Skip to main content


Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in November 2017, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

The previous graphic, from August 2017 (without the ghost B1)

What about EB-5? After temporary extension, reforms still pending

With all the publicity regarding controversial national legislation and rulemaking, we might lose sign of the fact that the EB-5 investor visa program--used three times to bring cheap loans to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park--has gotten a brief extension without reform.

As the law firm Mintz Levin noted 12/8/17, the most recent continuing resolution passed by Congress to extend current spending levels for two weeks also extended EB-5 with the current minimum investment levels, $500,000 in a so-called Targeted Employment Area, or TEA. Such TEAs, which are defined as rural areas or areas with high unemployment, are routinely gerrymandered.

The firm notes:
It is unlikely that any reform and reauthorization measure would pass as a stand-alone bill, but if consensus is reached on their proposal it could be attached to the next longterm spending bill making action unlikely until sometime in early 2018, but certainly possible by year end depending on how negotiations proceed leading up to Decemb…

Daily Beast: Prokhorov had accounts in sketchy bank (but no crimes alleged, and oligarch denies he concealed assets)

In an exclusive 12/13/17, the Daily Beast published The Shady Bank Where This Russian NBA Owner Stashed Money, suggesting a whiff of scandal surrounding Mikhail Prokhorov, currently owner of the Brooklyn Nets (about to sell 49%) and the Barclays Center operating company:
But a 2014 “confidential” report written by the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) found that the wealthy Russian, a so-called politically exposed person—finance parlance for government officials, candidates, and their relatives who are deemed to be at a higher risk of bribery or money laundering—kept 23 accounts at FBME Bank Ltd., formerly known as the Federal Bank of the Middle East.
All 23 of the Prokhorov accounts had been set up by “front men,” according to the CBC report, and FBME was found not to have complied with Cyprus’ own anti-money-laundering law in accepting the deposits.
The bank was shuttered in May of this year following a U.S. Treasury Department statement noting that it was used to facilitate a host of in…

Treyger's Council bill would make affordable housing lotteries more transparent; needs finer-grained analysis of moderate- and middle-income bands

Brooklyn Council Member Mark Treyger has a good idea--to make housing lotteries more transparent--but, as I explain below, it needs a few tweaks to better understand the response to higher-income units.
When affordable housing lotteries are conducted, residents often ask “affordable for who?”

My new proposed bill aims to help answer that important question #transparency#accountability#affordableforwho — Mark Treyger (@MarkTreyger718) December 1, 2017Treyger's bill would require the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to report, regarding each housing lottery, the number of applications received and selected, plus the number selected and subsequently rejected and also the number placed on a waiting list, all disaggregated by household income:
Extremely low income (up to 30% of AMI)Very low income (31% to 50% of AMI)Low income (51% to 80% of AMI)Moderate income (81% to 165% of AMI) This also would be disaggregated by demographic information, pres…

Belmont bid details for hockey arena, soccer stadium emerge, but unknowns (bid, cost, tax revenues, public assistance) remain

It's big news on Long Island, at least, as the cover of yesterday's Newsday (right) suggests, but it should have ripples in Brooklyn, where the New York Islanders face an uneasy future (as I wrote) at the Barclays Center.

The two respondents (after one dropped out) to the Belmont Park RFP, a group including the Islanders and another including the New York City FC soccer team, made public presentations of their polished proposals on Sunday at a nearby high school.

The renderings looked good, and the numbers impressive. For example, as Newsday's Stefanie Dazio and Jim Baumbach reported:
The Islanders’ proposal includes an 18,000-seat, year-round arena that would host 150 events annually, as well as 435,000 square feet of space for retail, a hotel with 200 to 250 rooms, and a 10,000 square-foot “innovation center” that would be developed with input from residents.
NYCFC, a professional soccer team partially owned by the Yankees, is calling for a 26,000-seat open-air stadium …

Coming to 535 Carlton (maybe): another large location of Mekelburg's (with a late closing time many neighbors oppose)

It's not certain--no lease has been signed--but the major retail tenant at 535 Carlton, at the corner of Dean Street and Carlton Avenue, could be another branch of Mekelburg's. It opened in Clinton Hill in 2014 as a "cozy," much-praised "Fine Foods & Craft Beer" store/cafe, and in May was announced as the anchor tenant for 325 Kent, the first building in the Domino Sugar complex in Williamsburg.

That much larger outlet, at 4,000 square feet, should open in 2018, while the 535 Carlton location--also significantly larger than the Clinton Hill space--wouldn't open until 2019, at the earliest, according to statements made at a recent public meeting.
No other retail tenants have surfaced for the four Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park buildings to open: 461 Dean, 550 Vanderbilt, and 38 Sixth. That may reflect lingering construction in those buildings and the longer-term commitment of a retail lease, which can be contingent on a custom buildout, as well as the h…

Not opposing Trump now: real estate executives who'll benefit from tax revisions

I wrote in January how real estate developer Bruce Ratner joined celebrities urging Congress to "vigorously oppose” (then) President-elect Donald Trump’s “racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, anti-worker, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-environmental policies.”

I credited Ratner for sticking his neck out, expressing sentiments that surely many others in his field share but are unwilling to admit publicly. However, I wrote, his firm (now Forest City New York) and parent Forest City Realty Trust must pursue value for shareholders.

So, I wrote, if that means lobbying--with Republican Al D'Amato, a Trump ally--in Washington and making deals with the Republican administration, well, don't be surprised.

Now, as the New York Times reported 12/5/17, Tax Plan Crowns a Big Winner: Trump’s Industry:
House and Senate Republicans, in their divergent bills, both offered steeply reduced rates to corporate giants, partnerships and family-owned firms across the board. But when it came time t…