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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.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won't be so cheap.

As…

Given "complexity and longevity" of Pacific Park, state advisor seeks more process to support public interest as project changes (Site 5, etc.)

One looming question about Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park is the fate of Site 5, currently home to P.C. Richard and Modell's, at the parcel bounded by Fourth, Atlantic, and Flatbush avenues, and Pacific Street.

According to plans floated in 2016, that site, slated for a 250-foot tower with 440,000 square feet, could turn into a two-tower project stretching 785 feet tall and nearly three times the bulk.

How would that happen? State approval is still needed to shift bulk from the unbuilt B1 site, aka "Miss Brooklyn," the tower over the arena plaza, and that has been delayed by a legal challenge to the condemnation from P.C. Richard.

But the approval process for that huge project--even suggested last year as a potential home for Amazon.com's second headquarters--may move forward this year. So Jaime Stein, the board member of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) who's pushed the most for oversight, has suggested protecting the public interest b…

With transfer to Greenland, questions pending re off-site affordable housing (Forest City's role), the Community Benefits Agreement (where's the monitor?) and the school (when?)

So, now that Forest City Realty Trust is selling all but 5% of its 30% share in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, what about that off-site affordable housing? And what about the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)?

Don't hold your breath. We haven't heard a lot about either since the first deal between Forest City Realty Trust and Greenland USA closed in 2014.

And, perhaps most importantly, the joint venture continued Forest City's pattern of not hiring the Independent Compliance Monitor required by the CBA. Does anyone think that, without significant pressure, Greenland--owned by the government of Shanghai, in large part--will have any reason to bring third-party scrutiny to the project?

Off-site for-sale affordable housing

As I reported in May 2015, a recently unveiled LLC agreement between original developer Forest City Ratner and new joint venture partner/overseer Greenland Holdings, explained the promise to build 600 to 1000 for-sale affordable units at or near the Atlantic…

Newsday on Belmont arena: yes, 2021 best-case scenario; unspecified state funds will support full-time LIRR service

A recent Newsday article by Jim Baumbach, Analysis: Islanders’ Belmont arena expected to take 3 years to open, concludes that the planned Belmont arena likely won't open before the 2021 hockey season.

Indeed, I wrote that earlier, relying, as did Baumbach, on statements at a 12/21/17 board meeting of Empire State Development (ESD).

What Baumbach added notably were comments from Islanders’ c-owner Jon Ledecky on WFAN regarding full-time rail road service:
“There’s money in the budget according to the governor and his people,” Ledecky said. “We have to make sure that money gets spent and that station becomes a vital part of the community, not just when there is horse racing and not just when there is a concert or a game. All the time, 365 [days a year], 24 hours a day.” That number is not specified, and state and Long Island Rail Road officials wouldn't add details

Unmentioned by Newsday: as I reported, the state hasn't done a market study regarding the arena's prospects…

Though Greenland now runs the joint venture, don't rule out multiple owners (starting with 461 Dean)

The news seems to be that control of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park is now consolidated, with Greenland USA about to own 95% of the joint venture Greenland Forest City Partners, diminishing Forest City's role.

That said, beyond the arena operating company (controlled by Mikhail Prokhorov), there will be at least one new owner of a residential tower reasonable soon: Forest City Realty Trust is planning to sell 461 Dean, the only tower it owns outright. And I'd bet the buyer isn't Greenland. (Otherwise we'd know, right?)

And there could be more. Wrote the New York Post's Steve Cuozzo yesterday:
The Greenland-Forest City joint venture was reported in 2016 and 2017 to be seeking buyers for several Pacific Park sites. A source familiar with Greenland’s thinking said on Monday, “Of course, they can’t rule out sale opportunities in the future, but the very clear focus now is on development.” Of course they can't rule out sale opportunities. Stay tuned.

In press release re Forest City selling most of its Pacific Park stake to Greenland, more rhetoric than insight (timetable?)

There's not a lot new--but there is some rhetoric and misdirection--in the press release issued yesterday (bottom) by Greenland USA--the stateside arm of Shanghai-based Greenland Holding, owned significantly by the government of Shanghai--and Forest City Realty Trust.

After all, the New York Post already had the story that Greenland would buy 25% of Forest City's 30%, thus increasing its stake from 70% to 95%. And that the B4 tower on the northeast corner of the arena block would be the first to move forward. And--unmentioned in the press release--that the new firm L&L MAG would consult on the project. (Also yesterday: the Real Deal reported that construction chief Bob Sanna would run Forest City New York, at least for now.)

