Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Greenland, the videos: a proud corporate introduction; positioning Pacific Park; the "authenticity" of 550 Vanderbilt

The Greenland Holding Group, the parent company of Greenland USA, the joint venture that owns 70% of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park (excepting the arena and the B2 modular tower), has posted several videos promoting itself, and they're worth a look.

The posture strikes me as a continuation of the huge advertisement Greenland posted in late 2013 in Times Square: "Here "Here We Come.... A Skyscraper Specialist from China." Greenland is anxious to show the world how big, impressive, and successful it is, tossing out a stream of statistics.

Indeed, the numbers are impressive--Greenland is so large it has developed significant experience--but the emphasis on numbers, without citations of quality or commentaries by experts, seems a bit tone-deaf for a world audience.

Big numbers

In the Introduction video, below, Greenland quickly notes that its ranking is 268 in the Fortune Global 500. More recently, the ranking nudged up to 258, albeit with some sobering statistics attached, including a 3% increase in revenues and a 32% decline in profits,  compared with a previous 29.2% increase in revenues and an 11.2% increase in profits.

According to the video, the total assets are $76 billion, while the latest Fortune statistic is $82 billion. (By contrast Forest City Enterprises is at $8.8 billion.)

Greenland, according to the video has established a diversified industrial structure, with real estate as the focus. It has projects in more than 80 cities in China, and in
13 cities/nine countries: the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, South Korea, Thailand, Canada, and Malaysia.

"Our projects have received high recognition among political and business circles, as well as the mainstream media," the narrator states. "We are far ahead, especially, in ultra-high-rise, large urban complexes, and industrial parks...For the moment, we have 23 ultra high rises under construction or completed, four of which are among the world's top ten highest buildings." (They are #3, #4, #7, #8.)

Other arms

The video explains that Greenland works with "over 70 top brand hotels" under operation or construction, and has its own brands, Primus and the Qube. Other subsidiaries are involved in finance, subway construction, and energy

"We have been putting social responsibility at the first position," the video claims, not so convincingly, stating that it has donated or sponsored more than $160 million in projects.

"We will keep our pursuit of sustainable and harmonious development," the narrator states in closing. "Greenland aims to become a transnational company, featuring sustainable development, outstanding efficiency, global management, continuous innovation, and leading the times. By 2020, Greenland is expected to achieve a business income of $128 billion U.S. dollars and a Fortune Global 100 enterprise, and fulfill its transformation from China's Greenland to the World's Greenland."

The coda verges from business promotion to (what sounds to American ears as) cult-speak: "Shoulder to shoulder with various social circles, we will create a vigorous, and ever lasting, green land."

The Pacific Park Brooklyn video

The video below is in Chinese, but you don't have to understand it to see how they're positioning the Brooklyn project amid the grandeur and bustle of New York City, namely Manhattan, then Brooklyn and iconic attractions like the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Grand Army Plaza, the Brooklyn Museum, and Prospect Park.

Finally, the video focuses on a map of Pacific Park, with renderings of 550 Vanderbilt--the condos being marketed in China--the new subway entrance and arena plaza, the arena plaza, and then the pleasant streets nearby.

The 550 Vanderbilt video

The video about 550 Vanderbilt is in English, featuring architect Rick Cook from CookFox, with subtitles in Chinese.

As he's stated before, "more than half of our studio" lives in Brooklyn, so they're "designing for us, and our neighbors," which is a bit of a dodge, because Brooklyn is a big place.

"We have a wide diversity of unit types, that we hope will lead to a wide diversity of homeowners," Cook states, apparently referring to the size of the family, not their pocketbook, since this is a luxury condo building with studios starting at $540,000.

"It's uniquely crafted for this one site in the world, and this one remarkable neighborhood in Prospect Heights, and right on an eight-acre open space known as Pacific Park," declares Cook, who apparently didn't get the memo that the project constitutes Brooklyn's "newest neighborhood."

After citing "large windows with views and light," Cook declares, "Our greatest hope is that, when people call 550 home, they'll be proud of its authenticity, of the quality of life that they have, and the way this building fits into Prospect Heights and sets up the new condition of Pacific Park."

Authenticity is a rather loaded word, of course.

"We're passionate about the idea that a healthy, resilient city depends on diversity and the highest quality housing, and we believe that we've made that the heart and soul of 550," Cook states, repeating some buzzwords.

Local video news coverage

Released in January, this segment, apparently for a Chinese TV station, includes first an in-studio interview with Greenland Chairman Zhang Yuliang, then shots from the December groundbreaking of the 535 Carlton tower, then interviews at the event with Zhang and Deputy Consul General Cheng Lei.  (Note to Chinese speakers: you're welcome to send translations.)

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