Thursday, February 19, 2015

Daily News suggests AY/Pacific Park represents remaking of "isolated pocket" of NYC; Gilmartin likens project-making to raising a child

The Daily News yesterday offered New York's master builders: New megaprojects will remake swaths of the city from scratch: Hudson Yards, Pacific Park and Essex Crossing are just a few of the big scale redevelopments happening in the five boroughs.

"Forget the slow burn of gentrification," writes Katherine Clarke. "These private real estate titans will remake some of the most isolated pockets of the city in one foul [sic] swoop with new condos, subsidized and market-rate rentals, offices, hotels, movie theaters, parks and galleries. At the same time, they’ll leave a legacy that will endure for generations."

Well, it's hard to say that Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, which even now will take a decade, represents "one fell swoop." (Doesn't "foul" seem like a curious slip of the pen?)

Interesting that Pacific Park is described as a "15-building Brooklyn megaproject formerly known as Atlantic Yards," with no mention of office space.

Clark writes, "These projects, most of which resulted from a request for proposals from the city, are the city’s most recent answer to the question of how to build the new New York."

Atlantic Yards was not a response to an RFP, nor was it an answer from the city. Rather, the city acquiesced to Ratner's plan.

Quoting the CEO

Clarke writes:
MaryAnne Gilmartin, CEO of Forest City Ratner, compared the process of building these projects to raising a child.
“It’s delicate in its nature and we have to get it right,” she said. “It has to seem very natural and authentic. You have to figure out a way to make these spaces come alive in a way that makes them seem part of a neighborhood, rather than something that just landed in a neighborhood.”
In order to make it work, developers must balance community interests (or at least appear to!), attract financing and participate in political wrangling.
I'm not sure how eminent domain fits into raising a child.

Financial ups and downs

While Gilmartin called the recession "like a body blow to the project,” now Greenland's investment has made it work, "thanks to low interest rates and economic uncertainty abroad."

No mention is made of Forest City's seeming losses on the project--losses the firm should make up in development fees--or the deceptive effort, with Greenland, in raising money from Chinese millionaires seeking green cards.

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