Skip to main content

Former Forest City executive Berliner now President/COO of Brooklyn Museum

Forest City Ratner has played a significant role as funder of arts and cultural institutions in Brooklyn, and now a recently departed executive has taken a position at the Brooklyn Museum, which in 2008 honored Bruce Ratner (and provoked protests).

So, as noted in a museum press release:
The Brooklyn Museum announced today that David Berliner has become its new President and Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the Museum’s operations and spearheading new strategic initiatives. Berliner had been a Board member [since 2011] and will now take a central operating role. Effective immediately, he will oversee operations and administration, financial management, outreach, and marketing and communications, and will work with Shelby White and Leon Levy Director Anne Pasternak on strategic planning and development.
His background:
Berliner played a key role in the growth and success of FCRC, and was responsible for overall corporate leadership, execution of transactions, and optimizing the diverse operating portfolio of the firm. He led the complex negotiations to acquire the Brooklyn Nets NBA basketball team and played an essential role in developing the Barclays Center arena. In addition to managing all transactional and legal aspects of the project, he oversaw all operational and administrative areas of FCRC, including human resources, information technology, and external relations. He retired from FCRC in 2015. 
Retired? He wasn't given a retirement party.

The press release summarizes his role in arts:
An ardent supporter of the arts, Berliner served as the director of Forest City Ratner’s arts and culture initiatives with a focus on visual art, which included a 20-year partnership with the Public Art Fund to present site-specific commissioned work by contemporary artists in the Metrotech Commons. He was also the driving force behind the celebrated visual arts program at Barclays Center, which features permanent commissioned works highlighting Brooklyn artists. Since 2008, Berliner has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, a nonprofit organization charged with the maintenance and programming of historic Madison Square Park in Manhattan. As a founding member of the Park’s curatorial committee, he played a key role in sourcing and presenting the work of contemporary artists exhibited in the park, developing worldwide recognition for its innovative art program Mad.Sq.Art. He joined the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Museum in 2011 and served as its Finance Chair and Treasurer commencing in 2012. He resigned from the Board in June 2016.
A bit more context

The Wall Street Journal added that his "hiring comes amid cost-cutting and buyouts aimed at reversing a projected $3 million deficit."

The Journal asked a question: "Anti-gentrification activists said you should be removed from the museum’s board because of your role at Forest City and the Barclays Center redevelopment project. Did that influence your decision to step down?"

'That had zero to do with it," Berliner responded. "Forest City has an incredible record of thoughtful, intelligent economic development." 

Well, whether or not his departure was fully amicable, he's sure maintaining the party line.

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…

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…

Former ESDC CEO Lago returns to NYC to head City Planning Commission

Carl Weisbrod, Mayor Bill de Blasio's City Planning Commission Chairman and Director of the Department of City Planning, is resigning,

And he's being replaced by Marisa Lago, currently a federal official, but who Atlantic Yards-ologists remember as the short-term Empire State Development Corporation CEO who, in an impolitic but candid 2009 statement, acknowledged that the project would take "decades."

Still, Lago not long after that played the good soldier at a May 2009 Senate oversight hearing, justifying changes in the project but claiming the public benefits remained the same.

By returning to City Planning, Lago will join former ESDC General Counsel Anita Laremont, who after retiring from the state (and taking a pension) got the job with the city.

Back at planning

Lago, a lawyer, in 1983 began work as an aide to City Planning Chairman Herb Sturz, and later served as the General Counsel to the president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Weisbrod himself.