Skip to main content

The new Community Advisory Committee has a seat for the CBA, but the ESDC won't say why

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) has begun to recruit a reconstituted and expanded Atlantic Yards Community Advisory Committee (CAC), to meet quarterly and provide comment on the project, and is asking local elected officials for nominations.

Only the chair of the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Executive Committee gets an automatic seat, but the ESDC hasn't explained why.

(The letter at right refers to an "Executive Board," but the CBA calls it a committee.)

According to the letter from project Ombudsman Forrest Taylor, the CAC will have 17 members, a distinct increase from the six-person board that petitioners in the lawsuit challenging the AY environmental review have called toothless.

Appointee process

The new CAC would include one member selected by each one of the ten elected officials representing the area; two members each from Community Board 2, 6, and 8, to be selected by the respective board chairs; and the chairperson of the CBA board.

Two of the elected officials, Borough President Marty Markowitz and Rep. Yvette Clarke, are enthusiastic supporters of AY, while two, Council Member Letitia James and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery are opponents; the rest have expressed support mixed with criticism. The Community Boards have generally expressed mixed to negative views of AY.

So it's likely that the CAC would tilt somewhat toward a critical posture. That suggests that a reserved seat for the CBA would counteract that tilt slightly.

The other elected officials are State Senator Eric Adams; State Assemblypersons Jim Brennan, Joan Millman, and Hakeem Jeffries; and City Council Members David Yassky and Bill de Blasio.

That CBA seat: why?

Why does the CBA get a seat while other organizations, such as the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods (CBN), not get one? CBN produced an extensive critique of the environmental impact statement and has open meetings, unlike the CBA. Then again, CBN is a plaintiff in the pending lawsuit over the environmental review.

When I spoke with Taylor on Monday, February 4, he said he'd get back to me with a statement. Three days later, he said I should contact the ESDC press office, which I did, twice, with no response so far.

At a meeting last month, when Taylor was asked if CBN would get a representative, he responded, “You know your elected officials just as well as I do.” Indeed, it's likely that an elected official critical of the project would appoint a representative from CBN.

Then again, it's likely that an elected official supportive of the project would appoint a representative from the CBA. After all, for the six-member CAC that barely met during the consideration of Atlantic Yards, Markowitz appointed Delia Hunley-Adossa, who chairs the CBA Executive Committee.

A legal document prepared by the ESDC in the environmental lawsuit merely said (p. 27) that Hunley-Adossa "has many ties to the local community," without citing her role in the CBA.

CBA role and schedule

According to Taylor's letter, the CAC's role will be to provide comment as the Project moves through its various phases as well as provide ESDC and the developer the opportunity to regularly update a group of community representives.

It is anticipated the CAC will meet quarterly, with each meeting including a discussion of the work having occurred, work that we anticipated occurring in the next quarter, and responses to questions having arisen out of our discussions.

Our goal is to have the first CAC meeting in late February to early March.

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…

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…

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…

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 …

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

"There is no alternative": DM Glen on de Blasio's affordable housing strategy

As I've written, Mayor Bill de Blasio sure knows how to steer and spin coverage of his affordable housing initiatives.

Indeed, his latest announcement, claiming significant progress, came with a pre-press release op-ed in the New York Daily News and then a friendly photo-op press conference with an understandably grateful--and very lucky--winner of an affordable housing lottery.

To me, though, the most significant quote came from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
said public housing had been “starved” of federal support for years now, leaving the city with fewer ways of creating affordable housing. “Are we relying too heavily on the private sector?” she said. “There is no alternative.” Though Glen was using what she surely sees as a common-sense phrase, it recalls the slogan of a politician with whom I doubt de Blasio identifies: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative who believed in free markets.

It suggests the limits to …