Skip to main content

Victory laps: Bruce Ratner celebrates Barclays Center with sycophantic hosts: John Gambling/Fox Business (Did half of Brooklyn attend an event? Nah.)

It's the anniversary of the Barclays Center, and developer Bruce Ratner is doing a couple of victory laps.

First, the 9/25/13 John Gambling Show, hosted by Mayor Mike Bloomberg's favorite interviewer.

Gambling first asked about the Nassau Coliseum. Ratner responded with his keywords: "gorgeous arena... 30 million cars every year... entertainment [for everybody]...  I think it will rival Barclays in both its success and its beauty."

"Speaking of Barclays, it's only been around for one year, and it seems as though it's been around forever," enthused Gambling.

"It's been a remarkable year," responded Ratner, noting that for the first half of the year, the arena led the U.S. in concert/family show revenue and was second in the world to the O2 in London, which has no anchor sports team and thus more open nights.

Would the full reopening of Madison Square Garden, which has been under renovation, have an effect?

No, said Ratner. "It's good healthy competition for both of us."

Well, it might.

"What is New York City real estate like?" asked Gambling.

"It has its ups and down, it's in an upswing," Ratner said. "Residential: there's almost no vacancy in the rental market, the condo market's come back, and the office market's still pretty strong."

That said, he has no plans to build the Atlantic Yards office tower.

"Are you concerned about post-Bloomberg for the city of New York?" Gambling asked.

"Well, I think we all are concerned about post-Bloomberg," Ratner responded. "The mayor's done an excellent job in so many different kinds of ways, ways a lot of us, y'know, almost don't know, whether it be housing or whether it be--even the financial aspects of the city. For 12 years, very few of us have even had to worry about the fact that our city's been in great financial shape, despite a recession, we've never had issues with balanced budgets, and so on. So he's done a great job. I think, y'know, either candidate will get a good job done again. But transition's always difficult. No matter how good we think the next mayor'll be, it's never easy to go through a transition. So all of us have anxiety. Listen, when Giuliani left, and Bloomberg won, we all had anxiety too. So I think that's the nature of elections and change. So hopefully--I'm confident that, whoever it'll be, the city'll still be here, and they'll do a good job. I know both of the candidates and think either will come out fine."

Um, many people, including Nicole Gelinas, might disagree with Bloomberg's budget stewardship.

On Fox Business

On Fox Business yesterday, Barclays Center a win for Brooklyn, host Liz Claman made Gambling and Daily News sycophant Denis Hamill look like pit-bull investigator Seymour Hersh.

"The arena not only blossomed, it's gone crazy, it's unbelievable," said Claman, citing the awards: Sports Facility of the Year, Best New Major Concert Venue, etc.

"Everybody's flocking to this thing, but perhaps people outside New York do not know"--her tone gained an air of petulant disbelief--"what a fight you had to wage against people all around the area of Brooklyn and suddenly they're the ones attending events."

"Absolutely," interjected Ratner.

"It always goes that way," Claman declared. "Does it amaze you?"

"We thought it would do well, I didn't think it would do quite this well," Ratner replied. "It has something for everybody... first, the programming is really important...people who work there... architecture... we love the patrons... the food."

Ratner math

He cited "2000 jobs, people working there right now, 80% from Brooklyn, 35% from housing projects." No one asks how much they work per week and how much they get paid.

How much of the Brooklyn population attended at least one event?

Ratner did some math, citing 2.1 million attendees, and 2.8 million people from Brooklyn. (Actually, it's closer to 2.5 million.) "I'll bet you at least half," he said.

No way. It's unlikely that half of those entering the arena are Brooklynites--after all, 36.9% of weekeday Nets fans and 34.5% of weekend Nets fans go back to Brooklyn. And given that many of those going are season ticket holders--and the arena's rather expensive--there's no way half of the population of Brooklyn has visited the arena

"Lawsuits, protests, pickets, all kinds of things," Claman continued. "They didn't want it here. And in the meantime, this was an area that was kind of down and out."

Love those declarative statements.

The NBA All-Star Game

"So this is a perfect example where this kind of thing can work to the advantage of--and then the big news, you guys get to be part of the NBA All-Star game," she continued. "How'd you land that?

"The answer is both us and the Garden applied for it," Ratner responded, then had a lot of trouble with the term "Solomonic": "So it's kind of one of those salam-ic, solom-type decisions, split it down the middle."

Nassau Coliseum

Discussing the Nassau Coliseum, Ratner said that Jay-Z will perform there before it closes, and presumably after the revamp.

"I bet you, when we get this open, we'll get [Barbra] Streisand," he added, citing the Brooklyn artist who played in the first month of the Barclays Center.

Claman asked how many jobs there'd be in Nassau.

Close to 2000, Rather responded, then added some gibberish: "The employment situation, particularly for a worker who is available to work in an arena, there aren't a lot of jobs around, still, so it's really good."


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 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…