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

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Forest City Realty Trust shareholders, by significant margin, approve acquisition by Brookfield

Despite the significant questions raised by former CEO and co-Chairman Al Ratner, a lawsuit, as well as a deeply divided board, Forest City Realty Trust shareholders, in votes totaled yesterday, weren't swayed from approving an acquisition by Brookfield Asset Management.

So when the acquisition is completed, by 12/10/18, it will mark the end of a standalone company founded in 1920, as Forest City will become a part of a much larger corporation.

As detailed in previous articles, Forest City was considered undervalued, due to the complexity of its business, an atypical corporate structure (for most of its existence, not a real estate investment trust, or REIT), and a two-class share structure that left the founding Ratner extended family in control.

That share structure and a family controlled board was looked at critically by experts in corporate governance. Over the last few years, Forest City streamlined its operations, for example lowering debt and risk, turned over some board s…

From the Brooklyn Eagle: For Amazon HQ2 deal, Atlantic Yards serves as a warning

My article today, headlined For Amazon HQ2 deal, Atlantic Yards serves as a warning, begins:
The plan for a new Amazon complex in Long Island City, Queens, arrived this week with huge fanfare — at least 25,000 jobs! (over ten years). But we must remember that, despite gauzy estimates about public benefits, nothing is certain. So promises of jobs and tax revenue deserve deep scrutiny and continued oversight. For the rest of the article, click here.

Pencil in Nov. 29 for Atlantic Yards CDC meeting. Otherwise, not much progress reported at recent QoL meeting.

As expected, there was not a lot of news at the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting held two nights ago, 11/13/18, since the previous meeting was held just five weeks earlier.

Nor was there even a PowerPoint regarding the steady but not easy to grasp progress in work at the railyard. Work at the project's East Portal should be finished "hopefully end of March," said Greenland USA's Scott Solish, as should demolition of the "bump buildings" that jut out into the railyard from Atlantic Avenue.

Solish also made the surprise announcement--based on a late-breaking request--that a crane would be working in the railyard for four hours that night, beginning at midnight, to remove a Long Island Rail Road substation.


Perhaps the most notable thing was that the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) might actually have its third meeting of the year, with a tentative date of Nov. 29. "We're very, very close," said…

As Forest City shareholder vote approaches, a lawsuit from former CEO Al Ratner aims to stall Brookfield deal (updated)

Updated: Forest City, according to the Plain Dealer, called Ratner's filing too late and charged he was trying to game the system. A judge denied the request to delay the vote, saying Ratner couldn't prove irreparable harm.

Citing “materially inaccurate information and omission of material facts” in the proxy statement produced for shareholders to evaluate the pending acquisition by Brookfield Asset Management, former Forest City Enterprises (now Forest City Realty Trust) CEO and co-Chairman Albert Ratner two days ago filed suit in federal court to postpone the special meeting of shareholders set for tomorrow, 11/15/18.

His goal: a more honest proxy statement regarding the firm’s potential value and the process behind the sale. (See press release, suit, and proxy statement at bottom.)

Ratner, building on themes expressed in three previous press releases, argues, more pointedly than before, that the sale, endorsed by Forest City’s board majority after a narrow 7-5 vote that fe…

Before Quality of Life meeting, a report slamming Barclays Center elevator (plus competing meeting to pull electeds)

Tonight's Atlantic Yards Quality of Life meeting--with a vague agenda and not much new since the previous meeting just five weeks earlier--is probably not the biggest meeting at that hour for public officials like Assemblyman Walter Mosley, Council Member (um, Majority Leader) Laurie Cumbo, and Rep. Yvette Clarke, and their staffers.

They'll be at a Crown Heights Development Town Hall from 6-9 pm, at Full Gospel Assembly at 131 Sullivan Place to discuss five major developments in the southern part of the neighborhood, including two near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Bedford Union Armory.

That out-of-service elevator at the Barclays plaza

That said, there is one piece of news that deserves some discussion tonight. Yesterday, the TransitCenter, a nonprofit organization concerned with--duh--transit, announced The El-Evaders, stating that "eight of New York City’s wealthiest real estate owners are shirking their legal obligation to maintain and operate their subway stat…

As shareholder vote on Forest City-Brookfield deal approaches, two tempered endorsements, more Al Ratner pushback

Two advisory firms have given shareholders the green light to sell shares in Forest City Realty Trust (FCRT) and thus approve the pending sale to Brookfield Asset Management, which was advanced by FCRT's board in a contentious 7-5 vote and has faced both board dissent and forceful criticism from a former co-chair and CEO.

