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

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Giving eminent domain a good name: after nine years, a caption regarding a "strange bedfellows" Atlantic Yards meeting kinda came true

Mike Bloomberg's back in the news, which reminded me I never posted on this, another example--as with Bloomberg's kiss from ACORN's Bertha Lewis--of the "strange bedfellows" that Atlantic Yards could generate.

Hey, remember that odd breakfast meeting in, May 2010, with Mayor Mike Bloomberg, developer and Brooklyn Nets minority owner Bruce Ratner, incoming Brooklyn Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov, and "resident Brooklyn-credibility totem" (to quote David Roth) Jay-Z?

The breakfast was a photo op only, so the New York Times invited readers to contribute captions.

As I wrote at the time, most captions capitalized on the incongruity of the mayor meeting the hip-hop mogul--a Times photo including Prokhorov surely would've generated different cultural quips--but a few, including mine, referenced the project at hand.

One of the more telling captions came from Daniel Goldstein, long the face of the Atlantic Yards opposition, addressing Jay-Z by his ni…

Some detail on the Tsai-Levy split: "mismatched expectations" (but still murky)

In Joe Tsai and David Levy: a case of mismatched expectations, NetsDaily on 2/17/20 summarized the emerging explanation for the curiously brief term of Nets/arena CEO David Levy, who was gone after less than two months.

Tsai recently told Bloomberg News it was a case of differing expectations:
“He was already looking ahead at how to grow the J Tsai sports portfolio, but we also needed someone to do the nuts and bolts,” Tsai said during the interview. “Maybe he thought that he wanted to do something that’s bigger and he could just bring in other people to do it, and I’m of a view that before you outsource something you should do it yourself.” As NetsDaily noted, Levy talked about such things as mobile betting, esports, and new sports technology: "Still, one team insider told NetsDaily that Levy was surprised to be managing something as small as the Nets after running Turner Media."
As previously noted, Levy told the Times, "It wasn’t one thing. It just wasn’t the job I s…

Flashback: when Bloomberg was asked (in 2012) about Barclays Center jobs, he showed his peevishness

In light of former Mayor Mike Bloomberg's unimpressiveperformance at last night's Democratic candidates' debate in Las Vegas, here's a flashback to an Atlantic Yards event where the mayor displayed his peevishness upon being questioned.

At a press event at the under construction Barclays Center 4/26/12, Mayor Mike Bloomberg and developer Bruce Ratner announced 2,000 arena jobs, saying Brooklynites, including public housing residents, would get priority.

But that nice round number was overinflated. From the press scrum, I asked for the full-time equivalent (FTE) job figure.

I don’t have any idea what that is,” responded the famously data-driven mayor, as I wrote for Daily Intel. "Bruce, you want to--?"

Then Bloomberg cut himself off, and couldn't resist showing his smarts: "Full-time equivalent jobs, I don't know how you--it's really different, it's hard to calculate. If the average person works 30 hours, and you say a full-time job is 40 …

Does building more housing lower rents or push them up? Studies suggest complicated verdict.

On 2/14/19, the New York Times published (online) A Luxury Apartment Rises in a Poor Neighborhood. What Happens Next?.
Writes Emily Badger:
It’s even plausible that both stories could be true at the same time — that new housing might help lower rents across a metro area even as it signals the popularity of a particular neighborhood and nudges up rents nearby.
...Taken together, [new studies'] findings suggest that new housing can ease rising rents in other buildings close by. But their verdict is mixed on whether lower-income renters directly benefit from new supply, too. The studies confirm that new buildings drive more amenities, like restaurants, but new supply tamps down rent increases, at least in the higher-end categories.

Writes Badger:
“These results don’t deny the reality of gentrification,” said Ingrid Gould Ellen, a professor at N.Y.U. and an adviser to Ms. Li. “They don’t deny the reality of crushing rent burdens. They simply suggest that building more housing in a neigh…

Strange bedfellows: Behind that Atlantic Yards alliance of Bertha Lewis (then of NY ACORN) and Mayor Mike Bloomberg

OK, then explain this (not-Photoshopped) 2005 pic of NYCC predecessor ACORN's Executive Director Bertha Lewis and Mike. (Atlantic Yards made strange bedfellows.) — Eric McClure (@EricMcClureBK) February 17, 2020
Explanation: Bertha is no longer on the payroll and she is pissed. — Aaron Naparstek (@Naparstek) February 17, 2020 Yes, Atlantic Yards made strange bedfellows. But it was a little more complicated than a payroll issue.

During a time when the Bloomberg administration was unwilling to require affordable housing as part of rezonings (see: Downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City, Park Slope's Fourth Avenue) that delivered enormous benefit to landowners, Lewis, executive director of New York ACORN, and a founder of the Working Families Party, made a strategic alliance with Forest City Ratner.

The developer was willing to promise--if not truly commit to--a significant amount of affordable housing, in exchange for an enormous in…

In Los Angeles, Greenland's Metropolis is done. It's just not well-situated.

I recently visited Los Angeles and almost stayed in the Hotel Indigo, part of the three-tower Metropolis development, which was recently completed (and is not fully captured in the photo I took below).

The price was a relative bargain, perhaps because, well, Metropolis isn't well-situated if you want to walk around downtown Los Angeles, especially if you want access to the nearest Metro station. It's a rather forbidding 9-10 minute walk, especially off-hours. It's near a freeway on-ramp, too.

The location is close to the Staples Center and L.A. Live, but not so close to downtown Los Angeles eating and shopping. And that's likely part of why it's been tough to sell all the condos.

But Greenland USA--see logo at top left in photo below--got the project finished. (Here are my photos from a visit in 2018.)

The question in Brooklyn is: will they stay the course, or sell off more parcels, or even abandon the project? The development of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park is mor…

In "The Golden Age of White Collar Crime," a reminder of missed priorities (and it makes me think of EB-5)

The Golden Age of White Collar Crime was, published 2/10/20 by HuffPost's Highline, with the subheading "Elite lawbreaking is out of control. This is the grotesque story of an existential threat to American society," Michael Hobbes lays down some harsh lessons:
OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, nearly every institution of American life has taken on the unmistakable stench of moral rot. Corporate behemoths like Boeing and Wells Fargo have traded blue-chip credibility for white-collar callousness. Elite universities are selling admission spots to the highest Hollywood bidder. Silicon Valley unicorns have revealed themselves as long cons (Theranos), venture-capital cremation devices (Uber, WeWork) or straightforward comic book supervillains (Facebook). Every week unearths a cabinet-level political scandal that would have defined any other presidency. From the blackouts in California to the bloated bonuses on Wall Street to the entire biography of Jeffrey Epstein, it is impossible to…