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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

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Bloomberg news: Forest City Realty Trust has restarted talks on potential sale to Brookfield

Forest City Realty Trust (FCRT) stock jumped more than 14% yesterday, after Bloomberg reported that Forest City Realty Is Restarting Deal Talks With Brookfield, thus resuming a potential sale of the company to the giant, Toronto-based asset manager.

That suggests a reversal in strategy. FCRT in March, after its board concluded a six-month review of strategic alternatives, announced that it would remain a standalone company, albeit while replacing 9 of 13 board members, with new roles for hedge funds critical of the company, and further diminishing the role of the founding Ratner family.

(My long retrospective on Forest City Ratner/Forest City New York for The Bridge was timed to appear just before the parent company's expected decision.)

Two potential transactions before March

News coverage before that March announcement concerned two rumored transactions, one with Chicago-based Equity Commonwealth, the other with Brookfield Asset Management. A large company (Brookfield, suggested …

Yes, unfilled 38 Sixth middle-income affordable units now marketed outside of housing lottery, including on StreetEasy

It was predictable, wasn't it? As I wrote last November for City & State, in Simplistic math mangles the odds of affordable housing lotteries, it was a "good bet" that, as with the example of the "100% affordable" 535 Carlton that I described in City Limits in April 2017, "many of those not-so-affordable apartments" at the similar Pacific Park building, 38 Sixth, "will be hard to fill."

The building is all below-market, but 152 of the 303 units are for decidedly middle-income households. At least five such middle-income units are now on the open market, as described below, with two-bedroom apartments at $3,206 a month and three-bedroom ones at $3,695. (Studios are $2,121 and one-bedrooms are $2,663 at 38 Sixth.)

While 89,704 households filed applications for 303 apartments, the interest, understandably, skewed strongly toward lower income units. Only 1,876 households fit the income guidelines--up to 165% of Area Median Income (AMI)--for …

Post: expected next Council chief of staff worked until recently for lobbying powerhouse Kasirer (including on Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park)

Business as usual. The New York Post's Anna Sanders reported yesterday, in Council speaker’s next chief of staff was a top lobbyist:
Speaker Corey Johnson is expected to promote an ex-lobbyist to become the Council’s powerful chief of staff.
Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Goldman, once a top lobbyist with the city’s most profitable firm, is poised to replace his boss Ramon Martinez, several Council members told the Post.
The chief of staff advises lawmakers, keeps Council members in line and whips votes. Martinez was the Council’s highest paid employee, making $235,512 last year, and is headed for a gig at Chase bank.
Before Johnson first hired Goldman this winter, he had no experience in city government. Goldman was a VP at Kasirer, which made $11.48 million last year, and worked for the United Federation of Teachers. His Kasirer clients included real estate interests like Brookfield Properties and Forest City Ratner, plus the Hotel Association of New York. Goldman was hired in Febr…

Forest City wins skirmish in modular case after Court of Appeals decision, but battle continues

The long-running legal battle between Skanska USA Building and Forest City New York (and affiliates) over responsibility of cost overruns in the ill-fated modular project recently saw a partial win for the latter in the New York Court of Appeals.

In a decision dated 4/26/18 (but only recently made public), the court agreed that lower courts properly dismissed part of Skanska's claim, which alleged that Atlantic Yards B2 Owner, the special purpose entity that owned the building now known as 461 Dean, had breached the Construction Management and Fabrication Services Agreement (CM Agreement) by allegedly failing to comply with a state law.

Skanksa noted that Forest City's lease with Empire State Development (ESD), which formally owns the project site, requires that it to "satisfy all requirements of Section 5 of the New York State Lien Law . . . as such requirements and law are interpreted from time to time by [ESD]."

Skanska alleged that B2 Owner breached the CM Agreem…

An architectural critic's thoughts on revisiting buildings, and why that applies to the Barclays Center

What do architecture critics think of the state of architecture criticism today?, asked the Architects Newspaper 5/21/18, assessing a media environment with fewer paid critics, more online opportunities, and evolving challenges in assessment.

Justin Davidson, architecture and classical music critic for New York magazine, offered a thoughtful quote, excerpted below, noting that critics must also be reporters and that criticism usually goes beyond esthetics (an indirect knock, some might say, against previous critics like the New York Times's Herbert Muschamp):
In order to be effective, architecture critics have to look beyond architecture. I got into this business because I loved writing and I loved beautiful buildings. The deeper I dive, the more aware I am of the overlapping areas of expertise that get called into play every time the easy equipment shows up: finance, planning, zoning, activism, preservation, politics, performing arts, engineering, retail, gentrification, transit,…

Some reading: Islanders arena, a project in DUMBO, EB-5

A few links, the first two by me...

CityLab: The Costs Behind Hockey’s Return to Long Island

The Bridge: How a Huge New Project Will Change the Face of Dumbo

The Real Deal: Chinese EB-5 investors in major New York developments want their millions back (no mention of Atlantic Yards; also see this post by attorney Douglas Litowitz, The EB-5 Program Is Legally Defective And Has Become A Scam)

At "Community Conversation," vague discussion about delayed middle school, NYPD parking at garage

A couple of nuggets of Atlantic Yards-related information emerged at the "District 35 Community Conversation" on June 9 held at PS 9 in Prospect Heights, with representatives from several government agencies.

Though purportedly co-sponsored by Assemblymember Walter Mosley, Council Member Laurie Cumbo--er, Majority Leader, as she introduced herself--and her staff got all the introductions.

That delayed middle school

What's the current status of the middle school promised for the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park site? "The SCA [School Construction Authority] is not actually building the school," commented Tamara Smith, an SCA community relations manager. Rather, that's the job of the developer (which she referred to as Forest City Ratner, rather than Greenland Forest City Partners).

"But the developer got into a series of litigations, so the school building has been on hold," she said. "When they are done with legal," the design process will res…