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

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New ESD head is Eric Gertler, replacing Howard Zemsky; no reason to expect changes regarding Atlantic Yards

In a scoop before the official announcement yesterday, the Wall Street Journal's Jimmy Vielkind wrote New York Gov. Cuomo Nominates New State Economic Czar, indicating that "Howard Zemsky, a real-estate developer from Buffalo who has held the post since 2015," will be succeeded as president and CEO of Empire State Development by Eric Gertler, "a lawyer and publishing executive."

Gertler, currently Executive Chairman of U.S. News & World Report and formerly co-publisher of the New York Daily News, has previously served as Executive VP of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and as Managing Director of that body's Center for Economic Transformation.

He's been an ESD board member since June 2018. As Vielkind wrote, the Cuomo administration has "been searching for a successor to Mr. Zemsky for several months."

So Gertler and Zemsky come after other ESD leaders, including Kenneth Adams, Dennis Mullen, Marisa Lago, Pat Foye, and Ch…

“No Brunching While Black” or “Bar Operator Allegedly in Violation”? Looking closer at the Woodland controversy

To regulars, notably black millennials flocking to a bumping brunch often described as “lit,” the restaurant-bar-lounge Woodland, at the commercial corner of Flatbush and Sixth avenues, is a cherished haven, highlighted last year in Eater by Stacy-Ann Ellis as "The Joy of Black Brunch".

To several nearby neighbors, the local police precinct, and the local Community Board, Woodland is a problem nightclub, blasting music, attracting long, sometimes unruly lines down Sixth Avenue, and pouring so much alcohol that customers sometimes puke and pee on neighbors’ stoops, disturbing a residential district.

Brooklyn Community Board 6 has multiple times asked the State Liquor Authority (SLA) for Woodland’s liquor license to be revoked or suspended.

Since Woodland supporters, especially the Bertha Lewis-led Black Institute and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, think such problems are overblown, reflecting historic patterns of official bias, and thus charge racism by (mostly whi…

From the latest Construction Update: concrete foundation work at B15 scheduled for Monday

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, Aug. 19, was circulated at 4:32 pm Friday (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners.

There are few contrasts from the previous update, with only one example of announced new work (typically in red).

Concrete foundation work at B15 (664 Pacific) is scheduled for Monday, August 19, and will continue throughout the day. The concrete will be pumped into the excavated site by equipment located within the DOT-permitted area on Pacific Street.

After-hours work

In terms of continuing after-hours work, at the Vanderbilt Yard, "Contractor plans to work second shift to excavate and install necessary TMSC (train toilet servicing cleanouts) between 6 pm and 3 am," according to the notice.

And excavation work is expected to continue on Saturday at the B15 and B4 (18 Sixth Ave.) sites from 9 am through 5 pm, through the end o…

Tsai buys Nets, Barclays Center operating company, in faster-than-expected transaction; Yormark leaving; should NY get some of the Prokhorov's profits?

In a faster-than-expected second and final phase (which could have taken until 2021) of the sale of the Brooklyn Nets to fellow billionaire Joe Tsai, Mikhail Prokhorov is out, with some huge profits, selling the team at a valuation of $2.35 billion, a league record.

Note: the transaction was announced in April 2018, well before the Nets' surprisingly strong season in 2018-19, as well as the coup of signing star free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. In other words, the value was based on the New York market and the NBA's future as a global brand, not the Nets' specific performance. Now there's surely reason for Tsai to take over earlier than he had to.

Prokhorov's also selling the Barclays Center operating company (not the arena itself, a common error) to Tsai, maybe not at a significant profit. The Post reported it at $700 million, which is less than the $825 million valuation in 2016 when Prokhorov bought the remaining 55% of the company from Forest City Real…

Ignoring key criticisms, ESD board predictably approves new below-grade space for fitness center and field house

Update: see video, below.


It was both astounding and predictable.

Despite some pointed, public criticism from the best-informed member of the advisory board set up by Empire State Development (ESD), the parent board--after getting reassurances from staff--Thursday morning approved proposed changes in the guiding Atlantic Yards Modified General Project Plan and the associated Design Guidelines.

The issues regarding a proposed below-grade fitness center and field house--raised by Gib Veconi, a member of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation--were ignored.

The ESD argument was essentially that, since the new facilities--96,000 square feet below-ground, plus 9,000 square feet at street level--would generate less traffic than anticipated and studied in the 2006 iteration of the project, which had far more parking, no further environmental review was necessary.

Indeed, there likely would be fewer vehicles approaching the facility, to be operated by Chelsea Piers under two bui…