Skip to main content

Transition at ESD: Roy and Lynch depart, newbie in-house replacements to be succeeded by subsidiary?

Those on Empire State Development's distribution list for the two-week Construction Alerts might have noticed something different about the one released yesterday, since it was sent by Nicole J. Jordan, ESD's Director of Community Relations, rather than Derek Lynch, ESDC's recent manager of community and government relations for Atlantic Yards.

And a look at ESD's Atlantic Yards page shows that Paula Roy, who was Director of Atlantic Yards, no longer appears.

I got a statement from ESD: "Paula recently left to pursue a new opportunity at [New York City] HDC {Housing Development Corporation] and Sam Filler is now Director of Atlantic Yards. Derek also recently left and Nicole Jordan is now Director of Community Relations for Atlantic Yards."

Though Roy and Lynch were relatively recent hires, the transition suggests even less continuity for Atlantic Yards at the state level and, accordingly, more clout for developer Forest City Ratner. And it may mean less oversight as construction work ramps up, including a new green roof on the arena and railyard drilling.

It's not clear whether Filler and Jordan are stand-ins for the next several months, until the promised Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation launches, or whether they will continue in that role. But neither of them have much experience with either ESD or, apparently, large-scale development projects.

Developer Forest City funds the community relations position. So by having that position filled in-house, at least for the interim, the developer saves some money.

Transition: Director

Roy was publicly announced as succeeding Project Director Arana Hankin in September  2013. She had been the agency's Vice President of Real Estate since July 2013 and in 2012 was hired as Vice President, Portfolio Management. She previously served as Deputy Project Manager for the New Domino mega-project in Williamsburg, working for CPC Resources.

Roy is now Executive VP for Real Estate for New York City Housing Development Corporation,
which oversees the financing of affordable housing, including for Atlantic Yards. Beyond her role in Atlantic Yards, she served as President of Queens West Development Corporation, an ESD subsidiary.
Filler

Filler, who served as the Director of Programs for the Transportation and Land Use Collaborative (TLUC), an urban planning consulting firm in Southern California, came to ESD in September 2012 as an Empire State Fellow, a two-year leadership training program. 

At ESD, according to the Fellows page, he "currently leads Governor Cuomo’s Craft Beverage Initiative at Empire State Development."

Transition: Community Relations Manager

Lynch was hired in September 2012, just before the Barclays Center opened, as a Government and Community Affairs Manager for the position long left open by the June 2011 departure of Forrest Taylor, once billed as an ombudsman but more of a disempowered facilitator.

The position was left open as neighbors endured a steady stream of untoward impacts--seeming violations of construction and traffic protocols or procedures with too little safeguards. Now that construction is ramping up, neighbors may wonder about deja vu.
Jordan

According to Jordan's About Me page, she is ESD's Director of Community Relations, "where she is responsible for various ESD real estate development projects. In addition to large development projects she assists with the execution of ESD's legislative agenda, interfacing with both the Executive and State Legislative Branches on behalf of the agency and as liaison to NYC Community Boards." She joined ESD in March 2014.

Before that, Jordan served as the Executive Director of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

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…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…

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…