Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2010

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming/what's missing, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

Prokhorov, Round 2: more insight from the Bloomberg TV interview, which barely lays a glove on him

Well, 60 Minutes got to him first, but Russian mogul Mikhail Prokhorov's other TV profile /long interview , with Bloomberg TV (excerpted below) and the print Bloomberg Markets / Bloomberg Business Week , is well worth watching. Here are some of the takeaways: It's possible to interview Prokhorov without a Steve Kroft grin on your face It's possible to ask Prokhorov semi-tough questions but avoid bigger ones Prokhorov, despite his insider connections, considers himself a "self-made man" He claims not to have political power but is "just a businessman" As with the Barclays naming rights deal, Prokhorov seeks to leverage Brooklyn to gain himself a platform in the United States ("we can create excellent business unit") Prokhorov was well-prepped for the media blitz, calling money just "a side effect" of business and floating the same reference to Sinatra's "New York, New York" Still, he claimed not to remember s

Forest City reports increased earnings, lower net loss; cites major milestones for Atlantic Yards but acknowledges risks, including need for equity

Forest City Enterprises, parent of Forest City Ratner, announced today some relatively good financial news, citing a 37.5 percent increase in annual earnings for the year ending 1/31/09 and a lower net loss--$30.7 million, or $0.22 per share, compared with a net loss of $113.2 million, or $1.10 per share, in 2008. After cutting costs and seeing the economy recover, FCE even gained positive fourth quarter net earnings of $0.04 per share, compared with a net loss of $0.44 in the fourth quarter of 2008. The Nets and Atlantic Yards Still, the Nets lost a bit more in 2009 than they did in the previous year and Forest City absorbed an even greater percentage ( updated and clarified ): Our equity investment in The Nets incurred a pre-tax loss of $43,489,000, $40,989,000 and $20,878,000 for the years ended January 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008, respectively, representing an increase in allocated losses of $2,500,000 and $20,111,000 compared to the respective prior year. For the years ended January

Sales of Oro condos reach 50 percent; KPMG report for the ESDC had the total at 75 percent last August

There's even more evidence that the report (dated August 31, posted below) that KPMG delivered to the Empire State Development Corporation on the housing market in Brooklyn contains lies. KPMG claimed that the Oro Condos in Downtown Brooklyn were 75% sold. That didn't ring right. The evidence mounted. In September, Crain's reported that prices at Oro had been slashed 25%. On 1/31/10, the New York Times reported that the building was 44 percent sold. By March, 50% And yesterday it hit the halfway mark. A press release dated March 29, headlined Oro Condominium in Downtown Brooklyn Hits 50% Sold Mark , stated: Downtown Brooklyn's Oro condominium, the 303-unit luxury building at 306 Gold Street, has reached the 50-percent-sold milestone with more than 152 units sold. Sales have soared at the 40-story property with 61 deals made since September 2009. Much of the recent sales success can be attributed to Oro's new marketing strategy developed by Rose Associates whe

Klores, whose firm works on Atlantic Yards, tells NPR that Nets move is "gonna be great" (but maybe not the traffic)

Yesterday, in a segment titled Winning Time , WNYC Radio's Leonard Lopate Show hosted documentarian (an p.r. guy) Dan Klores to talk about his film Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks , which is playing on ESPN. Klores, founder and chairman of the DKC public relations and marketing company that works on Atlantic Yards, told guest host Mike Pesca he'd sold the company to the employees and waxed optimistically about the future of the New York Knicks, run by General Manager Donnie Walsh. And then, at about 27 minutes in, Pesca brought up the Nets. A good thing for the city? "What about the Nets moving to Brooklyn if and when it happens," asked Pesca. "Will that be a good thing for the city?" "Yeah," responded the Brooklyn-born Klores enthusiastically. "It's a great thing for the city. Y'know, you gotta give those guys credit. I mean, whether you're for it or against it, boy, they stood with it. Who's they ? The d

A Very Brooklyn Passover Haggadah and the world of Internet content

Remember, the New York Times sent a reporter to the Atlantic Yards groundbreaking who had never covered AY before, as if this were some spot news story that any warm (journalism degreed) body could have handled. So it's small beans, relatively speaking, to watch the semi-snarky blogosphere froth up some content about their discovery of the Atlantic Yards Passover haggadah. Flashback to 2006 This is how it happened. NoLandGrab earlier today posted A Very Brooklyn Passover Haggadah for an Atlantic Yardseder ( PDF ). No date is given, but those of us who've been around for a bit remember it popping up in April 2006 and even playing a cameo in a Times article that month headlined A Blogfest Over a Project in Brooklyn . (That Times article, by the way, claimed that "[a]bout a dozen blogs follow Atlantic Yards closely," which was and is way off.) So later today the "news" was picked up by Curbed , which asserted that, "While everyone else has been busy try

City Hall News article accepts claim of ACORN Housing's successor that it's unaffiliated with ACORN; AY housing murky but Lewis says role continues

City Hall News reports, in an article headlined ACORN Housing Arm, Battered by Federal Funding Ban, Lives On that, yes, Mutual Housing New York will continue to work on the Atlantic Yards affordable housing deal. However, the article credulously accepts the explanation that ACORN Housing Corporation was always separate from ACORN and fails to mention crucial elements in the Atlantic Yards deal, such as ACORN's pledge to publicly support the project and Forest City Ratner's $1.5 million loan/grant to national ACORN. Not an affiliate? The article begins: The nationwide community organizing group ACORN may be shutting down, but its non-profit housing developer, ACORN Housing Corporation, lives on. The organization, which manages and develops affordable housing units in New York, has gone through a re-branding of its own, changing its name to Mutual Housing NY. Ismene Speliotis, the group’s executive director, said that was ACORN Housing Corporation’s original name when it was fou

