Skip to main content

Hints at a new plan for Site 5 building, replacing Modell's & P.C. Richard; could there be swap from B1?

Arrow points to Site 5; photo of model in Pacific Park sales office
An intriguing hint about the future of Site 5--the parcel of land in the new Pacific Park "neighborhood" west of wide Flatbush Avenue--emerged at Tuesday's meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC).

AY CDC President Marion Phillips III, a senior VP at Empire State Development (ESD), told the directors that ESD had begun condemnations of the two Site 5 businesses, the last parcels to be taken by eminent domain.

For Modell's, which is in a building owned by Forest City Ratner, the condemnation covers just the ground lease, while for P.C. Richard, it's the entire property. 

(The adjacent Brooklyn Bear's Garden remains, at the tip of the site where Flatbush and Pacific Street converge.)

"Proceedings will probably commence by the end of this year, early next year," Phillips said, noting that that the building, which can contain either residential or commercial space, has 439,050 square feet. He didn't mention the maximum height: 250 feet, which was reduced twice during the approval process, from 400 feet and 350 feet.
From President's Report to AY CDC
A change coming?

Then Phillips left a tantalizing hint.

"We've had some discussion with Forest City Greenland Partners [sic; actually Greenland Forest City Partners] about other possibilities related to the project... Nothing has been presented, nothing has been approved," he said. "If there is a project proposal that moves forward it will be provided to ESD, there is an entire public process that it must go through" to modify the General Project Plan (GPP).

"At this point, we are going forward with what is provided in the GPP," he said.

What could be the "other possibilities"?

I can only speculate.

But consider that there is considerable sentiment for keeping the arena plaza, and not building the giant, 511-foot, 1.1 million square foot (though it says only 760,190 in the image below) B1 tower.

If that tower is eliminated or truncated, then Greenland Forest City would surely want to get equal value in development rights elsewhere. So part of that trade could come at Site 5.

They could make an argument for a larger building at Site 5: first, it was once supposed to be secondary to B1 (aka Miss Brooklyn), but if it stands alone then it could be larger. 

Also, the march of towers into Fort Greene near the Brooklyn Academy of Music--though not quite to Atlantic and Flatbush avenues--dwarfs the 250-foot height currently approved (though that in turn dwarfs the residential block(s) bordering it to the south.

Stay tuned. When a change gets floated, there's usually something happening. After all, as I've said before, Atlantic Yards is a "never say never" project.


  1. Anonymous7:20 AM

    What about the garden? Seems potentially... endangered.

    1. The garden is not part of the project. Could it be affected by construction, and then operations? Sure. But it is supposed to stay.

  2. Will this be an office tower?Maybe they can just drop the original Miss Brooklyn along with the Urban Room on the site as they are about the same dimensions.

    1. As stated, it could be commercial (office) or residential. Don't think they could put all of Miss Brooklyn there, but maybe a good chunk of it.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…