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Showing posts from June, 2013

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

AY Watch: Concert noise from Bruno Mars penetrates neighborhood; sunny news on concert and team from the Daily News

Apparently the Barclays Center still hasn't solved the problem of concert noise penetrating the neighborhood, source of a $3200 fine and enduring complaints. Atlantic Yards Watch cites a 311 complaint regarding the Bruno Mars concert last night and adds: Also received 3 calls: 1) area 6th & Dean St, "we have no air conditioning so we have to keep our windows open and the music is so loud" 2) area 4th Ave & Dean, "please have them stop" 3) area mid-block Dean, "LOUD MUSIC AGAIN? Meanwhile, the news from the New York Daily News, sponsor of the Barclays Center plaza, continues to be sunny. Consider a review of last night's Bruno Mars show, Bruno’s shining ’70s show just Mars-velous during NYC stop . (Of course no one noticed, as posted on Atlantic Yards Watch, that pesky tour bus idling for more than two hours. Or the noise problem) And the Nets Then there was the two-byline article yesterday, Brooklyn fans buzzing about newest Ne

Ratner honored by New York Board of Rabbis as "mensch of the year." Oh.

From the New York Post, 6/21/13, Ace is honored: A Yiddish-Spanish word was created when the New York Board of Rabbis honored Panamanian pitcherMariano Rivera at its Humanitarian Awards at Capitale this week. The Yankee was named “el menscho of the year” — a term coined for just the occasion — while developer Bruce Ratner was named “mensch of the year.” The event drew more than 400, including Robinson Cano, Joba Chamberlain, Roy White, Timothy Cardinal Dolanand John Starks. Michael Kay emceed, and special recognition was given to Bruce Mosler and Joseph Coppotelli. James Orphanides and Michael Stolerco-chaired the evening. As part of the honor, Mariano will visit Israel with the board’s Joseph Potasnik. How exactly does that square with that front-page New York Times profile of Ratner last September, headlined Nets Helped Clear Path for Builder in Brooklyn , which cited "his reputation for promising anything to get a deal, only to renegotiate relentlessly for more fa

Nets, first "Situationist team," boost chances to win title; was it really the arena that drew new stars (and is opposition "another story, entirely"?)

So, a lot of people are excited about, as the Wall Street Journal's Chris Herring wrote,  Can Brooklyn Actually Win a Title? , noting that the trade of Boston's Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry "upstaged an otherwise entertaining NBA Draft" and boosted their odds to third-best, from 40-1 to 10-1. Only the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, younger and deeper, are better odds. Garnett and Pierce, Herring points out, add shooting prowess to punish defenses that attempt to double-team the existing Nets scorers of Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams, and the newcomers also will add defense. Herring allows that there are questions about chemistry and health, given three starters over 32, plus a potential mismatch with new coach Jason Kidd's fast-paced style. And while there's no real answer whether the Nets can win a title, he concludes: The Nets are getting the attention they've always wanted, and the title conversation now includ

In push for title, Nets trade for aging stars Garnett, Pierce; ticket prices said to be rising

Via Twitter Some two weeks after hiring surprising new coach Jason Kidd, the former New Jersey Nets star and retiring New York Knick, the Brooklyn Nets yesterday announced a blockbuster trade. Assuming the trade goes through, the Nets will gain aging Boston Celtics stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce (37 and 36 respectively next season) plus aging sixth man Jason Terry, in exchange for three first-round draft picks and five players, including forgotten starter and "Core Four" member Gerald Wallace (remember those ads, "Offseason Fisherman"?), one-dimensional rebounding ace Reggie Evans, tabloid fave Kris Humphries, and two other lesser lights. The consensus: the Nets are short-term contenders, adding the toughness they lacked when losing to the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, and bringing them closer to majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov's pledge of a championship by 2015. And the Nets may emerge as the city's top team. If P

As City Council Committees limit Madison Square Garden to 10-year permit, a provisional big win for Barclays Center

