Skip to main content

REBNY's Spinola on development: "you don't want a 25-story building next to a single-family home" (but there's one planned for Atlantic Yards, pretty much)

There's an intriguing moment in an interview with Steven Spinola, the president of the Real Estate Board of New York, conducted by City&State's Nick Powell, regarding Mayor Bill de Blasio's plans to offer developers more density in exchange for "affordable housing."



"Now I do believe there are sites in all five boroughs that we can do that. But they have to be carefully chosen. And y'know, you don't want a 25-story building next to a single-family home."

The 27-story tower, B15, would occupy the plot that
includes the first five buildings pictured.
The two near left have already been demolished.
(That sounds a little like Atlantic Yards, where a 27-story building east of Sixth Avenue, between Dean and Pacific streets, would replace the row of houses at right and be next to a row of four-story apartment buildings, not much larger than a single-family home. Here's a simulation by Jonathan Barkey.)

"But on the other hand, if you've already got six, eight, ten stories, is anyone going to know that the next one is twelve, or whatever?" Spinola continued. "So, it's complicated, the mayor wants a report by May 1. I think that's a very ambitious schedule. But I think... he will better outline what he thinks he needs to do."

"And our commitment to him is whatever we have to do that we can do to help him build those affordable units, both low- and middle-income, we're prepared to do," he stated.

Note that "middle-income" units, aka "workforce housing," are also affordable, but less burdensome to builders, since they require less subsidy and reap more rent. Of the rentals in Atlantic Yards that are supposed to be subsidized, 20% would be low-income, and 30% moderate- and middle-income.

From the article

The 3/12/14 article associated with the interview, SPINOLA ENCOURAGED BY DE BLASIO, noted:
Steven Spinola, the president of the Real Estate Board of New York, plugged his organization's recent economic impact report and spoke at length about Mayor Bill de Blasio's goal to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in New York City.
The economic impact study, based on 2012 data, shows that the city's real estate industry accounted for $106.2 billion in jobs, wages and output—including approximately 13 percent of the gross city product. Excluding property taxes, the real estate industry generated $1.6 billion in additional tax revenue for the city in 2012, including nearly $700 million from the construction industry and approximately $920 million from non-construction services. Real estate also supports 11 percent of the jobs in New York City.

Spinola said that he was encouraged by those numbers, which continue to increase each year, noting that the revenue generated by the industry helps pay for the vital services that make the city run.
...While the industry's boom over the last decade is in part attributed to the development-friendly policies of former mayor Michael Bloomberg, Spinola said he was encouraged by his and REBNY's initial discussions with de Blasio, specifically the mayor's willingness to work collaboratively on affordable housing despite his initial call for a "fundamental reset" with the development community.
Unmentioned: the role of tax abatements in supporting the industry.

Comments

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.