Skip to main content

Times follows up on ESDC revenue revision; Post editorial page ignores it

In an article headlined Agency Cuts Atlantic Yards Revenue Estimate the Times followed up on the Empire State Development Corporation's revenue cut, a story broken yesterday on this blog:
A state development corporation has drastically decreased its projections for the amount of sales and income tax revenue it expects from the proposed Atlantic Yards project near Downtown Brooklyn.

In the online coverage, but not the print edition (page B4), the Times added some skepticism from an outside observer:
The estimates themselves are largely educated guesswork, relying on assumptions about how many new jobs would be created in a given square footage and how much revenue those jobs would produce.
But it was unclear how a loss of less than 300,000 square feet of office space could account for about a half a billion dollars less in tax revenue, especially considering the project's overall size.
"The cutback on the commercial side is going to have an effect, because that is where the revenue is," said Doug Turetsky, a spokesman for the city's Independent Budget Office. Mr. Turetsky said that the office had not examined the studies behind the estimates, but that "on its face, it seems like a large revenue falloff given the amount of commercial space being cut back."


Cuts in print

Why exactly was that critical segment cut? Obviously, pages change during editions. The rest of page B4 included a "Blocks" feature on logos, a police shooting and a continuation of an article on threats by Yoko Ono's driver, the last two late-breaking. These paragraphs did appear on that page:
Neighbors said they knew that Mr. Karsan was a chauffeur who often drove a black luxury sedan to and from Manhattan each day. Most neighbors interviewed said they did not know for whom he worked, but two real estate brokers who work out of a house next door said they did.
“He wouldn’t say much about Yoko, very closed-mouthed about her, never said anything detrimental,” said Gertrude M. Follett, one of the brokers. “He loved his job and we always assumed she was happy with him. He was a charming man, always impeccably dressed. We never would have thought he would do what they’re saying.”
“Total shock,” said the other broker, Dolores Fox. “Total shock. I hope it’s not true.”
Elys Collado, 25, another neighbor, said that Mr. Karsan had rarely spoken to her since she moved in three years ago, but that he was friendly.
“He recently carried in my new TV set for me, but even then he barely said anything,” she said. “Yoko Ono, that’s a good job to have. Why would he do anything to mess it up?”


Is this of more critical public importance than Turetsky's comments? Brutally weird.

Memo coming?

Back to the ESDC. The Times reported:
The development corporation said it planned to release a memo within a few days to explain its estimates.

Why was this not available as part of the documents released last Friday?

Post coverage

The Post played it straight, in an article headlined NET ARENA OVER$OLD:
The news of the drop-off, uncovered within hundreds of pages of agency documents, has project opponents hopeful that the Public Authorities Control Board in Albany will determine the financial projections are filled with flaws.
The PACB is set to decide the fate of the arena - where Bruce Ratner wants to move the New Jersey Nets - next Wednesday.
Officials with the development company yesterday said the project is still financially sound.
They attributed the revenue loss to Ratner scaling back the development size by 8 percent at the request of the City Planning Commission.


There could've been more skepticism there about the ratio between the reduction in revenue and the reduction in size.

Post editorial

There could've been a lot more skepticism on the Post editorial page, which endorsed the project in an editorial headlined ATLANTIC YARDS QUESTIONS. The Post used the same figure cited Sunday in the Daily News: $5.6 billion in new tax revenues.

That figure, apparently provided by Forest City Ratner (and adjusted from a $6 billion overestimate), was contradicted by the original ESDC figure, and further contradicted by the revised ESDC figure. Do the Post editorial writers read their own newspaper?

(I believe the $5.6 billion figure represents the cumulative value of the projected tax payments, rather than the standard formulation, which uses present value.)

Board ignorance?

The Times added some context:
The new estimate was included in a statement and other documents issued by the development agency on Friday, but the difference went unremarked in both the brief board meeting that preceded the approval vote and the news conference that Charles A. Gargano, the agency’s chairman, held shortly afterward.

Indeed, the board of the ESDC, which met last Friday for only about 15 minutes, did not publicly consider the project's fiscal impact. Wouldn't a responsible agency have briefed them about the nearly one-third drop in projected new tax revenues? And wouldn't a responsible board have given it some thought?

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 …

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

This graphic, posted in January 2018, 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 …

The passing of David Sheets, Dean Street renter, former Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality

David Sheets, longtime Dean Street renter, Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality, died 1/17/18 in HCA Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green, KY. He was 56.

There are obituary notices in the Bowling Green Daily News and the Wichita Eagle, which state:
He was born in Wichita, KS where he attended public Schools and Wichita State University. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was employed as a legal assistant. David's hobby was cartography and had an avid interest in Mass Transit Systems of the world. David was predeceased by his father, Kenneth E. Sheets. He is survived by his mother, Wilma Smith, step-brother, Billy Ray Smith and his wife, Jane all of Bowling Green; step-sister, Ellen Smith Alexander and her husband, Jerry of Bella Vista, AR; several cousins and step-nieces and step-nephews also survive. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm with visitation from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday at Johnson-Vaughn-Phe…

Some skepticism on Belmont hockey deal: lease value seems far below Aqueduct racino; unclear (but large?) cost for LIRR service

As I wrote for The Bridge 12/20/1, The Islanders Say Bye to Brooklyn, But Where Next?, the press conference announcing a new arena at Belmont Park for the New York Islanders was "long on pomp... but short on specifics."

Notably, a lease valued at $40 million "upfront to lease up to 43 acres over 49 years... seems like a good deal on rent for the state-controlled property." Also, the Long Island Rail Road will expand service to Belmont.

That indicates public support for an arena widely described as "privately financed," but how much? We don't know yet, but some more details--or at least questions--have emerged.

An Aqueduct comparable?

Well, we don't know what the other bid was, and there aren't exactly parcels that large offering direct comparables.

But consider: Genting New York LLC in September 2010 was granted a franchise to operate a video lottery terminal under a 30 year lease on 67 acres at Aqueduct Park (as noted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo).

As…

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…