Skip to main content

As DNC2016 decision awaits, a promotional push; Ratner "lives, breathes and promotes Brooklyn"

As the count-down begins to a decision by the Democratic National Committee to choose among Brooklyn/New York, Philadelphia, and Columbus, the hype continues--and a Philadelphia labor spat became fodder for New York.

Jackie Robinson’s widow has joined the city’s campaign to bring the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn, where the legendary athlete integrated major league baseball with the Dodgers in 1947.
“New York and Brooklyn both are very special places in my heart. Jack and I had wonderful experiences in both places,” Rachel Robinson said.
...New York is competing with Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio, to host the 2016 Democratic convention, and has played up not only the city’s financial clout but its diversity as a positive backdrop for the nomination of the party’s next presidential standardbearer.“Brooklyn has been in the forefront of some of the changes we’re looking to see in the society,” Mrs. Robinson told the News.
“The general feeling in Brooklyn will be that people will be proud to have the convention there," declared Robinson.

I'm not sure she should be opining about the mood of latter-day Brooklynites. After all, as the Daily News put it, she "now splits her time between Manhattan and Connecticut as she oversees the Jackie Robinson Foundation."

In the Post

Yesterday, the New York Post's superannuated Cindy Adams presented Bruce Ratner lives, breathes and promotes Brooklyn, which was mostly some cleaned-up stream of consciousness, albeit with a headline that overplayed Manhattan resident Ratner's commitment:
Bruce Ratner loves Brooklyn. Breathes Brooklyn. Built Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Next to Canarsie, he rates Hawaii a used-car lot. His little 18,003-seat Barclays is up maybe for the Democratic National Convention hoo-ha.
“Imagine going somewhere else?” boomed Bruce who, in Brooklyn, needed no telephone although I was in Manhattan.
“Come to Brooklyn, you got a taste of Brooklyn. Everybody wants in on Brooklyn. Hottest spot in the world in music, art, dance, culture, education, food, people, celebrities. Clinton was here. Duke and Duchess were here. BeyoncĂ© and Jay Z, Streisand all here . . .
“Food. We got 55 restaurants with their own special vendors. We’ll create menu items from every state represented. Other places got lousy junky fries and greasy hot dogs. We have Michelin star chefs. Fish taco sandwiches. Stuffed brisket sausages, stuffed chicken sausages. Me, I’m a brisket sausage-r. We got Redhook Lobster Pound, Williamsburg Pizza. Best in country. Reasonable prices.
“And nobody beats our 2,000 polite employees. Disney trained. Our No. 1 comment is how polite they are. There’s pride in our arena. Willingness to help. They say, ‘Have a nice day . . . get home safe.’ Eighty percent are local, maybe a 15- to 20-minute bus or subway ride or walk.
“The DNC’s considering Columbus? Middle of nowhere? Gum’s on their floor, not concrete. Here there’s value. You get ‘Brooklyn’ on your souvenirs. Want them to say ‘Columbus’? What’s Columbus?! Not a Michelin place in the whole state.
“We’re tops in technology. Most advanced in the US. You can use any phone carrier. Take any selfie. Call any place. We handle 15,000 people downloading videos.
“New York City’s got 105,000 hotel rooms. Philly — 45,000. Columbus 25,000. Even Philadelphia they’re considering? It closes at 10 o’clock. I mean, please.”
Reasonable prices? C'mon. The arena prices are ridiculous. Some of the food is good, some mediocre. (Yeah, I tried the pizza.)

It's interesting to note that Ratner was focusing on the arena, not on the purported benefits to neighboring businesses and the borough at large.

And while Brooklyn is certainly hot in several ways, Ratner should temper the hype. Some celebrities visit the arena, but that doesn't make it the "hottest spot in the world."

A Philly dip, Brooklyn bounce?

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
It didn't take long for Brooklyn's convention machine to try to capitalize on the Convention Center's court order against union carpenters who allegedly harassed attendees and vandalized vehicles at the 2015 Philadelphia Auto Show over the weekend.
"Antiunion," said one New York union official involved in helping Brooklyn in its bid to beat Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio, to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
...If Philadelphia lands the convention, union carpenters stand to gain a lot of work at the Wells Fargo Center, where the main events will be held. Other events would be at the Convention Center.
The Hill follows up:
“As we’ve said from the beginning of this process, New York has an unmatched ability to stage large-scale, high-profile events,” said Laura Santucci, who is heading up New York’s bid, in a statement. “From our strong relationships with the City’s trade unions to our infrastructure to the NYPD’s unrivaled security expertise, there is no better place to hold the 2016 Democratic National Convention.”
An official with the New York Hotel Trades Council, which is working with the city to woo the convention, slammed the convention center’s actions as “anti-union.”
"With Columbus lacking sufficient hotel rooms and now Philadelphia filing for an anti-union restraining order against the blue collar workers who would work at the DNC, it's time to pick Brooklyn,” said Josh Gold, the union’s political director, in a statement.
"New York's claim that Columbus doesn't have enough hotel rooms is entirely false," said Meredith Tucker, spokesperson for Columbus 2016. "In fact, Columbus has over 26,000 hotel rooms where delegates can afford to stay close to the convention sites."
Hillary in Brooklyn?

Capitol's Playbook reports:
--“Hillary Clinton’s Brooklyn options are limited,” by Capital’s Dana Rubinstein: “In recent days, people who pay close attention to the undeclared presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton have been wondering about her real estate plans, which could, reportedly, involve setting up shop in Brooklyn or Queens. … But it would be hard enough for Brooklyn and Queens to accommodate a 50,000-square-foot tenant. A 100,000-square-foot requirement would further narrow Clinton's options in two boroughs that have, for decades, sent commuters to offices in Manhattan, rather than developing office space themselves.
Rubinstein's article points out that office space offered by Forest City Ratner may be too pricey, and Brooklyn offers a mixed bag of symbolism:
"Brooklyn has the advantage and the disadvantage of having cachet,” said Seth Pinsky, a real estate executive and the former president of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation. “The advantage is that you can attract a lot of young, talented people and it links you to a new, very highly desirable urbanism. At the same time, there are also a lot of stereotypes—good and bad—that come with both of those and it's unclear whether she wants to be associated with those as she's campaigning for president."

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…