Wednesday, September 30, 2015

NY Post on 550 Vanderbilt: "How New York City is building new neighborhoods from nothing" (!)

Remember how original Atlantic Yards architect Frank Gehry got flak for saying--according to the New York Times's erroneous transcription--that the project was "building a neighborhood from scratch"? (He'd said "practically from scratch," which was already a stretch.)

Well, Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin likes to say "neighborhood from scratch" today, and she's getting lapdog treatment in some media outlets. Consider the New York Post Real Estate page article today, How New York City is building new neighborhoods from nothing. (Actually, it appears in the luxury supplement, Alexa--see bottom.)

From the lead:
Density ought to be embraced, and vertical living ought to be celebrated,” pronounces MaryAnne Gilmartin, president of NYC real estate giant Forest City Ratner Companies. It’s a bold statement, but she’s talking about a bold project: Pacific Park, the 22-acre, 15-building complex rising over Brooklyn’s Atlantic Rail Yards, near Barclays Center.
The massive undertaking will create an entirely new neighborhood of 6,000 apartments, multiple retail spaces and eight acres of parkland. Megaprojects like Pacific Park — which offer residents every convenience in a compact, preplanned area — are front and center in New York’s new-building barrage.
Luxury developers are pairing residential towers with amenities like schools, playgrounds, food courts, office spaces and even subway stops — and bringing in starchitects and A-list designers to craft spaces that blend home, work and play.
Note the effrontery of the headline, then note that complex is not rising "over Brooklyn's Atlantic Rail Yards." The 22-acre project will rise, in part, over the Vanderbilt Yard, though, other than the small segment of the former yard occupied by the arena, all the buildings under construction are on terra firm.

It won't be a park, but rather privately managed, publicly accessible open space. And while it surely will be a new complex, it hardly will be a new neighborhood. There were people and businesses. Moreover, the new infrastructure, including one school, will hardly be enough to handle the entire population. 

And, by the way, "New York City" is not building anything. Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park is a state project, built by Greenland Forest City Partners, which is 70% owned by Greenland Holdings, itself controlled by the government of Shanghai. Greenland gets no mention in the article.

Sales figures

The Post reports:
When 550 Vanderbilt, a Pacific Park condo designed by COOKFOX, launched sales this summer, 30 percent of its 278 units entered contract “within weeks,” according to Gilmartin. Prices for the building, which opens for move-ins in 2016, range from $625,000 for a studio to $6.86 million for a penthouse....
Summing up

The article closes with Gilmartin, as well:
And Gilmartin says the open space at Pacific Park will be available to all comers.
“It was critically important for us to include the community,” she emphasizes. “Our goal is to knit together the surrounding neighborhoods with this development.” She says the project is an exercise not just in real estate development, but in master planning meant to blend into the fabric of NYC.
Still, she concedes that such unique projects are no small task: “It’s a big responsibility to build up a neighborhood from scratch.”
Um, their goal is to make a profit. As for including the community, the amount of open space per person will actually go down, given the huge new population.

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