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Showing posts from April, 2012

How many full-time jobs at the Barclays Center? Not 150-200, as announced four days ago, but just 105, as explained in Community Board presentation

At the April 26 press conference on a promised 2000 jobs at the Barclays Center, officials said that 150-200 of the jobs would be full-time.

In fact, the New York Daily News reported that "some 90%" would be part-time, indicating approximately 200 full-time jobs, and the New York Post reported 200 full-time jobs.

Actually, according to a presentation prepared by Forest City Ratner and delivered tonight to a committee of Community Board 6, the company estimates only 105 full-time jobs, plus 1901 part-time jobs.

Even if the numbers are approximate, that's a dramatic difference.

Some of the CB members were cordially inquisitive during the lightly attended meeting, given the board's experience with promises from Ikea. But nobody brought up the discrepancy between the numbers in the presentation and the numbers mentioned last week.

Update

Bruce Ratner said at the press conference: "About 90 percent, up to 1800, 1900 are part-time" jobs, with schedules "up t…

At the "the brand identity launch of the Brooklyn Nets": new merchandise, global reach, "Community Week," and the continued invocation of Jay-Z

It was about Brooklyn, but it was, of course, about business: logos, t-shirts, hats, and other Brooklyn Nets merchandise at the Modell's across from the in-construction Barclays Center arena.

In a press conference/pep rally this morning, before the press and Nets-related staffers, MC David Diamante introduced what he called "the brand identity launch of the Brooklyn Nets."

The black-and-white logos had already emerged, though other "secondary marks" were new, such as the "Brownstone Ballers, "Brooklyn's Finest," and "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" shirts.

And yes, while the Nets also introduced some warm-n-fuzzy Community Week events, more important was the worldwide publicity, accentuated by NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.

He declared, "We're very excited to take Brooklyn and bring it to 215 countries around the world. We couldn't be more excited about the Jay-Z-inspired and -designed black-and-white logo, which we think …

PHNDC asks Cuomo, Bloomberg to stop construction of arena parking lot before public input, notes plans have been delayed for nearly six months

In a last-minute effort, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC) sent a letter today to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Mike Bloomberg asking them to suspend construction tomorrow of a planned arena patron surface parking lot on the southeast block of the project, bounded by Vanderbilt Avenue, Carlton Avenue, Dean Street and Pacific Street.

The organization includes several block and neighborhood organizations in Prospect Heights.

The issues include City Planning standards; storm water drainage; curb cuts; and the role of stackers or multi-story parking--and the continued delays regarding plans for the lot.

Continued delays

The letter notes that plans have delayed repeatedly:
Representatives of the Empire State Development Corporation [ESDC] and Forest City Ratner Companies originally stated that plans for the lot would be provided in December 2011 and that there would be a period of community review and comment. We have recently been notified construction of the surf…

Hello Brooklyn! Branding proceeds! Brooklyn Nets ballcaps cost $26

I'll have a lot more from the Brooklyn Nets' branding event later, but first, a fundamental fact: ballcaps at Modell's cost $26.




Reporter tests route from Jersey to Brooklyn; results may vary after arena opens

The (Bergen) Record's John Brennan decided to test the route from longtime New Jersey Nets territory to the team's new home in Brooklyn.

Turns out that, after leaving at 5:10 pm from Paramus, he and a photographer managed to make it to Brooklyn, park, and be outside the arena at 6:30 pm—"a full hour before our imaginary tipoff and, frankly, a lot sooner than we expected."

He recognized, however, several caveats:
traffic will be a lot worse on a real game nightparking costs will risethe "4,400 spaces" that the Nets say are within an “8 to 10 block radius” of the arena may be filled by others. I'd add that the team has not exactly identified those spaces, as the long-promised Transportation Demand Management plan has been delayed yet again, until May 22.
Brennan noted that public transportation would take less than 90 minutes each way. Right now, that looks more costly--$12.50 each, plus $7 for parking--but I suspect it would be cheaper after parking price…

Yormark: Jay-Z is "creator" of new logo; promotional video claims "neighborhood is family and loyalty never goes away"

Jay-Z, apparently is the "author" and "creator" of the new Nets' logos, Brett Yormark, CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center, told CNBC's Darren Rovell in a live interview.