In "The Russian Is Coming," 60 Minutes' Kroft pitches softball questions to insouciant billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov

The CBS newsmagazine show 60 Minutes is surely capable of tough investigation; in 2003, it ran a tough piece on eminent domain abuse around the country, even mentioning an episode in which the New York Times "teamed up with a major real estate developer" to get New York State to use eminent domain for a new Times headquarters. That very same "major real estate developer," Forest City Ratner, has achieved similar success in getting the state to declare the Atlantic Yards site blighted, but that's not the story 60 Minutes wanted this time. It sought a "get" --an exclusive interview with expected Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and, in the segment broadcast tonight, The Russian Is Coming , correspondent Steve Kroft lobbed softball questions at the billionaire, partied with him (as in screenshot at right), and generally couldn't suppress a grin from his face. Prokhorov maintained his own lighthearted mien, playfully parrying questions, and even claiming

Lupica: DDDB's Goldstein is "another guy who went up against the machine in this city and lost"

Two weeks ago, Daily News columnist Mike Lupica called Atlantic Yards "a hustle in broad daylight by Caring Bruce Ratner from the start." Today he writes : Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn was the hero of the whole Atlantic Yards story from the start. It just turned out he was another guy who went up against the machine in this city and lost. And when you had some of the biggest politicians around, starting with our imperial mayor, obsessed with not looking bad, it was like trying to stop the ocean. The worst of it? They didn't just throw in with a hustler like Bruce Ratner, they rolled over for Ratner and did tricks. Go back and look at what Ratner promised once they trampled eminent domain laws for him and basically handed him that land. And look at what he delivered. And then try to tell yourself ground-breaking was a great day for the borough of Brooklyn and for New York. Well, Goldstein actually wasn't there at the start (hint: Patti Hagan

Blight patrol: new eateries thrive on Vanderbilt and Sixth avenues

From the New York Post: Vanderbilt Avenue: Prospect Heights' destination for foodies and booze hounds : Indeed, at least eight new bars and restaurants have popped up on the Brooklyn boulevard in the last two years alone. (NY Post map adapted by No Land Grab ) Obviously the "blight" on the AY site above Dean Street west of Vanderbilt is not deterring development. And on Sixth Avenue From the Brooklyn Paper : In a town full of mediocre burgers, the discovery of a new favorite is somewhat akin to waiting less than an eternity for the G train — a rare occasion. Enter the Agoulou, the West Indian-style burger at three-week-old French-Guadeloupian eatery Kaz An Nou in Prospect Heights and a very possible new favorite. The restaurant is at 53 Sixth Avenue , just below Dean Street, the border of the Atlantic Yards footprint. Again, the "blight" doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent.

What the columnists missed: Jay-Z; the MTA salute; the BHS bought; lies about jobs & lawsuits; the Ridge Hill mystery; and the marketing of Brooklyn

For the past two weeks I tried to compensate slightly for the failure of any metro columnists to show up and glean insights from the rich spectacle of the Barclays Center groundbreaking March 11. Meanwhile, this week the New York Times ran minor slice-of-life articles about a newsstand vendor who gets spelled by a local for bathroom breaks and a City Room blog post (later appearing in print) about two doormen who meet in the middle of the street during their downtime. March 15: Atlantic Yards a "job creation" engine? Only if you believe the myths propounded by Bloomberg, Paterson, and Ratner March 16: Deep bench at the groundbreaking? There were only enough Brooklyn elected officials to play three-on-three March 17: Did Brooklyn "do it again" or just get played? The endless marketing and unbearable banality of borough iconography March 18: The Darryl Greene asterisk on minority contracting (not that Paterson noticed), the Bloomberg asterisk on the CBA, and now t

On 60 Minutes Sunday, an exclusive interview with Mikhail Prokhorov; no sign it will look closely at Atlantic Yards

So Russian mogul Mikhail Prokhorov, expected majority owner of the New Jersey Nets, sits down for an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes, to be broadcast Sunday. From the teaser: Prokhorov, perhaps Russia's richest man, discusses the Nets, his vast wealth and the surprisingly unusual way he made most of his money in his first American television interview to be broadcast this Sunday, March 28, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. "I am real excited to take the worst team of the league and turn it to be the best," says Prokhorov. Asked by Kroft if he really thinks he can pull it off, the 6-foot-8-inch billionaire responds, "I am confident. Do you remember in the Frank Sinatra song, 'New York, New York?' If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere," he tells Kroft with a laugh. Given the indication that the interview will focus on Prokhorov's celebrity and likely look closely only at his fortune, my comment : So, 60 Minutes has a "get," an exclusive interv

The untrustworthy men of God: how the (paid by Ratner) Revs. Daughtry and Sharpton twisted the truth

Last week and this one I'll try to compensate slightly for the failure of any metro columnists to show up and glean insights from the rich spectacle of the Barclays Center groundbreaking March 11. It always goes down easier when it comes from a man of the cloth, right? Even more than politicians, they can walk up to a podium and speak with brio, no matter the facts. And the Reverends Herbert Daughtry and Al Sharpton, however slender their understanding of the Atlantic Yards, know whose side they're on. And while they may in their hearts genuinely believe in AY, the financial contributions they've received from Forest City Ratner surely make it less likely they'd do any real research. The invocation He's a legend, right, the man who gave the invocation? Had any of the journalists covering the groundbreaking been to the May 2009 state Senate oversight hearing at the Pratt Institute, they would've remembered how Daughtry heckled throughout. Or they might have re