The press release, "Forest City and Greenland Reach Agreement to Restructure Pacific Park Brooklyn Partnership," subtitled "Next Round of Development Moving Forward," crucially omits a detail: what is Greenland paying? And is Forest…

New image of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park shows fully built-out project (with giant Site 5)

There's something astonishing included in the web site set up for the new firm L&L MAG, established by Forest City's MaryAnne Gilmartin with new partners, plus former colleagues: a rendering of the fully built-out Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park.

I've annotated it below with four pink arrows pointing to the completed buildings. A green arrow at left points to the building for which we've never seen a rendering: the giant complex planned for Site 5, currently home to P.C. Richard and Modell's, which, according to plans shared in 2016, could be 785 feet tall. State approval is still needed to shift bulk from the unbuilt B1 site, aka "Miss Brooklyn," the tower over the arena plaza.

The green arrow at right points to B4, the building at the northeast corner of the arena block, which is supposed to be 511 feet tall, and would be the next building built, with a 2019 groundbreaking. The building was once projected to take two years and three months to finish--mi…

Forest City selling most of remaining project stake to Shanghai-based Greenland; Gilmartin firm to consult; huge tower starts 2019?

So MaryAnne Gilmartin's new firm L&L MAG (web site live today), indicating the loss of key Forest City New York personnel (notably those working on Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park), is apparently a secondary part of the story: the project will soon be controlled by a company owned by the government of Shanghai.

As the New York Post's Steve Cuozzo reported yesterday, without a named source, Forest City to sell all but 5% of Pacific Park to Greenland USA, meaning Forest City, already the minority  owner of Greenland Forest City Partners, will go from a 30% share to a 5% one. No sale price has been announced, but when it surfaces, it may indicate another loss for parent Forest City Realty Trust(which may need losses for tax purposes to counter gains from other dispositions).

An official announcement should be soon; a meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation Wednesday surely will address it.

Gilmartin's firm is will consult on the project, according to t…

OK, now Long Island Nets are giving away free kids' tickets (a bargain?)

So it doesn't look like minor league basketball is proving to be an anchor tenant for the Nassau Coliseum.

Newsday, in a 1/12/18 article headlined Long Island Nets games to offer free admission for kids 11 and under, explained that starting January 20, adults will get two kids tickets free by buying one adult ticket "at the discounted price of $20." Tickets can be purchased on ticketmaster.com, using the promotion code “LI KIDS.” (The Long Island Nets tweeted it the next day.)

That may be a bargain for some games--standard admission for games I checked is $15, $18, or $25- but it should be noted that tickets for several games, via StubHub, are just $6 or $7. See graphic at right.

The claim

“We are excited to offer the ‘Kids Go Free’ program to make world-class family friendly entertainment more accessible,” Brett Yormark, chief executive of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, said in a statement.

Or, as was the pattern during the dark days of the Meadowlands arena, to g…

New Atlantic Terminal/Atlantic Center mall owner: "experiential retail" on third floor, rents doubling

In Betting on Brooklyn: One Major Retail Landlord's Survival Plan, The Deal (via The Street) interviews Ronald Dickerman, founder of Madison International Realty, which bought Forest City's New York retail properties, including the Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls, in a deal that closed 12/22/17.

He suggested that the foot traffic from the nearby transit hub and the 6,000-unit development means "It's pretty hard to screw this one up." He said they'll "raise rents from $30 per square foot to $60"--an indication that Forest City Realty Trust, parent of Forest City New York, just wanted to get out of the mall business.

As he's said before, he wants Barclays Center visitors to eat next door: "We are going to do a facade redevelopment, some interior renovations, and definitely food and beverage concepts. There's a space on the third floor [presumably at Atlantic Center] that could be experiential retail."

Well, it could be ex…

Real Estate Weekly claims 550 Vanderbilt stands out because it's in a "public park."

Would you believe that Real Estate Weekly, in a 1/12/18 encomium, Top New York apartment buildings that stand out in the crowd, included 550 Vanderbilt under the category "Best Bonus (A Public Park)."

Now, it's not the "the first building to open at Pacific Park Brooklyn"--that was the arena, and then 461 Dean.

But check out the broker-speak from agent Ryan Serhant: “This is the first chance to own in a building inside of a park. How often do you get the chance to do that in New York? It’s a great deal for people who don’t want to look back and say, I wish I did that.”

Sure looks like a park in the rendering below, from the architects behind the planned 550 Clinton. 550 Vanderbilt--at 202 feet and counting--is at the southeast edge of the project site. (And won't there be a little noise and dust?) Remember, publicly accessible open space is not a public park.

