Skip to main content

Atlantic Yards timetable claims: Ratner said housing would be done "5/6 years" after arena; Stuckey said project "conservatively" would take 10 years, but "we hope to do better" (video + GIF)

FCR's Jim Stuckey talks timeline. See below.
We should know never take Atlantic Yards timetable estimates too seriously.

That means the reported prediction by the Greenland Group, the expected new Chinese investors, that it would take eight years to finish a project that has a 25-year outside date should be taken with a major grain of salt.

(Crain's went the opposite direction and, summarizing a thinly-sourced Wall Street Journal article, declared Schedule set for Atlantic Yards. )

Could somehow Mayor-in-waiting Bill de Blasio have privately pledged he will "get the housing done" by tossing bushels of additional subsidies toward developer Forest City Ratner and its Chinese government partners? And could the modular factory, which is supposed to take 18 months to turn out a building, go full-stop, 24/7?

You never know, but, remember, as then-CEO of Forest City Enterprises (parent of Forest City Ratner) Chuck Ratner famously said in March 2007, "We are terrible, and we’ve been a developer for 50 years, on these big multi-use, public private urban developments, to be able to predict when it will go from idea to reality. All we know is that if we pick the right place and we’re in with the right people, that over time we’re going to create tremendous value."

There's even more reason for skepticism.

The ten-year timetable

Ten years was long used as the Atlantic Yards timetable. Despite the evident troubles in the national economy, Forest City Ratner CEO Bruce Ratner in May 2008 wrote, "We anticipate finishing all of Atlantic Yards by 2018."

More than two years later, he said never mind. WNYC in September 2010 published Ratner Abandons 10-Year Timeline for Atlantic Yards. The ten-year timeline, the CEO said, "was really only an analysis as to what the most serious impacts [would be], if all the other planned development in downtown Brooklyn happened right away. It was never supposed to be the time we were supposed to build them in.”

“I would say it's really market-dependent as to when it will really be completed,” Ratner added. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman helpfully pointed out that the ten-year timeline was used to calculate project benefits and justify subsidies.

Ratner, May 2005

As Atlantic Yards faced public approval, Ratner and his lieutenants were uniformly optimistic about the timeline, such as at a 5/19/05 press conference at Brooklyn Borough Hall announcing the affordable housing Memorandum of Understanding.

(The videos come from footage shot by the producers of the Battle for Brooklyn documentary and, as far as I know, have never been seen before.)
Ratner was asked about "the order of completion requirements" for the housing, and dodged the question of whether there was any requirement. (There could not have been a required timeline: Ratner didn't even own the land needed for the project, including Vanderbilt Yard development rights.)

Still, he sounded confident. "Actually as we build, we’ll probably start this project about a year from September [thus September 2006]," Ratner responded. "At that time, we’ll be building the arena and housing units at the same time. So over a period of, let’s say, the completion of first housing units are '08, and it will take probably another five or six years to complete all the housing.”

Another five or six years after the arena? Oh.

Stuckey's claim of less than ten years

Ratner was actually less misleading than his then-deputy, Jim Stuckey, responding to a reporter's question after an October 2004 press conference at the House of the Lord Church, when the Rev. Herbert Daughtry announced his support for the project.

Stuckey was asked how long the arena would take.

"I think the approvals and design of the arena will go on separate tracks but simultaneous tracks," Stuckey replied. "...what Bruce [Ratner] was saying, if everything comes together correctly, then sometime around early '06, January of '06, we should be in a position where we can break ground on the arena... it takes 18-24 months [to finish] the arena."

What about the rest of the project?

"The program that we’ve outlined is basically a ten-year program”--Stuckey touched his face in a tell I've excerpted into a GIF (right)--”we hope to do better than that, but we’ve conservatively said: to do the entire program, all of the housing, all of the office, is roughly a ten-year program.”


By the way, that's uber-flack Joe DePlasco, chewing gum, in the final frames of the video above.


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 …

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

This graphic, posted in November 2017, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

The previous graphic, from August 2017 (without the ghost B1)

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…

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 …