I wouldn't bet that the hip-hop star/entrepreneur/producer/"cultural icon" really drew it up, rather than helped choose from competing suggestions. Yormark called the black-and-white motif a major change from the red, white, and blue of the previous logo, and noted it was the only black-and-white one in the league.

One logo is a shield containing a basketball and the letter "B." The other is a circle with a "B" on a basketball, ringed by "Brooklyn" and "New York." (Yes, they're selling a lot of gear, as shown in the picture below right, from the Brooklyn Nets Twitter account.)

Yormark, asked by Rovell about principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov's promise of a championship in five years, pivoted and said suites had sold …

Mike Bloomberg: It's "education inequality," not "income inequality" (Really?)

Mike Bloomberg is a brilliantly successful businessman, who tends not to dither making decisions. As mayor, such certainties have served him both well and poorly.

Indeed, he is a man so suffused with confidence that he could say, as he did April 26 at the Barclays Center press conference, that the arena was built for hockey, even though exactly the opposite is true. Or, choosing not to know--or find out--how many full-time equivalent jobs would be provided by the 2000 arena jobs promised, he got testy, rather than answer a reasonable question.

Bloomberg on inequality

And Bloomberg could offer a theory about inequality in this country, one that certainly would become controversial should he follow the entreaties of columnist Thomas Friedman and reconsider running for president as an independent.

"Will the people without a great skill-set have jobs that are high-paying?" Bloomberg soliloquized at the press conference, responding to questions about low-wage jobs. "Probably …

Brand identity: filling the empty vessel of the Brooklyn Nets "sports entertainment corporation" with new logo and colors

The Brooklyn Nets are set to unveil their new logo and colors at 10 am Monday, according to the Star-Ledger.

The location?

Ironically enough, the Modell's Sporting Goods store opposite the Barclays Center arena and Atlantic Terminal mall, on a plot of land known as Site 5 that is destined to be part of the Atlantic Yards project, housing a 25-story building that would displace Modell's and its neighbor, P.C. Richard.

That logo would fill the shield outlined in the #HelloBrooklyn campaign that began earlier in the week.

And as Deadspin and later Gothamist reported, the logo has leaked, emphasizing the name "Nets" with a "B" superimposed over a basketball.

It's a big deal in this Sports world, this big reveal, and big deal in Brooklyn. People are buying #HelloBrooklyn merch, and surely Nets caps and t-shirts will begin selling, to Brooklynites and wannabes, especially when pushed by trend-setters like Jay-Z. (What, principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov won…

North Flatbush BID: No Hooters on Flatbush Avenue

A tweet from the North Flatbush Business Improvement District: Hooters is still trying, I suspect, but the major landowners on North Flatbush, notably the Pintchik family of Pintchik Hardware, are not buying it.

Ratner, Bloomberg provoke little skepticism about "2,000 jobs" announcement; recruitment efforts begin next week; Ratner admits more potential delay on first building

The press conference yesterday regarding jobs (press release) at the Barclays Center was mostly a success for Mayor Mike Bloomberg and developer Bruce Ratner, whom the mayor referred to as "a neighbor of mine, a friend of mine."

First, many media outlets provided the understandably dramatic visuals of the structure, as shown in the first video below that I shot, and Bloomberg's endorsement of the tight seating bowl.

And most media outlets reported, with relatively little skepticism, the claim that there would be 2,000 jobs at the arena, with recruitment focused on the neighborhoods and housing projects near the site.

