The new Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn opened in late September, garnering cheers from elected officials, most architecture critics and guests who have gone to see Jay-Z, the Rolling Stones and the revamped Brooklyn Nets, relocated from New Jersey and contenders in their NBA division.
However, the story behind the arena, and the larger $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project, slated to include 16 towers over 22 acres, is darker. In New York, the government has supplied far less direct subsidy than in other jurisdictions — just look to Miami, which paid for more than 80 percent of the Marlins’ new stadium—but the overall deal still shows how the public interest can be clouded when government agencies welcome a new “hometown team” and an ambitious development tethered to a sports facility.
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…