Skip to main content

At meeting, residents' frustration about trucks in neighborhood gets "compliance is so high" response

Last night's Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park "Quality of Life Community Update Meeting," held at 55 Hanson Place, was one with no headline announcements nor major resolutions, just some project updates punctuated by disgruntlement of the few dozen people who attended, which got a "we're doing our best" response from the developer and involved agencies--at least those that showed up.

Forest City Ratner's Ashley Cotton, representing the Greenland Forest City Partners joint venture, said they had no update on plans for Site 5, where they hope to move the bulk of the B1 tower assigned to the arena plaza across Flatbush Avenue to build a huge two-tower project. Nor are there redesigns for Atlantic Avenue, where residents hope for medians to make it easier to cross.

Nor did the developers have any update on plans for 664 Pacific, the market-rate rental tower east of Sixth Avenue between Dean and Pacific streets, as the developer is still in litigation with the owner of an adjacent property, 497 Dean Street. Regarding designs for the middle school planned for that building, Cotton said interested parties should contact the School Construction Authority.

Frustration

Resident Robert Puca pointed to regular posts on social media--mainly Instagram, as of now, tagged #BCIZA, for Barclays Center Impact Zone Alliance --that show trucks illegally idling or improperly using neighborhood streets. Are there any penalties or consequences, he asked.

Two tractor trailer trucks associated with B3 are illegally located on Dean east of Vanderbilt. Both are off of any legal truck route. In addition one is parked in a bus stop. I spoke to the drivers who were the ones to identify they were associated with B3. They said they were hauling containers. The contractor told them to leave the site and find parking in order to return. They were given no further instructions. The contractor told them there is no space in the immediate vicinity of B3. This is s violation of NYC regulations because they are both off designated truck routes and blocking a bus stop. It is also a violation of ESD's designated truck protocols. Photos August 29th at 10:19 am. #bciza #pacificparkbk @nycmayorsoffice @nyc_dot @nypd78thpcc @hdr_inc @STV_Group @EmpireStateDev @atlanticyards_pacificpk_report
A photo posted by @pplegacy on

"I don't look comprehensively at social media," Cotton responded. "Compliance is nearly 99%." She said that the developers were in regular contact with Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency that oversees/shepherds the project. "They torture us. The compliance is so high."

That may be so (though let's see the data, since ESD reps didn't follow up).

Still, given the tight fit of the project in a residential neighborhood, even a relatively small level of non-compliance can pose a major burden, as the shown in the photo above and video below.



Cotton apologized for noisy, disruptive work tearing up pavement for new water mains, as they've found cobblestone and concrete under some pavements rather than typical dirt, thus requiring a demolition machine called a Brokk.

"Newswalk is massively shaking," Puca said of that condo building, between Sixth and Carlton avenues on Pacific Street. Forest City officials could not pin down whether the building is being monitored for vibrations.

More updates and delays

The fences around the 535 Carlton and 550 Vanderbilt construction projects may be down by November, Cotton said, and officials behind those towers as well as 461 Dean, the modular building flush to the arena that should be the first to open, are working on getting TCOs, or Temporary Certificates of Occupancy.

Regarding a long-announced "app"--or digital solution--to log all project-related incidents, Empire State Development official Marion Phillips III said "we're still in the research phase."

Regarding a community request to aggregate all 311 complaints related to the project, he said the city is still working "on their end." Tobi Jaiyesimi, who represents both ESD and the advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, said the difficulty is because the city codes incidents by zip code, not by project.

The developer's demolition of the "bump" buildings, jutting into the railyard below Atlantic Avenue east of Sixth Avenue, remains delayed, as it's been noticed in at least the last seven two-week Construction Updates. Cotton said that any question about the delay should be posed to the Department of Buildings.

Sewer work on Pacific Street near the project site--relining, not installation- has not yet begun, but it will be noisy, Cotton reminded the group.

Enforcement and parking

While the Department of Transportation's Leroy Branch noted that Atlantic Avenue is used for VIP parking at Barclays Center events, he said his agency is not in charge of enforcement. While representatives of the New York Police Department briefly attended the meeting, they weren't there to respond to the community call for enforcement.

Several local residents expressed frustration about the continued loss of parking spaces to project construction as well as parking by police officers and--behind construction fences, astoundingly--construction workers.

How many parking spaces has the neighborhood lost from project construction (as well as other projects)? DOT reps couldn't say, but the DOT's Abigail Ikner said she'd try to product an estimate.

But when she said the EIS--environmental impact statement--should delineate how many parking spots should be available during various phases of construction, Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association said the "EIS is irrelevant," as the current state of the project was never studied.

Asked about compliance with the requirement for project construction workers to wear color-coded stickers, Cotton said it was not 100%, but they've gotten no complaints about worker behavior.

Residents also raised frustration regarding the yellow-jacketed pedestrian managers who are supposed to steer traffic and smooth passages during arena events, saying they were too often ineffective and some even increased hazards.

There were a few dozen people in the room, despite, as Krashes pointed out, the agenda for the meeting was sent out only at the end of the day last Friday, far too late for most people to make plans. Empire State Development's Nicole Jordan said it wasn't intentional.

The next AY CDC meeting

Because of a lockout at Long Island University, one of the few local entities that has the capacity to hold and webcast a public meeting, the next meet of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, on Sept. 20 at 3 pm, will be held at ESD offices in Manhattan.

Presumably a notice will be sent out reminding visitors to RSVP a day earlier, so as to get into the building.


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…