Well, there was a nice puff-piece on Fox Business yesterday, Madison Square Garden’s $1B Transformation , which cited the company's stock rise and quoted CEO Hank Ratner saying "we'll get through the special permit process, and life will go on as we know it." Actually, however, it was a very tough day for MSG, which was unable to convince two City Council committees to let it operate in perpetuity, as Crain's reported in  City Council committees limit the Garden to 10 years . That doesn't mean MSG will be gone, because plans to renovate Penn Station must find funding, but it was, as Crain's suggested "a huge win to preservationists" or, rather, those like the Municipal Art Society and the Regional Plan Association who want a new Penn Station. And it's a provisional big win for the Barclays Center, which not only may see rival MSG hamstrung by a relocation--though watch who ends up paying for it--but also might emerge, at least for a whi

In Crain's list, Forest City's Gilmartin judged 16th most powerful woman in NY; others, including BAM head, have AY ties (& what about the BAM-arena collaboration?)

Crain's New York Business this week published its list of the  50 Most Powerful Women , several with ties to Atlantic Yards and Forest City Ratner. Notably, new Forest City CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin  was ranked 16, up from 35 in 2011: MaryAnne Gilmartin, 49, became one of the highest-ranking executives in New York real estate development when she was promoted in April to chief executive of Forest City Ratner. Among her responsibilities, she oversees the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards development project, which includes Barclays Center. Lately, Ms. Gilmartin has pushed the company in a new direction, pioneering the use of modular construction in the city. Ms. Gilmartin is hoping to not only use the time- and money-saving technique for the 15 residential buildings slated for the Atlantic Yards, but also to turn the company's growing capabilities in the method into an assembly line for developers across the city. Success would help the 2,573-employee Forest City Ratner build on th

Shades of 2007? Another 421-a carve-out to developers generates outrage

Thanks to some investigation by the Metropolitan Council on Housing, which prompted coverage in the New York Daily News and by New York Times columnist Michael Powell, we now know more about a January giveaway to developers worth some $50 million to the largest project. Note that this 421-a "carve-out" is worth far less than the "carve-out" in 2007 legislators gave developer Forest City Ratner regarding the Atlantic Yards project, wroth $150-$200 million. The Daily News article,  NY lawmakers mandate massive tax breaks for millionaires’ Manhattan apartments , was published 6/18/13: The millionaires buying apartments in a soaring tower rising on 57th St. will get more than sweeping views of Central Park: They’ll also be eligible for massive city tax breaks. So will the homeowners and builders of four other luxury Manhattan condo and rental developments. Language quietly inserted into a bill that sailed through the state Legislature singled out the five dev

Forest City Ratner chosen as master developer for first phase of Cornell's Roosevelt Island tech campus (updated)

It's a very good week for Forest City Ratner. Not only does new CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin get ranked the 16th most powerful woman in New York City by Crain's New York Business (up from 35 in 2011), Forest City was chosen by Cornell University as the master developer for the first two buildings on Cornell University's Roosevelt Island engineering campus. The campus, known as Cornell Tech , may be the most important legacy of the Bloomberg administration, assuming it pays off as projected. Forest City would build and own the second building, which would house private-sector tenants, while it would build but not own the first building, to be used for academic purposes, according to  Crain's New York Business. The academic building would be 150,000 square feet and the office tech building would be 200,000 square feet. Unanswered in the coverage and press release was how Forest City was chosen (was there any nudge from the mayor's office? any bidding?) and how the bu

From the latest Construction Alert: work on B2 tower still starting at 5:30 am on some days; also, after-hours and Saturday work

The latest bi-weekly Construction Alert, issued yesterday by Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing/enabling Atlantic Yards, after preparation by Forest City Ratner, confirms that the developer is continuing to start at 5:30 a.m. every two or three days, when concrete foundation walls for the B2 tower are poured at the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue. The alert states: • Continue installation of reinforcement steel for foundation walls. This activity will continue through this reporting period. There may be a possibility that this activity may be also be done on a 2nd shift (for a 2 week period), subject to DOB approval of work hours. • Pouring concrete foundation walls will continue during this reporting period. This activity will be take place approximately every 2-3 days during the reporting period. The day of the pour there will be 8-12 concrete trucks delivering to the site during the course of the day. A separate logistics plan has been submitted and

Filling City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden's shoes? It should be a question in the mayoral race, but there's been little discussion

