate real-time terms. The public also gets TOP price by bidding out a prepared site bid out among multiple developers raring and ready to go as opposed to having to take the STEEP DISCOUNT for the land subjected to the presupposition that Forest City Ratner should get monopoly rights on property decades before being ready to proceed.

    * As we previously pointed out, if all these acres were not already being handed to Forest City Ratner as a single-developer megadevelopment, the government could be putting people to work right now in the slow economy to prepare the site with infrastructure (including open space, if the design included any) just as was done at Battery park City. (See: Tuesday, April 27, 2010, Surprised? MTA Restructures the Hudson Yards Deal; Developer Cherry Picks More Benefit While Public Keeps the Risk.)

    http://noticingnewyork.blogspot.com/2010/04/surprised-mta-restructures-hudson-yards.html

    * At Battery Parck City eminent domain abuse (and pretext of blight) was not being used to quash other naturally occurring, ongoing competing and desirable development.

    * Lastly, a distinction nobody thinks about: In the case of Battery Park City the developer(s) selected for the sites to go forward did not own other immediately adjacent developable sites (outside the formally designated project) which will now lie fallow and undeveloped for many decades because of the preferential deal (like what is being given to Ratner) that helps Ratner wipe out competition from neighboring property. Remember that, together with property that Ratner previously acquired for development from the government, Ratner owns and controls 30 contiguous acres of development rights on which he intends to have 20 towers, plus his malls plus his arena when (in forty or so years) he is done. (See: Wednesday, April 28, 2010, Schumer Says Atlantic Yards Area Is Not Blighted. Doesn’t See AY As A Ratner Mega-Monopoly, But Could His Support Wane?.)

    http://noticingnewyork.blogspot.com/2010/04/schumer-says-atlantic-yards-area-is-not.html


    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…

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…

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…