Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Has the Barclays Center "put a dent" in Brooklyn's unemployment rate? Not at all (but nearby commercial property owners are winners)

Bruce Ratner likes to call himself a "civic developer" because the intent is to always "have an aspect of it, it has a civic component, it has some economic development, or some architectural, some aspect that really contributes back."

New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser, who  once promoted 10,000 Atlantic Yards jobs, wrote a valentine 7/23/12 to Ratner, headlined B’klyn revival’s ringmaster:
The arena will pump 2,000 sorely needed jobs into the economy, putting a dent into Brooklyn’s unemployment, which stood at an unconscionable 10.3 percent in May, compared to 8.2 percent in Manhattan.
And in the Summer 2012 issue of his promotional publication Brooklyn!!, Borough President Marty Markowitz claimed:
Barclays Center is its own economic engine, providing 2,000 full and part-time jobs, plus a shot in the arm to the ancillary businesses around the arena.
However welcome the jobs inside the arena--1240 full-time equivalent, or FTE--and those nearby, the dent has been minor.

A look at the numbers

Let's look at the most recent statistics from the New York State Labor Department.

The Labor Department states:
The data in the table above are not seasonally adjusted, which means they reflect seasonal influences (e.g., holiday and summer hires). Therefore, the most valid comparisons with this type of data are year-to-year comparisons of the same month; for example, March 2012 versus March 2013.
So there's an improvement between March  2012 and March 2013, from 10% to 9.2%, but it would be tough to attribute it to the arena, given that the percentage change from March 2012 to February 2012 was nil.

Even if the numbers in the Employed" category seem off--shouldn't there be fewer employed in February 2013 than March 2013?--this much is clear: with more than 1 million Brooklynites employed, and more than 100,000 unemployed, the addition of 1,240 FTE jobs, especially given that all but 105 come without benefits, cannot make a dent. Maybe a tiny indentation.

A retail wave

There are some clear winners: commercial property owners nearby who've seen the value of their property rise and/or the rents they command rocket.

The Real Deal reported 2/7/13 Thor Equities pays $23M for Barclays-adjacent properties:
Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities closed late last week on a residential and retail portfolio adjacent to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for $23 million in an off-market transaction,The Real Deal has learned.
The mixed-use development, known as Atlantic Gardens, consists of 24 rental units and nine retail shops along Atlantic between Third and Fourth avenues, seller Bennat Berger of BCB Properties told TRD. BCB and Arik Lifshitz of DSA Management had purchased the assets, 525-541 Atlantic Avenue, for $10.93 million just two years before, according to city records, but Berger said the actual price was closer to $11.25 million.
...Sitt plans to “reposition” the retail, Berger said.