Also note that Ratner nudged back the goalposts for the first residential building yet again, suggesting it could start either later next year or early next year. And I already reported on Bloomberg's dismissive response to a question about whether arena-going crowds would inundate neighborhood streets and sidewalks.



Reasons for skepticism about jobs

But …

Community Board 6 committee urges restrictions on variance request for apartment building planned for Bergen Tile site across from arena

Not so fast, a Community Board 6 committee said last night to those planning an apartment building at the Bergen Tile site across from the Barclays Center arena, mainly on busy Flatbush Avenue but also extending around to lower-scale--and quiet, for now--Dean Street.

The Landmarks/Land Use Committee urged restrictions on a developer's request for a variance to add density and eliminate parking from a six-story apartment building with nearly 55 units.

PRD Realty, owners of the triangular Bergen Tile building since 1934, want to make sure there's retail on the ground floor, not use it to meet the city's increasingly antiquated parking minimums, spots for 40% of the units.

While nearly everyone at the meeting, board members and commenters alike, agreed that the city's parking requirements don't fit in a zone near transit, some thought that, given the increased--and increasing--competition for spaces in the neighborhood, some spaces should remain in the building's b…

Will streets/sidewalks near arena be overwhelmed? Bloomberg responds confidently: "not really something that's going to happen"

At this morning's press conference on jobs at the Barclays Center, Mayor Mike Bloomberg was asked a question that seemed animated by the recent report, from Atlantic Yards Watch, that the sidewalks near the arena were far smaller than as measured by the state--portending trouble for neighborhood and arena-goers alike.

"Many residents in the area say they're worried that the streets, the quiet brownstone tree-lined streets will be swamped with people on game days and other event days," asked New York Times reporter Joseph Berger, "and that the city and state have done very little to make sure the streets can handle both the car traffic and the pedestrian traffic."



Bloomberg answered confidently. "Well, most people here are going to be on the main streets. Most of the people are going to come by mass transit," he said. "This mass transit to this stadium is equivalent to the mass transit under Madison Square Garden."

"So I don't th…

Daily Intel: "Bloomberg Promises 2,000 Jobs at the Barclays Center, Sort of" (with video)

Actually, 1,240 full-time equivalent. Read on. (Or maybe even fewer, since the p/t job numbers don't really add up.)

Here's the video of the question I posed to Mayor Mike Bloomberg, which didn't get an answer from him and provoked a joke from developer Bruce Ratner.

Barclays Center building aims for transparency, but Atlantic Yards project evades it: transportation plan, parking details delayed until late May

Update: why was the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting moved from a tentative May 3 date to May 22? Because the Transportation Demand Management plan requires sign-off from multiple agencies, said Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for Empire State Development.

The buzzword for the Barclays Center arena, insists developer Bruce Ratner in the New York Post exclusive video below, is transparency: transparency from the street, where passersby will be able to see the scoreboard, and from the concourses, where attendees will not be obstructed from the action at hand.

However much transparency may be a design feature, it is most assuredly not a feature of the overall Atlantic Yards project.

Release of the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, aimed to push arena attendees toward public transportation rather than cars, had been delayed yet again, to May 22, given the re-scheduling of the planned Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting from May 3.

No …

Bloomberg set to announce " a plan to fill 2,000 jobs at the Barclays Center"; FTE, according to state, would be 1,120

See update at bottom on the math.

From City & State First Read's daybook:
11 a.m. – Mayor Michael Bloomberg announces a plan to fill 2,000 jobs at the Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn. Is that 2,000 positions or 2,000 full-time jobs? In 2005, they were proposing 400 jobs. The state's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) estimated 1,120 full-time equivalent positions.

Presumably many of the jobs are low-skilled part-time jobs, with relatively low wages and benefits that differ significantly those accompanying full-time jobs.

