Skip to main content

Current conditions? Don't trust the photos on FCR's web site

There's a slideshow on the new Atlantic Yards web site (dubbed AtlanticYards.con by Lumi Rolley of NoLandGrab.org) that purports to show the current conditions of buildings in the project footprint. While some conditions are current, others are decidedly stale, thus obscuring renovations or new signage.

Notably, as shown at left, the residential building at 636 Pacific Street, renovated in 2002, is shown in pre-renovation state. At right is a photo I shot yesterday. This is also the building where Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein lives (and since he hasn't sold and signed a gag order as part of the process, he hangs a DDDB sign from his window).

Forest City Ratner is trying to have it both ways: on the one hand, this building seems blighted (and thus a justification for the exercise of eminent domain); on the other, this was a building where condo owners, according to the New York Times, doubled their money. Forest City Ratner wasn't paying handsomely for an empty shell; they were paying some upper middle-class residents who had invested in a nice apartment to hand over their apartments and to desist from any support of groups opposing the Atlantic Yards project.

Missing BUILD

At left is 640 Pacific Street, described on AtlanticYards.com as a "low-density commercial/other use" building. At right is the photo I shot yesterday, which shows the sign at 640 Pacific and the renovated facade of its neighbor.



While 640 Pacific Street (not Avenue, as the slideshow states) is low-density--it could be four floors and about 50 percent larger given the current Floor Area Ratio allowed, the site likely could accommodate more density, if its eight-story neighbor is a cue. That's an argument for rezoning.

However, to build an arena (this building would be near center court) and four much more dense surrounding buildings of 620 feet, 511 feet, 428 feet, and 322 feet, there's no rezoning. Because this is a state project, the Empire State Development Corporation can override current zoning.

There's little excuse for Forest City Ratner not to provide a current photo of the building. After all, they're offering the space rent-free to BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development), which FCR funded even as the developer and BUILD denied such funding.

Back of a building

At left, 463 Dean Street is shown on FCR's slideshow as a dilapidated residential building--but that's an unusual second building in the back part of the lot. (At right are the two buildings of 461 and 463 Dean Street at the street line, from Brooklyn Views in December.)



Engineer Jay Butler, hired to represent community groups in their challenge to FCR's plans to demolish buildings on five properties it owns, said in an affidavit that the building was worth saving:
There is a 3-story structure in the rear yard of 463 Dean Street. This type of building is potentially valuable because construction in the rear 30 feet of a lot is no longer permitted (except at corner lots). If demolished it could not be rebuilt. For this reason, most owners would invest in preservation rather than allow it to fall into ruin.

Forest City Ratner also plans to demolish 461 and 463 Dean Street, relying on a report by their engineers, which said that the interiors had deteriorated significantly. Butler, who was not allowed to inspect the interiors, gave a preliminary assessment:
Any defects to the buildings or threats to public safety appear to be consistent with conditions found at countless other buildings in New York City. Such defects can be safely stabilized with commonly-used repair measures.
...In other parts of New York City (Harlem, Clinton, Greenwich Village, Brooklyn Heights, etc.) buildings with these exterior conditions would be restored, particularly the severely damaged rear unit.


What does it look like?

Forest City Ratner's slideshow left out some of the nicer buildings, like the renovated Spalding factory at Sixth Avenue and Pacific Street (photo taken yesterday). For some of the better buildings in the site footprint, look at the brief compilation by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn. And for the most balanced (and broad) photo essay of buildings and lots in the footprint, go to Forgotten NY.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

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

Click on graphic to enlarge. This is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change, and the project is already well behind that tentative timetable.


Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…