From the Bridge: Is Real Estate Titan MaryAnne Gilmartin Starting a New Firm? (and what happens to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park)

From The Bridge:  Is Real Estate Titan MaryAnne Gilmartin Starting a New Firm?, subtitled The powerful Brooklyn executive appears to be taking key Forest City staffers with her. Will the team have a role in the Pacific Park mega-project?

The article is based in part on a web site apparently developed for the firm’s launch, but not yet attached to a company web address. The above link was made inoperative, shortly after my article went live, but the archived link should remain.

What about Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park?

We don't know, but Forest City New York will have trouble running the project after losing its key leaders. Will the new L&L MAG buy Forest City's 30%? Will Greenland USA buy most of that, but hire L&L Mag?

Stay tuned for what I suspect will be further news coverage/public relations announcements, as well as the Wednesday meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation.

A few screenshots below:




L&L MAG web site screen capture by Norman Od…

Developer of "100% affordable" 535 Carlton now offers free month; net rent for 1BR = $2,474, 2BR = $2,975

So it's come to this. In an effort to fill the "100% affordable" 535 Carlton, the developers are now offering one month free on middle-income one- and two-bedroom units, at $2,680 and $3,223 respectively. See the screenshots below.

Six specific units are listed on Streeteasy, but as the listing for Unit 520 below indicates, "various one bedrooms and two bedrooms are still available." That implies that the 36 studios at $2.137 and the seven three-bedrooms at $3,716 (subject to notable scorn when the story of still-available units blew up last November) may be taken, or at least aren't being offered now.

Interestingly enough, because the rents (see lottery ad) are set by a government program, limited they must list the gross rent, not the net rent, which is typical advertising-speak when incentives are offered.

By my calculation, the net monthly rent for a two-bedroom unit over 13 months is [(3223 x 12)/13], or $2,975. For a one-bedroom, it's [(2680 x 12)…

From the latest Construction Alert: nothing new

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning January 15, was circulated at 5:54 pm Friday (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners. There's nothing new compared to the previous update--at least nothing in red to indicate new work.

"New" work

Outside 38 Sixth Avenue (B3), street paving work "is expected to commence subject to weather," though it was supposed to commence four weeks ago. (Did they just not update the document?)

Weekend work

Weekend electrical utility installations are expected to continue in the rail yard and in the tunnel. No times were cited.

The demolition that hasn't happened

As stated in the past 42 construction updates, demolition at Block 1120, the railyard block between Sixth and Carlton avenues, could commence upon receipt of Department of Buildings and Department of Transportation permits. A community notice will be distribu…

With little notice, Atlantic Yards CDC meeting announced for next Wednesday (something's up, I suspect)

Something is up, I suspect. (Update: see news of Forest City's sale of most of its stake to Greenland USA and  new real estate firm involving Forest City principals.)

At the most recent bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting on 11/14/17, Tobi Jaiyesimi, executive director of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), was asked about the next AY CDC meeting. It hadn't been scheduled, she said.

Now, with just five days notice, we learn--from a notice that emerged late yesterday on the web site of the parent Empire State Development (ESD)--that the AY CDC will meet at 3 pm on Wednesday, 1/17/18. That's not very transparent.

And it's being held at ESD offices in Midtown Manhattan, rather than, as has been mostly the pattern, at Long Island University, closer to the public concerned about the project. Also not so transparent.

What's up?

The vague agenda indicates approval of the minutes and public comments, as well as the "…

That Dean Street construction fence is down, pretty much

From the Dean Street Block Association, 1/8/18, the 16-foot fence, with those large murals, was being dismantled, after neighborhood pressure :


By two nights ago, it looked as in the photo below, with a jersey barrier in front.


The five criticisms of megaprojects: yes, some apply to AY/PP (lack of governance & public benefit)

This is the third of three posts reflecting on megaprojects and Atlantic Yards, responding to recent articles in Project Management Journal. Here are the first and the second.


In the December 2017 issue of Project Management Journal, Sydney-based researcher Mike Harris writes Competitive Precinct Projects: The Five Consistent Criticisms of "Global" Mixed-Use Megaprojects.

In attempting to classify challenges and criticisms regarding mixed-use projects on government-owned land, including Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park (one of the smallest), Harris understandably relies on secondhand and sometimes stale information, but still offers some useful food for thought.

He calls them "Competitive Precinct Projects," because, beyond "their scale and mixed-use nature, they share the premise of elevating the competitive position of their metropolitan economies into regional and global economic networks."

Indeed, that was a justification for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, t…