Friday, June 27, 2014

On ESD agenda today, Atlantic Yards is first item; Board Materials finally posted, recommend approval of Greenland deal (to avoid ambiguity), support reduced parking (updated)

Atlantic Yards is the first item (after the approval of minutes) on the agenda at the 9:45 am meeting today of the board of Empire State Development:
Atlantic Yards Land Use Improvement and Civic Project – Adoption of Findings Pursuant to New York State Environmental Quality Review Act; Adoption of Court Ordered Findings as to Phase II of the Project; Affirmation of 2014 Modified General Project Plan; Determination with Respect to Greenland Joint Venture; Adoption of Proposed Essential Terms for Modification of Project Documents; Authorization to Take Related Actions
For weeks, it wasn't clear if that means ESD must approve the joint venture with the Chinese government-owned Greenland Group--which will pay Forest City Ratner $200 million for the right to develop 70% of the remaining project (not the arena or first tower) going forward-- or determined it need not do so.

I never got an answer to my query.

Updated: the 1252 pages (!) of Board Materials were not made public until after 7 am. The Atlantic Yards-related documents start on p. 46 and include transcripts from the public hearing, other public comments, and a description of the new agreement to accelerate affordable housing.

Regarding Greenland, the Board Materials state:
ESD staff concludes that the proposed transaction does not require ESD consent. However as further set forth in Exhibit G, ESD staff nonetheless recommends that in order to avoid doubt or ambiguity, the Directors affirmatively consent to  proposed transaction.
Go to p. 954 for the section regarding Greenland: though ESD has determined that no consent is necessary, it states (p. 960) that, if consent were required, Greenland would pass muster, so consent is recommended to remove doubt or ambiguity. (The review cites allegations of inferior construction at a small number of Greenland projects in China but says work in New York City would be subject to city and state oversight.)

Also, ESD will approve revision to the Modified General Project Plan, which would shift bulk from Phase 1 to Phase 2 and reduce parking onsite from 3,670 spaces to the "Reduced Parking Alternative," or 1,200 spaces as opposed to either 2,896 parking spaces.


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