Skip to main content

Ratner, in Times Sports section portrait, admits, “when a developer speaks it’s not always believed”

A one-source New York Times Sports section portrait of Bruce Ratner, headlined Ratner Content to Succeed in the Shadows, offers the message that Ratner still can make a bunch of money from Atlantic Yards:
As the owner of 55 percent of the planned arena, Ratner will have a sizable stake in what could become a fascinating battlefront — downtown Brooklyn against Midtown Manhattan, or the Barclays Center versus Madison Square Garden.
(Bonus: the photo by Richard Perry shot from the top of the Ratner's Atlantic Center Mall is very similar to the shot by Ruby Washington the Times ran 9/10/08, below.)

Defensive Bruce

Ratner sounds a tad defensive:
“There’s a bittersweet feeling in having a majority owner in Brooklyn not be us,” he said, acknowledging his many critics will scoff because “when a developer speaks it’s not always believed.”
Maybe there's good reason for that. The chairpersons of three community boards criticized Forest City Ratner for "overstating" the CBs participation in "crafting" the Community Benefits Agreement.

Forest City Ratner told prospective renters that half the affordable units--rather than half the square footage--would be two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.

Or the $6 billion lie.

Or the no-towers brochure.

The list could go on.

Civic venture?

The article continues:
Ratner conceded that he would continue to be assailed as a franchise snatcher and team destroyer, all for the sole purpose of constructing a small city of residential towers, while insisting that bringing a major professional sports team back to Brooklyn was always his first priority. The residential component, he said, was necessary to finance an arena on a railyards site that was going to require extraordinary infrastructure costs the city would not incur.
Ratner last month told radio host John Gambling that Atlantic Yards was more of a civic venture, really."

That's very, very doubtful.

Remember, Chuck Ratner, CEO of parent Forest City Enterprises (and Bruce Ratner's cousin), on 9/9/05 told investment analysts: I will confess that it was less than two or three years ago we were sitting around in New York wondering where the next deals were going to come from. We had finished a whole bunch of office and we completed MetroTech and we didn't have the next great site in Brooklyn. That was one of the reasons we got so aggressive and creative, Bruce and his team did in this Atlantic Yards project. We saw that land sitting there for this last 10 years, realizing it would be a great opportunity if somebody could turn it on.

Sure, development was needed to finance the project but Bruce Ratner left out such things as the giveaway of arena naming rights (worth more than $200 million), a non-competitive deal for the Vanderbilt Yard (and then a sweetheart renegotiation), subsidies for land ($131 million), and the advantage of eminent domain.

FCR and the IBO

It's worth taking another look at Forest City Ratner's response last September to the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO) report that found a net loss to the city from the arena.

(It found a modest net gain to the state, though it ignored the giveaway of arena naming rights. Here's the IBO's response to the Empire State Development Corporation.)

The Times reported that Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco said in a statement:
The Independent Budget Office’s analysis is wrong. Their assumptions are widely off mark, including for sales and other tax revenues. Also they are conveniently applying the state and city subsidies to the arena while ignoring the benefits of the larger project. A large portion of the public benefits are also realized through the development of the housing, office and other uses, creating jobs and tax revenues to both the city and the state.
I commented:
Keep in mind that, in 2005, Forest City Ratner had no problem with the IBO’s methodology, praising it for concluding that the arena was a “win-win” situation for the city and the state.
Indeed, as the graphic from the defunct AtlanticYards.com page shows, Forest City Ratner was happy to list the IBO study without any criticism.

Also note that sports economist Andrew Zimbalist was described as an "independent expert," rather than a paid consultant, the man responsible for the $6 billion lie--and who has been significantly discredited in recent court cases.

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…

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…

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…

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…