For those following the mayoral race, there have been numerous debates and forums , with much discussion of issues like stop-and-frisk, education policy, and even a highly controversial Jewish circumcision practice . But there hasn't been much discussion--on a more granular level--of development, which is a crucial issue for a major interest group, the real estate industry, and its allies, and for the city at large. After all, as the Times reported last month, a new political action committee, Jobs for New York, was formed by a "group of real estate executives and corporate leaders, bracing for the departure of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg... to spend up to $10 million to make sure the City Council elected this fall is friendly to business." Amanda Burden: big shoes to fill? So one of the big questions, which Crain's New York Business put on the agenda 5/17/13, is  Who will fill Amanda Burden's shoes? New York's real estate community is already handic

Assemblyman Mosley says he's concerned about 25-year Atlantic Yards buildout, but hasn't (yet) entered the debate over the SEIS

A 6/21/13 article in Our Time Press, Assemblyman Walter Mosley Tackles Tough Issues , concludes that "he has taken hard stances on issues [including] affordable housing at Atlantic Yards." I'm not so sure. For example, Mosley, who was elected last year to succeed Hakeem Jeffries in the 57th District, appears to be continuing his predecessor's practice of quiet diplomacy, claiming to be negotiating with state officials while not taking a stand at public forums, notably the 2/27/13 hearing on the scope for a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). In other words, Mosley could have testified or sent a press release arguing that the Draft SEIS should look at the alternative of bidding the Phase 2 site out so more developers could complete the project in the original 10-year time frame, rather than the 25-year deadline extended to developer Forest City Ratner when the project was renegotiated in late 2009.. Mosley makes some cogent points in the i

The Brooklynettes get a big spread in the Daily News, as arena-related promotion sucks up attention

In a recent conversation I had with a guy from a city where an arena's being built, I was asked how things changed in the public discourse before and after construction. Before construction, I said, there was some press interest in the counter-narrative, critical questions of fairness and oversight. After construction, I warned, there was more than enough going on at the arena--sports, concerts, new promotions--to suck up much of the press attention. (Consider: who knew that food trucks and valet parking for bikes would get so much play?) The Daily News comes up big And it sure helps when one major media outlet, the New York Daily News, is entangled for business reasons, serving as sponsor of the Barclays Center plaza. Indeed, thanks to this tweeted photo from the Brooklyn Nets' Petra Pope, we can see that the Daily News published a two-page spread with a photo of the new Brooklynettes cheerleaders. Online, the Daily News posted a gallery of photos from the open

Brooklyn Tech first high school to hold graduation at arena; $50 increase in senior dues helps pay $60,000 cost

The headline in today's Wall Street Journal is  Space Constraints Send Brooklyn High School Graduating Class to New Arena , but it could have added the words "plus $60,000." Today's graduation ceremony at the arena will cost an additional $60,000 to rent the Barclays Center. Previously, the school had to hold two graduation ceremonies in its 3,000-seat school auditorium to accommodate the 1,200 graduating seniors and their families. The Journal reports: This year, school officials raised student dues by $50 to help pay for the $60,000 cost of holding a ceremony at Barclays, which broke ground in 2010 three blocks away from the competitive school. Other schools are large enough to hold their commencements in venues such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Apollo Theater and New York Botanical Garden. But Brooklyn Tech students have felt a connection to Barclays Center, Principal Randy Asher said. "Literally the center has grown up with the students," he said

Next Atlantic Yards Quality of Life Committee meeting set for July 2

The next Atlantic Yards Quality of Life Committee meeting will be held on: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 @ 6:30pm YWCA Community Room 30 3rd Avenue Brooklyn, NY, 11217 (Here's coverage of the meetings in May and in February .) As stated in a message from Derek Lynch, Manager of Community/Government Relations for Empire State Development: This meeting is a forum for representatives from the community and civic groups to engage Empire State Development, Forest City Ratner Companies and Barclays Center operators regarding issues affecting the quality of life for residents and businesses in close proximity to the arena. Please remember to designate only 1 representative from your organization to directly participate and RSVP that individual’s name and contact information to me, Derek Lynch, at dlynch[at] In addition, please email me items that you would like to see discussed at the next meeting by Thursday, June 27th. Among issues up for discussion, perhaps, will be the eff

From the Commercial Observer: The BID That Wasn’t: Barclays-Area Effort Dissolves, For Now

My story in the Commercial Observer, The BID That Wasn’t: Barclays-Area Effort Dissolves, For Now : To some, it seemed like a good idea, an effort to take responsibility for the effects of Brooklyn’s biggest audience magnet. To others, it looked like overreach. Now, plans for a business improvement district (BID) for a zone around the Barclays Center, the Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal malls, and Brooklyn Academy of Music cultural district have been aborted without public discussion. The reason? Organizers couldn’t figure how to spread the burden fairly on property owners, according to a letter sent yesterday to the BID steering committee and later passed on to this reporter. For more, see the article...

