Skip to main content

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.

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…