Skip to main content

In the Navy Yard, the modular builder that preceded Ratner faces change

From an 8/12/14 New York Times article headlined A Factory in Brooklyn That Constructs Homes Is Losing Its Own:
Across from the Barclays Center sit hundreds of apartments built at a factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
They are not part of the Atlantic Yards development, where Bruce C. Ratner is assembling a 32-story tower, which will be the tallest factory-made building in the world. Instead, the apartments are inside 32 red-brick, three-story rowhouses and were built by a company called Capsys. Each home uses three modules, one per story. The homes look a century old but opened in 2002, a decade before Mr. Ratner decided to try to build the first of his Atlantic Yards towers through modular construction.
...After 18 years of producing more than 4,000 modules — enough for 2,300 apartments plus hotels and park bathrooms — [Capsys founder] Mr. [Nicholas] Lembo is worried that he might have to close up shop just as modular building is taking off. His lease is up in two years, and he has been scouring the boroughs for a new home for Capsys but has been unable to find one.
In 2010, Capsys was told by the Navy Yard that its lease--currently at $4/square foot--would not be renewed, as the space was needed by the growing Steiner Studios.

The Capsys rent, according to the Times, is about one-third the typical Navy Yard rate, which offers below-market rates. So if Capsys is exploring space in Canarsie some three times its current rent, that would approximate Navy Yard rent.

Capsys also says that it should have been offered the space taken by FC Skanska, the partnership involving Forest City Ratner that's building modules for Atlantic Yards.

It's not clear from the article--and I haven't gotten a response from Capsys--whether the Navy Yard knew Capsys wanted to expand and whether FC Skanska is paying the market rent or the old Capsys rent.

Comments

  1. This New York Times article includes the first printed allegation I know of that Forest City Ratner got preferential treatment at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for modular unit construction.

    If Lembo could possibly have outbid Ratner for space not offered to him, does that mean that Ratner pays rent that is about "one-third the going rate within the Navy Yard, where rents are already below market."?

    If it is actually true that Lembo should have been, but was not, offered the space first that would be most meaningful only if Lembo could have outbid Ratner. The only reason not to do whatever was appropriate and called for and offer Lembo the space first is if it would have deprived the Ratner project of the space. There is therefore some indication that Ratner pays rent that is about "one-third the going rate within the Navy Yard, where rents are already below market."?

    I would like to see what Lembo’s rent is and what the rent is for the Ratner project. This should be obtainable through FOIL. In fact, good governance would dictate that all the rents at the Navy Yard with their implicit subsidies should be posted and readily available to the public.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

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.