Skip to main content

Virtual reality: the real-estate press on project location, units under construction, & "public green park"

It's a bit strange to read some of the real-estate press regarding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, since some articles posit an alternate reality regarding the location of the project, the number of units under construction, the "public green park," and even the target market.

Consider the Commercial Observer's 6/16/16 article Under Construction: 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, which hails the topping off of the condo tower.

Location

The building is said to be located "[a]t the intersection of Vanderbilt Avenue and Dean Street in between the Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights neighborhoods of Brooklyn."

Oh, really? So Prospect Heights ends at the other three, non-Pacific Park corners of Vanderbilt and Dean? It doesn't.

Unit count

The article states:
Once completed, Pacific Park will contain a total of 6,400 residential units, 2,250 of which are affordable (1,800 units are currently underway, 782 of which are affordable).
Well, the total is supposed to be 6,430. More importantly, the only way to count 1,800 units under way is to include the B12 (651 Dean Street) and B15 (664 Pacific Street) towers, which, as I wrote, have not gone vertical. It looks like B15 will not be done until 2020.

Brownstone living

The article states:
While the building will have a 24-hour doorman, there will also be some elements of brownstone living, [Forest City Ratner's Susi] Yu said. There will be three maisonettes, units with private entryways, so occupants can enjoy “the benefits of living in a full-service building, yet having the privacy of coming through your own entry.”
There will be elements of brownstone living? Well, sure, if you count a 2-story, 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath maisonette townhouse with a private elevator and a private outdoor terrace, on sale for $4,650,000, as described in the excerpt at right.

By the way, the brands mentioned include: Carrara marble counter, premium Miele appliance package, Grohe fixtures, Carrara marble penny round tiles, LG washer and vented dryer, Kohler tub, and Toto toilet.

Don't foget the 421-a tax abatement!

Not about "uber-wealth"

The article ends with a quote from Forest City's executive:
“It can be a background of whatever you want your house to be,” Yu said. “It’s not about ├╝ber-wealth. That’s just not what Rick is about.”
OK, the least expensive listed sale for a studio at this building is $540,000, which is in contract, and the least expensive available unit is a 1-bedroom for $892,000.

I guess uber-wealth is all relative.

The virtual reality bit

Another Commercial Observer article, on the new trend regarding the use of virtual reality to market new developments, of course mentions this project:
Greenland USA and Forest City Ratner Companies started its virtual reality usage with its $4.9 billion, 22-acre Pacific Park residential project in Brooklyn, behind the Barclays Center. The firm realized the power of virtual reality when it wanted to show off what the public green park would look like.
“We knew that we wanted to start with the park,” said Adam Greene, a vice president at Forest City. “We thought that it was the most important thing to start with, because it’s a little bit unknown to people right now, since the site is a big construction [area]. We wanted to show that open space and what it was like to be in there.”
Then the developers subsequently added its condos under construction at 615 Dean Street and 550 Vanderbilt Avenue and the rental project 535 Carton to the virtual reality experience to give future homeowners and tenants a look inside the projects. 

Well, that's because the "public green park"--not a public park under the NYC Parks Department but rather publicly accessible, privately managed open space--won't be finished for nearly a decade. Also, 615 Dean is not actually under construction.

Comments

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…