Skip to main content

Questions about advertising on arena plaza and transit entrance, little explanation in response

How, three years after the Barclays Center and the new subway entrance opened, does there seem to be advertising for the New York Islanders--"The Puck Drops in October"--on the much-promoted "green roof" of the entrance?

How long will it be there, and will advertising be a regular feature?

"I'll get back to you on that," arena Community Affairs Manager Terence Kelly said in response to my question last Wednesday at the barely attended Community Update meeting.

(Had the meeting followed the format a few years ago, when it was called Quality of Life Committee and solicited questions from residents, that question could have been on the agenda.)

One very practical reason for the advertising, I suspect, is the withered condition of the greenery on the roof--as the photo above shows, dirt, not sedum, is visible under the canvas signage.

Accessory signage?

I queried Empire State Development, which oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards, and got this answer: “According to the Design Guidelines, the New York Islanders banner is considered ‘accessory signage’, because it relates to activities which take place at the arena. Accessory signage is permitted on structures outside the arena.”

That's an interesting explanation. According to those guidelines:

j. “Signage” shall mean any writing, pictorial representation, emblem, flag or banner that (a) is a structure or any part thereof, and is attached to, painted on, or in any other way represented on a building or structure, (b) is visible from outside a building and is intended to direct attention to a business, profession, commodity, service or entertainment activity. A sign shall include writings, representation or other figures of similar character within a building only when illuminated and located in a window, except that for the Urban Room Signage Zone and the Arena Signage Zone signage shall also mean any writing, representation or similar figure located inside the building and beyond the window where it is visible from the exterior of the building and the sole purpose of such feature is to be viewed from the outside. i. Accessory Signage: “Accessory Signage” shall mean signage incidental to and that directs attention to a use, person, business, or activity located on the project site and is customary for such use, person, business or activity. Accessory signage shall include without limitation the name of the arena and the name of any physical element or portion of the arena, whether or not such name includes the name of a commercial entity. 
(Emphases added)

Well, the Islanders are an activity on the project site, though the concept of "customary" seems rather malleable.

What about the MTA?

I asked the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which presumably has an interest in the transit entrance, if such such signage was permitted/regulated by MTA, and if MTA gets any revenue.

(I asked specifically about the top of the entrance, though as the photo above right shows, similar advertising faces those entering.)

I'm still waiting for an answer.

What about Resorts World International?

At the meeting, questions also arose regarding the recent plethora of brand from Resorts World International, which seems to have been named sponsor--or at least co-sponsor of the arena plaza, supplanting or joining previous sole sponsor the New York Daily News.

"The casino advertisements on the bollards, are those permanent?" resident Peter Krashes asked Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton at the meeting.

"I don’t think so," replied Cotton. "They don’t look it."

"Are all the bollards on private property?" Krashes followed up. "I personally think, right now, that public space is degraded by the advertising."

"We own it," Cotton replied, with a bit of an edge.

Actually, as far as I can tell, Forest City affiliates lease the project site from Empire State Development and its subsidiary Brooklyn Arena Local Development Corporation. But it must feel like ownership. (See Section 3.2 of the Development Agreement.)

"Is Resorts the sole sponsor" of the plaza, I asked, pointing out that the Daily News signage seems to be diminished.

"I have no idea," Cotton responded. "We can find out."

Kelly said these were "big operations" and he--the arena's Community Relations Manager--was "not well informed enough to answer that." He suggested sending a query to arena p.r. manager Barry Baum (who's already ignored my query).

Note the "Resorts World International Plaza" sign over the entrance doors.


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…