Skip to main content

In promotional "Brooklyn Tomorrow," architect Pasquarelli hailed as Barclays Center savior; he says arena's in a "residential neighborhood"

After taking an Atlantic Yards hiatus in 2009, the infamous Brooklyn Tomorrow advertorial promotional magazine published by the Community Newspaper Group, publisher of the Brooklyn Paper and the Courier-Life chain, again puts Atlantic Yards on the cover, as it had in the 2007 and 2008 issues.

Brooklyn Tomorrow appears as an insert in both weeklies, promoted on the cover, but is not yet online.

The headline promises "Barclays Bounce: How the arena got back in the game."

Intriguing.

[Update: Editor Gersh Kuntzman protests that it's not an advertorial. Given that previous editions featured content clearly tied to advertising, such as from Forest City Ratner, I'd call them advertorials. This issue does not, but the upbeat tone of the articles seems geared to a "positive" promotional publication.]

The savior of Barclays?

The Table of Contents pulls no promotional punches regarding p. 14: "Barclays Center: Architect Gregg Pasquarelli will be remembered as the man who saved basketball in Brooklyn."

The letter from the editors, Vince DiMiceli and Gersh Kuntzman, further assists developer Forest City Ratner (who just happens to be the two newspapers' landlord) citing "our exclusive interview with the man who saved the Barclays Arena (the focal point of what we're sure is to become America's Downtown)."

The focal point of America's Downtown? Even for a promotional real estate publication, that's a double stretch. The arena would extend Downtown Brooklyn to the southeast.

And no one's going to mistake the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, even with the new temporary plaza Pasquarelli's designing, as America's Downtown. Not even New York's. Does America's Downtown feature Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal malls?

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Paper hasn't touched the story about Forest City Ratner's effort to raise $249 million by hawking green cards to Chinese investors.

Adjusting to the real estate downturn

Given the economic downturn in real estate, the issue, by the way, takes a much broader view than previous issues of the supplement.

There's an interview with an environmental designer and mini-profiles of five "future leaders" (who, in this most diverse of boroughs, are three white males and two white females).

None of the three biggest advertising opportunities--back cover and inside covers--attracted real estate advertising.

The exclusive

The interview/profile (at bottom) is headlined "The man who saved the Barclays Center: A new design jump-starts the Nets' new home." It's quite brief, and in many ways offers less than what the architect said in his September 29 presentation at Borough Hall.

But consider the logic of Brooklyn Tomorrow:
Meet Gregg Pasquarelli, the architect who saved basketball in Brooklyn.

No development will change the face of our borough more than the Barclays Center--the future home of Brooklyn's first major league sports team in 55 years.

And without Pasquarelli, the entire 19,000-seat arena that will host the Brooklyn Nets would have been in doubt.
What's the logic? The article states:
Ratner had fired starchitect Frank Gehry Frank Gehry in 2008, and brought in the budget-conscious Kansas City firm Ellerbe Becket, which promptly released a hanger-style" [sic] design for the arena that was met with near-unanimous disgust.

Then came Pasquarelli, who unveiled the current design, which is so good that it attracted the eye--and, more important, the money--of Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who bought the Nets franchise from Ratner and invested in the significantly more attractive arena.

His cash saved the arena project.

Would Prokhorov have made his investment if the arena had looked like a hanger? One can't say for certain, but there are plenty of hangars selling for a much cheaper price in Siberia.
That's called a non sequitur. Prokhorov's gaining fame--like a cover story in today's New York Times Magazine--not because he's a 45% investor in Forest City Ratner's arena but because he's the majority owner of a professional basketball team.

The plaza and the neighborhood

Most of the rest of the article consists of Pasquarelli's description of the plaza plan, and his insistence that it will "become a meeting place, and the focus of the neighborhood."

Maybe, maybe not. I think it's a stretch to compare the plaza to Gansevoort Plaza and Union Square in Manhattan.

But the last paragraph shows the architect veering slightly off message and confirming that he recognizes the very tight fit that an arena has in Prospect Heights:
It's a big building in a residential neighborhood, and it's an incredible challenge," said Pasquarelli. "But it's been a blast designing it."
He and his firm haven't designed the building.

Missing from the article is this important distinction. The arena is the same hangar Ellerbe Becket designed, with a new facade. The architect of record is Ellerbe Becket. SHoP is the facade architect.

The article (click on images to enlarge)


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…