Skip to main content

State justifies Barclays logo/name on arena roof, says it complies with "intent" of Design Guidelines (which never mentioned roof signage)

There's a honking big Barclays Center name and logo coming on the roof of the new Brooklyn arena, buzzing toward a Sept. 28 opening. But such rooftop signage was never officially approved, disclosed, nor opened to public comment. Nor was it ever permitted in the Design Guidelines on which the state relies.

It's a p.r. victory for Barclays, which, however hammered for its LIBOR manipulations, is implanting itself in Brooklyn, buying naming rights for the Barclays Center arena and getting its name on the adjacent subway station. (Developer Forest City Ratner actually paid for the latter.)

Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency that approved the overall Atlantic Yards project and works hand-in-glove with Forest City, took nearly two business days to provide an explanation for the signage, which was quietly disclosed Monday in a two-week construction look-ahead prepared by the developer.

The signage--including painted letters approximately 230’ x 103’--is kosher, according to ESD's Arana Hankin, because it "comprehensively complies with the intent of the [project design] guidelines that 'establish a framework for the design of the project.'”

Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, confirmed that it would look like the image released in September 2010, below, a year after the second round of project approvals. (Note that the angle merely gives a hint of the logo.

September 2010, SHoP Architects design
The justification

Hankin wrote:
The logo design comprehensively complies with the intent of the guidelines that “establish a framework for the design of the project.” The propose signage has been reviewed and the following summarizes our findings:
  • The sign is not illuminated
  • It cannot be seen from street-level
  • There is no impact on street view corridors
  • There is no impact on the transparency of the glazing for the Arena and Retail Space
Or, perhaps: if ain't prohibited, it's permitted.

Yes, rooftop signage is hardly rare in this era of fly-by coverage: check out the Staples Center in Los Angeles or the United Center in Chicago.

What the Design Guidelines said

But the Design Guidelines, approved in 2006 and not amended since, addressed facade signage only,  focusing on "the urban form of the project" and "architectural treatment and streetscape."

The "framework for the design of the project" didn't mention rooftop signage because it wasn't contemplated. The Frank Gehry-designed arena was supposed to have green space on the roof, some of it accessible to residents of the towers ringing the arena.
July 2006, Gehry Partners design

Flashback, 2003

Of course, when Atlantic Yards was announced in 2003, that green roof was supposed to be open to the public, prompting New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp to rhapsodize about the running track, skating rink, and recreational areas.
December 2003, Gehry Partners design


When Barclays in 2007 bought naming rights to a green-roof arena, it was paying for a Frank Gehry model. It later renegotiated the price down; perhaps the rooftop signage was a sop for the delay and the loss of Gehry.

Hankin confirmed for me that the state isn't getting any revenue from the rooftop signage. (The arena is nominally owned by the state, for the purpose of issuing tax-exempt bonds. The state gave away arena naming rights, which were never counted as a subsidy, or in a cost-benefit analysis.)

Project revised

In 2009, after new public hearings, Empire State Development approved a revised project, with the arena decoupled from the towers, a cost-saving move for Forest City money. The green roof was gone.

"conceptual design" of the arena produced by architect Ellerbe Becket, released to the public, stated that it "does not include signage, which will conform to Design Guidelines." There was, of course, no mention of rooftop signage, in those guidelines.

June 2009, Ellerbe Becket design

Signage obscured [this section updated 8/16/12]

Forest City soon brought on SHoP to produce a new facade for the arena (and later to design the arena plaza and the first residential buildings.) At a September 2009 public information session, just before the project was officially approved, there was nothing on the roof.
Sept. 2009, SHoP design, photo by Tracy Collins
This was after a public comment period, but the public was able to comment at the board meeting of the Empire State Development Corporation, which approved the project. The omission of the signage precluded that option.

Signage emerges

In March 2010, as the arena groundbreaking approached, the ESDC was asked about a rendering in which the rooftop boasted a seemingly illuminated Barclays Center sign. Such a rendering was for promotional purposes a spokeswoman said, adding that signage "will meet the design guidelines, which we continue to review."
March 2010, SHoP rendering

The new and apparently final design of the rooftop signage (top) appeared in images of the arena plaza released in September 2010, as well a new Atlantic Yards website that debuted in February 2011.

Curiously enough, the most recent renderings of the arena, part of an orchestrated November 2011 release of images of modular construction, portrayed the roof as brown at night, with no obvious signage.
November 2011, SHoP rendering

Maybe Forest City--which didn't respond to my queries--didn't want to remind people that the arena, which developer Bruce Ratner last year said was "largely about the children and youth of Brooklyn," is also a giant billboard.

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

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 …

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…

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

Click on graphic to enlarge. This is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change, and the project is already well behind that tentative timetable.


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 …

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…