State documentation

From the FEIS:
Arena employment is based on employment data provided by FCRC in March 2006. According to FCRC, there would be 230 full-time and 1,510 part-time workers at the arena. Full- and part-time jobs were converted to FTEs using data from the Wachovia Complex in Philadelphia, which is similar to the proposed arena. Based on the number of events scheduled for the complex in 2005, and general assumptions about…

Regarding Kemistry liquor license application, Millman sends SLA letter urging recognition of concerns about bottle service and closing times

Assemblywoman Joan Millman has backed Prospect Place residents' concerns about the pending state liquor license application from Kemistry Lounge, which on April 23 received a thumbs-down advisory vote from a committee of Community Board Six.

According to her April 24 letter to the State Liquor Authority (below), Millman is concerned about:
1) Bottle service: Kemistry Lounge wishes to be the second establishment in Brooklyn too offer bottle service. Bottle service drastically increases patrons’ incentive to drink and promotes dangerous levels of drunkenness.

2) Closing times: This establishment abuts a quiet residential block and is located near two day-care centers. A set of reasonable closing times must be established. The proprietors and neighbors are far apart on the issue of closing times; for example, the former have requested a 3:30 am cutoff on weekends, while residents, as well as the North Flatbush Business Improvement District, asked for 2 am.

Millman has not weighed in o…

In today's Times, the lead story regards loss of $19M (or so) taxpayer funds; compare that to coverage of the MTA deal

From today's New York Times, lead story, headlined Company Admits It Bilked Clients on Big Projects:
The giant construction company that worked on Citi Field, the renovation of Grand Central Terminal and scores of other high-profile projects has admitted to a huge fraud scheme in which it overbilled clients for more than a decade and has agreed to pay $56 million in fines and restitution to avoid criminal charges, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

...The scheme carried out by the company defrauded government agencies and private developers of about $19 million, much of it tax money, Ms. Lynch said at a news conference. She was joined by officials from several other agencies to announce a deferred-prosecution agreement.

But the amount is most likely far higher because prosecutors said they believed that Lend Lease conducted the practice for decades and that it extended to other companies. So, um, some $19 million, most of it tax money, was misappropriated? That's news.

Bu…

Critic suggests Atlantic Yards "needed a Jane Jacobs to stop it;" I suggest that a failure of eloquence was by no means the largest failure

Updated with comments from Daniel Goldstein

Architecture critic Alexandra Lange, who wrote a devastating takedown of Nicolai Ouroussoff, talked about her new book Writing About Architecture with Project for Public Spaces. An excerpt from the discussion:
In the last chapter of my book I discuss Jane Jacobs, and how she might have reacted to the Atlantic Yards project. I think it needed a Jane Jacobs to stop it — an advocate as eloquent about the costs, and the alternatives, as those seductive Gehry renderings — and for whatever reason, one did not appear. But the activist spirit was by no means dead. It just got diffused into activist non-profits and activist blogs and activist essays. The diffused media landscape made it easier to follow the saga week by week, but perhaps made it harder for any one person to become the voice. My comments:
I question whether a Jane Jacobs was possible for Atlantic Yards. She would have needed a big media megaphone, and they were not available. Atlanti…

Public hearing tomorrow on plan for Bergen Tile site at Flatbush and Dean

A committee of Brooklyn Community Board 6 will hold a public hearing tomorrow at 6 pm regarding the application for an apartment building at the Bergen Tile site, at the corner of the north side of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street opposite the Barclays Center (which is referred to as the southeast corner).

The applicant wants to waive required parking, which has caused community pushback, given the expected arena-related parking crunch, with no provision for residential permit parking. Then again, as surely will be argued, the site is very close to public transit, and parking requirements are increasingly seen as antiquated.

From CB6, which notes two other agenda items:
April 26 Landmarks/Land Use Committee Meeting, 6
PUBLIC HEARING on 215 Flatbush Avenue (BSA Cal. No. 72-12-BZ)
Discussion and formulation of a recommendation on an application submitted to the Board of Standards and Appeals for a variance of Sections 25-23, 23-145 and 23-633 of the Zoning Resolution that would (i) wa…