Skip to main content

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.


Bruce Ratner said at the press conference: "About 90 percent, up to 1800, 1900 are part-time" jobs, with schedules "up to 30 hours a week," and "the remainder, 150 to 200, are full-time." He didn't say 105.

Beginning of a process

The main goal of the meeting, with a presentation led by FCR's approachable Ashley Cotton, was to explain how the job recruitment process will work, involving outreach, job fairs, and interviews. Similar meetings will be held this week at other community boards in the area around the arena, as the hiring will focus in the areas of CBs 2, 3, 6, and 8.

The meeting tonight was held at the Prospect Park Residence. On Tuesday, a similar presentation will be made before a Community Board 2 committee, at Long Island University, Library Learning Center Room 515, DeKalb and Hudson Avenues, at 6 pm.

Cotton, a former Bloomberg administration aide, is the successor to Bruce Bender, the wily political operative who helped steer the project over several shoals but ran into rough waters. He was wiretapped during a profane attempt to get state Sen. Carl Kruger, since convicted of taking bribes, to direct money to Atlantic Yards, and left the company shortly before he testified in a federal corruption trial regarding the developer's unseemly, though not illegal, decision to hire Yonkers fixer Zehy Jereis for a no-show job after he helped get Council Member Sandy Annabi to change her vote.

Drilling down

Forest City Ratner Companies and its Brooklyn Events Center subsidiary would have a tiny fraction of the jobs. Some 1000 part-timers would be hired by AEG, in charge of arena operations, and 900 hired by Levy Restaurants, in charge of food service.

None of the part-time positions would come with vacation benefits or health benefits, though they could come with other benefits to be negotiated after a union is formed.

Based on comments at the press confrerence last week, the salaries are expected to be above living wage--$11.50 without benefits--though, as noted by Patch, this project would not be included in any living wage legislation.

However, officials from Forest City, Levy, and AEG were not ready to make any estimates beyond "above minimum wage" and "competitive" to venues like Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium, saying it would be subject to collective bargaining, since employees are expected to be unionized.

P/T = 24 hours per week?

The maximum number of workers at any one time is likely to be about 800, while smaller events could have only 500 workers.

If the total number of jobs is equivalent to 1,240 full-time equivalent jobs, as stated last week, then that means a total of 49,600 hours a week and 2,579,200 hours for the year.

Let's subtract the full-time jobs: 105 x 40 x 52, or 210,000 annually. That leaves 2,360,800 hours to be divided among the 1901 part-time employees over 52 weeks. That suggests a total of 45,400 hours per week, or 23.9 hours per person.

Forest City will report quarterly, on its website, on its hiring, in terms of local hiring and hiring from housing projects. However, the developer has never hired the Independent Compliance Monitor promised as part of the Community Benefits Agreement.

Leading off

After the introductions of the various staffers present, Cotton talked about the MWBE (minority and women's business enterprises) contract, with 16.3% MBE and 6.3% WBE. That was not segmented into New York City or Brooklyn firms.

In the week ending April 15, of the total construction workforce of 836, 442 were New York City residents, of which 186 were Brooklyn residents.

How does that break down into FTE (full-time equivalent)? Cotton didn't have details. As I wrote in January, the total number of FTE jobs is probably some 25% lower.

The hiring process will go through the Small Business Services' Workforce1 hiring program, as well through the New York City Housing Authority, and with the participation of Community Benefits Agreement partner Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD).

There's a five-stage process:
  • jobs will be posted online at (though the bulk of the jobs aren't posted yet)
  • jobs fairs will be open to the public
  • written applications
  • interviews
  • employment offers continent on background check and drug test.
CB6 member Richard Bashner, citing the Ikea example, asked if job fairs could be moved up before jobs are posted. Cotton responded that all the workforce preparation, via SBS, makes sure people come job-ready.

Board member Pauline Blake asked about outreach plans. That, responded Cotton, was what they were beginning today. Job fairs will be held mostly in July, and candidates should expect to stay for a while, and should come in job-appropriate apparel.

More questions

Would people with criminal records be hired?

"We weigh each case separately," said AEG's David Anderson, who noted that the firm does background checks.

Will alcoholic beverages be served with "free pours" or "measured pours," asked board member Lou Sones, who runs The Brazen Head.

"Always a metered pour," responded Julie Margolin of Levy Restaurants. "[Free pouring] is a terminable offense."

Will the job recruiters reach out to housing projects like the Red Hook Houses, which was not among the specific mentioned New York City Housing Authority developments, including the Gowanus Houses and the Ingersoll and Whitman Houses?

"The list was determined through the CBA [Community Benefits Agreement]," responded Cotton, who noted that there's a preference for not just residents of the local Community Boards but for public housing residents as well as Brooklynites.

Followed up Bashner, "The Community Board wasn't a party to the CBA.  We're looking at it independently." He encouraged Forest City to extend outreach to the Red Hook Houses, which are part of CB6.

Cotton said she'd take back the questions and suggestions from the meeting and build on them as the process continues.

Update: the PowerPoint document

Barclays Center Hiring Plan 5-10-12


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…

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…

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…