Skip to main content

In Washington, federal money gets a Forest City project started; the adaptive re-use looks like... Brooklyn

It shouldn't be a surprise that the first new construction in two years for Forest City Enterprises, outside of the Atlantic Yards arena, is a building that depends significantly on government subsidies.

What is something of a surprise is that the federally-insured mortgage loan for Foundry Lofts, a 170-unit, 80/20 multifamily apartment building at The Yards, a Forest City project in Washington, involves the adaptive re-use of historic former Navy Yard industrial building (right).

That looks a bit like Newswalk in Brooklyn, or the Ward Bakery, or the building once owned by Henry Weinstein near them at 752 Pacific Street.

The Ward Bakery is already demolished, with the Weinstein building (below; photo taken December 2008 by Tracy Collins) likely to serve as offices during the construction phase of the arena, even thought Forest City Ratner executive Maryanne Gilmartin said in court papers that the developer plans to demolish that building.

Park comes first

Also notable is that, like Battery Park City but unlike Atlantic Yards, at The Yards a park will come first.

In fact, it will feature a 5.5-acre public park--not publicly accessible private space, as at MetroTech and planned for Atlantic Yards--though, as with many parks today, the financing is creative.

As announced in May 2009:
The Yards Park is being constructed through the use of public sector funds involving the “Payment In Lieu Of Taxes” (PILOT) program for financing such projects. Upon completion, the project will be dedicated as a public park for the District of Columbia. It will be managed and programmed by the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District.

Yesterday's press release
Forest City Enterprises, Inc. today announced that a subsidiary closed a $46.1 million HUD-insured mortgage loan for Foundry Lofts, a 170-unit, 80/20 multifamily apartment building at The Yards, Forest City's mixed-use project in southeast Washington, D.C.

"This financing is an important milestone for The Yards for several reasons," said Charles A. Ratner, Forest City president and chief executive officer. "It is the beginning of active construction on our first building at The Yards. It also demonstrates the strength of the public/private partnership that has persevered through difficult financial and economic conditions. Most important, we believe it marks the start of a new period of economic revitalization and opportunity for this neighborhood and all of southeast D.C."

"Foundry Lofts is also significant for us as a company," Ratner added. "With the exception of the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, this is the first new construction we have started in two years. Throughout the recession and into the current recovery, we've consistently stated that we would only start a project when there was a combination of market demand and available financing. The D.C. market has held up very well during the downturn, giving us confidence in the market. The innovative financing behind this project provided the other necessary piece. The project also highlights the significant entitlements we hold in quality markets that enable us to move forward on projects as markets and financing allow."

The 41-year financing, at a 4.66 percent interest rate (before mortgage insurance), was completed through a risk-sharing program between the District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and was funded by a total of $47.7 million of New Issue Bond Program (NIBP) bonds. The NIBP program, which was implemented as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, is designed to help provide market liquidity for bonds that housing finance agencies use to provide financing.

The Yards is located on 42 acres along the Anacostia River in the Capital Riverfront District adjacent to Nationals Park, the home of the Washington Nationals major-league baseball team. At full build-out, The Yards is expected to have a total of approximately 5.5 million square feet of development, including nearly 3,000 units of residential multifamily housing, 1.8 million square feet of office space and up to 400,000 square feet of retail space.

The Yards will also feature a 5.5-acre public park that will be a gathering place and recreational focus for the entire community. Forest City broke ground on the publicly funded park in May 2009. A formal grand-opening ceremony for the completed park is planned for September 7, 2010.
(Graphic below originally from DCYards.com)
The Yards DC Aerial

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…

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…

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 …

For Atlantic Yards Quality of Life meeting Sept. 19, another bare-bones agenda (green wall?)

A message from Empire State Development (ESD) reminds us that the next Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life Meeting--which aims to update community members on construction and other issues--will be held:
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6 pm
Shirley Chisholm State Office Building
55 Hanson Place
1st Floor Conference Room
Brooklyn, NY 11217 The typically bare-bones, agenda, below, tells us nothing about the content of the presentation. One thing to look for is any hint of plans to start a new building on the southeast block of the project by the end of the year.

If not, ESD is supposed to re-evaluate a longstanding request from project neighbors to move back a giant wall encroaching on part of Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues. It's said to enclose construction activity, but, in recent months, has significantly served to protect worker parking.

Also, by the way, if you search for Atlantic Yards on Google or the ESD website, it leads to this page for the Atlantic Ya…