Friday, September 30, 2016

"Brooklyn deserves an iconic office building," says Forest City's Gilmartin (sounds like arena justification)

I somehow didn't get to the Make it In Brooklyn real estate summit held this week by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP), but, according to the coverage, Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin left some interesting hints.

As the Brooklyn Eagle reported:
Following [new DBP head Regina] Myer's introduction, MaryAnne Gilmartin of Forest City Ratner and Michael Stern of JDS Development Group sat down with reporter Matt Chaban for a panel discussion on the future of Brooklyn's skyline. The trio covered a number of different topics within that context, including their thoughts that the city will re-institute the 421-a tax program that gives developers tax credits in exchange for including low-income housing in their buildings, and the need for office space in Downtown Brooklyn.
“Brooklyn deserves an iconic office building,” Gilmartin said before she explained that any new office building construction would likely have to involve an anchor-tenant prior to any approval. She did explain that the situation was ripe for such a building. Stern agreed and added that the success of residential development over the past 10 years in the neighborhood will only help attract more office space.
"Brooklyn deserves" was also used to justify an override of zoning for a major league team and arena, and that at least had some use by the general public--well, those who could afford tickets--implied.

In this case, Greenland Forest City Partners wants to justify a huge shift of development rights from the arena block to Site 5, currently occupied by Modell's and P.C. Richard.

If an anchor tenant is needed, well, look for the developers too woo a tech company and likely to seek government help.

The Real Deal quoted Gilmartin regarding the 420 Albee Square project, “The days of building spec office are over." I'm assuming that goes for Site 5 as well.

The residential market

Crain's reported that the panelists pooh-poohed the reported glut of apartments in the pipeline. "The idea that there will be a glut, and that there will be ghost buildings that never see residents is just a fallacy," Gilmartin said.

Sure, but landlords are offering concessions, and Gilmartin agreed that rents may not match those projected. Note the implied concessions (aka "incentives") regarding the market-rate units in the 461 Dean modular tower, which is being developed solely by Forest City, unlike the rest of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park.

The anti-gentrification protests

Also see's coverage of the anti-gentrification protests.

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