Skip to main content

In NYC Power 100, Ratner one notch ahead of City's Housing director; p.r. firm BerlinRosen continues rise; Lewis, James slip

City and State has issued its 2015 edition of the New York City Power 100, and Bruce Ratner and many around him--notably lobbyists--take numerous places in the city's firmament.

The editors suggest that the City Council's clout has diminished while "the influence of lobbyists, special interests and the media has grown."

Ratner's place

Bruce Ratner, Executive Vice President and Director, Forest City Enterprises, nudges up to 42 from 43, with this description:
As Mayor Bill de Blasio continues his high-profile push to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in the city, Ratner has become a key ally. A supporter of the mayor during the mayoral race, Ratner’s development group—Forest City Enterprises—has established itself as a model for how to execute the 80/20 agreements (80 percent market rate/20 percent affordable) that the administration has been touting.
That's an odd summary. After all, outside of the 80 DeKalb tower, I don't think Forest City has built any 80/20 buildings. Rather, it is building--with new partner/overseer Greenland--Atlantic Yards (aka Pacific Park Brooklyn), which is about 35% subsidized housing, with 50% of the 4500 rentals "affordable." 

Ratner's company Forest City Ratner, a division of Forest City Enterprises, has established itself as a model for, well, negotiating deals that seem to work, giving politicians like Mayor Bill de Blasio groundbreakings to tout but also pulling back from promises of affordability

Among developers, Ratner is third on the list, after Rob Speyer of Tishman Speyer, who also chairs the Real Estate Board of New York, and Bill Rudin, CEO and Vice Chairman, Rudin Management Company, and chair of the Association for a Better New York. (Also high is Mort Zuckerman, a developer better known for his ownership of the New York Daily News.)

Ratner is one notch above Vicki Been, Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and one below the Rev. Al Sharpton, who actually saw his slot slip from 33 in the wake of the controversy involving his former spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger, who left her job as chief of staff to First Lady Chirlane McCray.

de Blasio and affordable housing

Though Gov. Andrew Cuomo leads the pack, swapping places with  de Blasio, the mayor has "been effective in solidifying his power on the city level," according to the magazine, which adds:
One area where he excels is in his affordable housing deals through partnerships with developers who get more market-rate space in return. The strategy of building higher has won over the real estate industry, the prospect of more jobs has kept labor happy, and progressive advocates are looking forward to a more affordable city. It seems like that is a win, win, win.
It's a win also because many "progressive advocates" are too scared to call him out on the deals.

Moving up significantly, to 58 from 85, was Gary LaBarbera, President, Building and Construction Trades Council, given de Blasio's push for building.

BerlinRosen and other lobbyists

Rising in influence, at 18 (from 24) and 17 (from 23) are Jonathan Rosen and Valerie Berlin, principals in BerlinRosen, which ran the de Blasio mayoral campaign and have since "been reaping the benefits." They count Forest City among their clients.

Two lobbyists that work for Forest City are doing well. Big lobbyist Suri Kasirer, President, Kasirer Consulting, dropped to 48 from 35, only because others have risen. Former Senator Alfonse D'Amato
Managing Director, Park Strategies, rose to 47 from 71.

Two major drops

Public Advocate Letitia James (updateddropped to 70 from 34, because she "has rarely taken action to check the power of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council in her first year, and failed to make waves when she has." 

Bertha Lewis, President of The Black Institute, dropped significantly, to 99 from 42, because, though close to de Blasio, is playing less of a role "in determining the direction of New York City in a new progressive era" than once suspected.

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…