Skip to main content

Greening the planned surface parking lot? Maybe, maybe not, as Forest City says it's trying to shrink the capacity (and avoid stackers)

Can the enormous surface parking lot planned for the southeast block of the Atlantic Yards site be made smaller, greener, and more community friendly? Maybe, but Forest City Ratner isn't ready to make any promises.

Last week, at a meeting of the Transportation Focus Group, Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council suggested several improvement, notably interior landscaping, that would ensure that the parking lot meets the standards set forth in 2007 by the City Planning Commission. However, the project was approved in 2006, and the state overrides city zoning.

(Veconi points out that, when the General Project Plan was re-approved in 2009, it repeated the overrides from 2006, but did not justify or disclose an override of the recently-emerged surface parking design requirements. To allow such overrides to continue would suggest that future changes to Atlantic Yards would have to be evaluated in the regulatory context of 2006, no matter what changes in the city codes.)

The presentation, said Forest City's Jane Marshall yesterday at the bi-monthly Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet, "was very helpful," with a lot of good ideas. "Some may be achievable, some may be not."

She said that there will be landscaping, fencing, and drainage--and the lot will be set back four feet from property line.

"I understand the desire for people to have something fancy inside the lot, or something green inside the lot," Marshall said, somehow setting the city standard as "something fancy." She added, "As you know, we don't have to do that... It doesn't mean we don't think it's a great idea if we can do it. So we're considering all those ideas."

"If we cannot reduce the number of spaces, none of those inside ideas about landscaping are possible," said Marshall.

Under the project's original schedule, the lot was supposed to hold 900 spaces and last a handful of years, before it was replaced by an underground lot. However, it was increased to 1100 spaces and could last, at least in part, well over a decade.

Open questions: zoning, operator, stackers

James asked whether the lot was subject to city oversight. Marshall said no. "When the project was adopted, two things happened, zoning regulations regarding parking as well as well as bulk and use were overridden, and a set of design guidelines that were written by Amanda Burden were put into place."

Actually, Burden's department did not write the guidelines. They came from architect Frank Gehry's office.

Has an operator of the lot been designated? Not yet, said Marshall.

"The original GPP [General Project Plan] never anticipated 1100 cars parking on that site," James pointed out.

Marshall disagreed, saying that it "originally anticipated more than 1100 cars, because there would be a garage below grade."

That's a bit of apples and oranges. Yes, that site is ultimately supposed to house a larger underground parking facility. But originally it was supposed to have 944 cars over ground.

Will stackers be used?

"That's why we want to reduce the number of parking spaces," Marshall replied. In RFPs sent to potential operators, the latter are told there could be a range of spaces, up to 1100, and the latter would  require stackers. "We're trying everything we can to avoid that."

(Here's coverage in the New York Post.)

Demand management plan

Marshall added that Block 1129, and the bed of Pacific Street, will remain important for construction staging activities. "We hope we're coming back with a proposal to community, in May, not just for the parking lot but the other elements of demand management."

She said Forest City was in discussions with the New York City Transit Authority and Long Island Rail Road. "They are actively considering what would be good to support the arena," she said, adding, "and in May, we want to give you a full update on where we are with them." She said they'd also report onthe status of plans for offsite remote parking.

Comments

  1. I'm all for greener planning but as a local resident who is already challenged by the limited parking, I prefer that the stadium builds enough parking spaces to accommodate the visitors! This will also keep these crowds from disrupting the surrounding neighborhoods.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

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…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…

Former ESDC CEO Lago returns to NYC to head City Planning Commission

Carl Weisbrod, Mayor Bill de Blasio's City Planning Commission Chairman and Director of the Department of City Planning, is resigning,

And he's being replaced by Marisa Lago, currently a federal official, but who Atlantic Yards-ologists remember as the short-term Empire State Development Corporation CEO who, in an impolitic but candid 2009 statement, acknowledged that the project would take "decades."

Still, Lago not long after that played the good soldier at a May 2009 Senate oversight hearing, justifying changes in the project but claiming the public benefits remained the same.

By returning to City Planning, Lago will join former ESDC General Counsel Anita Laremont, who after retiring from the state (and taking a pension) got the job with the city.

Back at planning

Lago, a lawyer, in 1983 began work as an aide to City Planning Chairman Herb Sturz, and later served as the General Counsel to the president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Weisbrod himself.