The Barclays Center's off-center hockey layout will be a tougher sell than hoops (but, fans say, it's better than Quebec)

The Barclays Center, in its current incarnation, was downsized to a tight, basketball-centric design from a building aimed to accommodate both major league basketball and major league hockey. Then arena operators got lucky, when the arena--with luxury suites, public transit access, and the opportunity to maintain a lucrative TV contract--became the best destination for the New York Islanders after Nassau Coliseum voters nixed a new arena. Now Barclays Center operator are trying to manage expectations in anticipation of a 2015 (or sooner) move of the team.  Islanders PointBlank on June 18 posted a photo montage of the hockey set up tweeted by the Barclays Center  and wrote : As mentioned on this blog last week , the scoreboard is off-center and looks like it is over one of the bluelines. The photo also sheds a little light on what will happen in the end zone where things get a little tight. It looks as though — unless things change — there will be no seats behind the gla

Details on arena plaza farmers market emerge: Wednesdays beginning July 10

A farmers market is planned to operate outside the Barclays Center on Wednesday beginning July 10 through November 27, with participants setting up on Flatbush Avenue beginning at 6 am and everything finished by 4 pm, before arena events begin. That was the message Cathy Chambers of GrowNYC , which operates 55 farmers markets around the side, told the Transportation Committee of Community Board 2 last night, which voted to support the plan by a vote of 9-2. There was some concern on the committee about how much the market might impede pedestrian traffic on the Flatbush sidewalk, and a question as to why the plaza itself would not be used for the market. The answer: that might impede pedestrians, especially those entering and leaving the subway hub, even more, and it was more efficient to have the tents near the trucks. She was joined by arena Community Affairs Manager Terence Kelly. Chris Hrones of the Department of Transportation, while not objecting to the plan, said he wa

Obscured in the Barclays Center transportation report: likely 1000+ cars seek free parking on neighborhood streets; of arena-goers spending money locally, many likely come from Brooklyn

Now that Empire State Development ESD), the state agency overseeing/enabling Atlantic Yards, has belatedly made available documents regarding the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan, a glaring gap in the public presentation June 13 becomes clear. The gist is: For Nets games at the Barclays Center, fewer visitors drive than expected, but most--well over 1000 cars--seek free parking on streets in neighborhoods near the arena. Such free parking is a neighborhood subsidy for drivers unwilling to pay for parking in available garages. That's an argument for residential permit parking to deter such driving. Note that even if fewer than 1000 cars actually get free parking, and some wind up paying for parking, that still means those cars are cruising the streets rather than pre-paying and going directly to a lot. Two other issues come clear. First, facts in the Wall Street Journal exclusive that emerged the morning of the public presentation--that some 2,675

Nassau Coliseum battle: Ratner's iconic pitch; questions unanswered; a clash over Atlantic Yards delays; D'Amato neutralized

"Bruce Ratner and Partners will create a Nassau Like Never Before," according to a pitch video captured in the screenshot at right. The images of Yankee Stadium, Cowboys Stadium, and the Barclays Center are supposed to suggest iconic buildings. However, there's another way to look at it: each involved a significant commitment of public resources, including parkland (Yankee Stadium) and local/federal tax breaks, and direct subsidies. With Nassau County executive Ed Mangano set to choose a developer to renovate and downsize the Coliseum by mid-July, both of the two (of four) perceived front-runners, the Ratner partnership and the one led by Madison Square Garden , have produced elaborate video (Ratner, MSG ) advertisements. (Screenshot of MSG ad at left.) There's a Brooklyn-ish theme to the Ratner pitch, at least according to Newsday's  report  on the campaign: Stephen Mosher, a professor of sports management and the media at Ithaca College, said the a