Skip to main content

Times, News still ignore the AY financials

Journalistic neglect of the Empire State Development Corporation's (ESDC) sketchy release of Atlantic Yards financials matters, and here's why: the ESDC needs reform.

A supporter of the Atlantic Yards project recently offered a backhanded criticism of the ESDC under the predecessor administration of Chairman Charles Gargano, appointed by Gov. George Pataki, for whom he served as chief fundraiser.

The Real Deal, in its March issue, reported:
"The primary point is that the Spitzer administration is going to be proactive rather than reactive to developer-driven deals," said Kathryn Wylde, president of Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit group of business leaders.

So if we're concerned about developer-driven deals, shouldn't we take a careful look at the Atlantic Yards project? Well, Assemblyman Jim Brennan had to go to court to get the ESDC to release financial documents regarding the project, and he declared the three pages inadequate.

Times/News whiff

That would seem to be news, at least as important as, say, developer Bruce Ratner's pronouncements of affection for Nets stars Jason Kidd and Vince Carter. (Yeah, I know, the Sports desk isn't the Metro desk.)

Indeed, yesterday, the New York Sun covered the bases on the ESDC's release of Forest City's cash flow projections. The New York Post covered it irresponsibly, failing to get a comment from any outside analyst or advocate, much less Brennan, and misleadingly proclaiming an "exclusive." The New York Times and the New York Daily News passed on the story, and do so again today.

Journalists like to be first. Sometimes they think that, if another news outlet already has the story, they're embarrassing themselves by reporting it late. And in the well-linked information universe in which reporters are immersed, it may seem like this topic has gone through much discussion.

However, the public consumes information differently. Many people only read the Times, or the Daily News. So if the story doesn't appear, it doesn't exist.

(In its daily roundup yesterday, the New York Observer's blog The Real Estate mentioned only the inadequate Post story, not the more thorough Sun article. Brownstoner got it, calling the "lack of coverage and analysis... pretty astounding.")

Following up

And there are ways to transcend that putative embarassment. The "second-day lead" means the news outlet can reframe the story or add some analysis or reaction, thus making it seem fresher.

Now, it seems, we're waiting for a "third-day lead" from the Paper of Record and the largest circulating daily newspaper in Brooklyn. (We're also waiting for news of the planned demolitions.)

That, simply, is brutally weird.

Post follow-up

The Post today offered a somewhat cryptic follow-up, quoting no source by name, in its article based on a Forest City Ratner press release about planned demolitions:
New financial projections for the development, published by The Post yesterday, raise more questions than answers about the massive plan, critics say.

A Post analysis of the documents found that Ratner and smaller investors stand to make close to $700 million in profits by 2015 should the developer ever decide to sell the arena and residential and office space slated to be built.

But sources familiar with Ratner's financing told The Post yesterday that he is taking a big risk - putting up $1.2 billion in equity - although he obviously believes that Atlantic Yards is a sound long-term investment.


Actually, we don't know how much of a risk Ratner's putting up.

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 (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…

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…

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…

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…