Monday, July 18, 2011

An unsigned defense of Yormark (and criticism of me) in Arena Digest

 An unsigned 7/17/11 article in Arena Digest, Debate continues over new Nets arena, is surely written (or influenced) by the pseudonymous NetIncome (aka Bobbo), the dyspeptic and prolific main contributor to NetsDaily.

The article purports to be a summary but bears a project-affectionate slant, with a few digs at me.

A "matter of process"

It begins:
The new Brooklyn arena for the relocating New Jersey Nets (NBA) continues to generate controversy; community activists opposing Atlantic Yards won a court decision but failed to persuade a judge to stop construction on Barclays Center.
...However, she did not halt construction on the first phase of the project, nor did she halt progress on the second phase, which will include surface parking and more.
...really the win in court last week was more a matter of process being reviewed than any decision on the merits of the project.
Winning the court decision is pretty significant without having to stop arena construction, which was unlikely. Surface parking is part of Phase 1.

And the case was never about the merits of the project, it was about whether the environmental review was sufficient. The judge said it wasn't--a highly unusual intervention.

Reviews in the press

After quoting from some Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) statements, the article continues:
Meanwhile, the arena continues to garner good reviews in the press, including this latest one from the New York Daily News, which drew an apoplectic response from arena opponent Norman Oder. (He also took aim at a Crain's New York article here.) 
An editorial from the Daily News, which has always cheerleaded for Atlantic Yards, is hardly a "review." As I told the newspaper in a letter:
Remember Daniel Patrick Moynihan's observation, "You are entitled to your own opinion; you are not entitled to your own facts."
Note that my response gets tagged as "apoplectic," while the editorial doesn't get tagged as "ignorant."

Criticizing me

The article continues:
And it's probably time for Oder and DDDB to back off: to argue that a development today should be guided by a master plan from 2006 -- when the economic climate was dramatically different -- is to be ignorant of the realities of business. Oder, in particular, shows a lack of understanding of the economics of arenas these days versus three years ago.
For instance: when Barclays Center was first planned, traditional arena design was less open and stressed three kinds of seating: suites, club and general. That model has been blown up in recent years, as the trend has been toward many more levels of offers: besides the traditional club and general seating, arena designers have been scaling back on generic suites and implemented suites of different capacities as well as larger party and group areas. Oder takes a shot at Barclays Center for offering 30 fewer suites than originally planned three years ago, but that's just a smart response to the changing marketplace.
Actually, I wrote:
And the "Loft suites" are not simply a way to compete with MSG; they're a recognition that the market for suites has changed.
I didn't take a shot at Barclays for offering 30 fewer suites; I questioned Brett Yormark's triumphant self-reporting that the arena "is having no trouble meeting its preliminary goals," given that the goals have changed.

Note that Yormark won't announce sales of season tickets, nor be precise about suite sales.

Guided by 2006

Look again at this Arena Digest statement:
to argue that a development today should be guided by a master plan from 2006 -- when the economic climate was dramatically different -- is to be ignorant of the realities of business. 
That statement, while aimed at me, actually reflects the recent court case. Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development, in their legal arguments, continued to insist that Atlantic Yards would be finished in ten years, as initially approved in 2006.

State Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman, who looked at other documents, including a belatedly released Development Agreement, said that relying on a ten-year buildout "lacked a rational basis and was arbitrary and capricious."

Ellerbe Becket's new name

The article notes:
And Oder may want to note Ellerbe Becket doesn't exist anymore; it now practices as AECOM.
OK, but the point is that Crain's credited SHoP, the "façade architect", for the arena, a more significant error.

1 comment:

  1. Bobbo should sign his name as Bob Windrem.