Those advisors, one of them clearly lacking full-throated enthusiasm, could give institutional shareholders like the Vanguard Group backup for a "yes" vote on the merger. It's reminiscent, in an unrelated but not irrelevant context, of the minimal "rational basis" standard required for judges in New York State to uphold the actions of a state agency.

The special stockholder meeting to vote on the transaction is Thursday, Nov. 15, in the offices of the law firm LLP, in Cleveland, where Forest City is based. Even if the acquisition is approved, the deal won't close until the end of the year.

Ratner: a bad deal

That former CEO, Albert Ratn…

In "sad fall" of radio host Carton, convicted of securities fraud, a key Barclays Center cameo

There was a time when WFAN host Craig Carton of the show "Boomer & Carton" was one of the most prominent skeptics of the Nets' move to Brooklyn. But that came before the high-paid Carton made his own deals with the Barclays Center, then misappropriated investors' money to pay off gambling debt, and then lost his job and now his freedom.

Let's recap. As I wrote in December 2008, Carton had a scrappy interchange with Brett Yormark, then CEO of the New Jersey Nets, who was promising a move soon to Brooklyn.

While, in retrospect, Carton was wrong in asserting, "You're not moving to Brooklyn," he did get Yormark to say he was "convinced" that the Nets would be in Brooklyn "for the 11-12 season." At the time, I wrote that 2012 was a more realistic best-case scenario, and that's how it turned out.

When Carton suggested the Nets move to the Prudential Center in Newark in the interim, Yormark pooh-pooh'ed that, saying the Nets…

The gentrification playbook: artist Mike Perry at "Sunset Yards"

A former garment factory and warehouse in Sunset Park, at 3rd Avenue and 39th Street, has been dubbed "Sunset Yards" by its new owners, who are thus pursuing "floor-to-ceiling renovations... modern industrial-style finishes and state-of-the-art infrastructure," according to the web site.

States the owner:
Uniquely positioned between the subway and the expressway, and standing adjacent to open rail yards, the building enjoys 360 degrees of unobstructed views and sits around the corner from Industry City’s six million square feet of retail, workspace, and amenities.In other words, what was once a sort of isolated building is in the thick of things. It certainly looks different from the visual in the building's digital brochure, pictured at left.

The "Yards"

Any project with the name "Yards" appended inevitably recalls Atlantic Yards, now Pacific Park, which came after the successful sports facility development in Baltimore called Camden Yards.

From the latest Construction Update: "minor exterior repairs" at 550 Vanderbilt

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 was circulated at 3:41 pm Friday (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners.

There are few changes from the previous update, with the only truly new thing, as far as I can tell, outside the 550 Vanderbilt Avenue condo, aka B11:
● A boom lift and hanging scaffold will be used to complete minor exterior repairs during this reporting period.

Other work continues at the railyard and in tenant fit-out at two towers.
Also, the updates can be confusing, since they indicate--in red--work that's supposed to be new but actually was forecasted in the previous update, but perhaps never actually started. Such long-promised activity includes various work at the railyard:
● The demolition and removal of the existing Substation equipment and structures west of the 6th Avenue Bridge may begin during this reporting period.

Quality of Life meeting Tuesday; not many clues from agenda

OK, the agenda's out for the next Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, this Tuesday, Nov. 13.

And, as you can see at right, it's typically vague, announcing representatives of the three entities related to the project: Empire State Development, Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, and Greenland Forest City Partners.

As I wrote 10/27/18, this meeting is just five weeks after the previous such meeting.

The issues at the last meeting included the project timetable, project monitoring, and plans for specific towers, notably B4, aka 18 Sixth Avenue. It's hard to see what will be new, but perhaps there will be more details on some other towers.

The details:
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 @ 6:00 PM
Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building
55 Hanson Place
1st Floor Conference Room
Brooklyn, NY 11217 Oh, and maybe we'll here more about the advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), which is supposed to meet quarterly but still…