Skip to main content

Greenland moves in: an unreported meeting with Bloomberg, a promotion at Times Square ("Skyscraper Specialist from China")

Mike Bloomberg & Zhang Yuliang
At right is a photo we never saw last October from the office of then New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

Nine days before developer Forest City Ratner and the Chinese-government owned Greenland Group announced a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture to build the remaining Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn--with a supportive quote from Bloomberg--the mayor met in his office with Greenland Chairman Zhang Yuliang.

The photo and announcement appear on Greenland's own page for news releases. Deputy Mayor Robert Steel and Borough President Marty Markowitz also attended the meeting.

According to a crude Google translation of the 10/11/13 news release, Bloomberg "pointed out that New York City will be their help to solve the various problems encountered in the Green Group in the United States investment process, coordinating parties to provide more convenient conditions and quality service for Greenland Group, strive for the early realization of cooperation expected results."

That seems to be happening.

As noted in coverage of the EB-5 immigrant investor program, Chinese investors like to be reassured by the role of government in a project, however spurious. In this case, the role of government is significant.

Here We Come
A Skyscraper Specialist from China
According to Forest City's press release, Bloomberg said, "This investment would allow us to move forward with one of the most ambitious affordable housing programs in our City's history. I am thrilled that this global company sees in New York an opportunity to invest and contribute to the future of our City, an investment that would create housing for thousands of people of diverse backgrounds and means."

Greenland moves forward

Another news release, dated 12/24/13, describes Greenland's self-promotion in advertising signage at Times Square, apparently keyed to the company's announcement of major projects in New York and Los Angeles, part of a huge worldwide push.

The signage stated "Here We Come," with Greenland being described as "A Skyscraper Specialist from China."

From the crude Google translation:
"America, here we come!" Following the real estate project has landed in New York, Los Angeles, recently, green group image videos and successfully landed New York Times Square (Times Square) giant screen in the world's most valuable advertising "Crossroads of the World" completed officially unveiled.
...The total length of 15 seconds promo, pithily demonstrates green brands to enter the U.S. market confidence and ambition to compelling words and vibrant pictures to show the world "super high-rise building experts from China's" brand value and corporate style.
The promo comes Greenland Group Overseas delivery period of rapid development, will greatly enhance green brand visibility and influence abroad
Some context: Greenland's towers

It should be noted that, for "Skyscraper Specialist" Greenland, Atlantic Yards, at least in terms of height/bulk, is relatively minor.

The tallest Atlantic Yards tower would be 511 feet. The company's list of largest towers starts at 606 meters (1988 feet), with the fifth-largest at 358 meters (1174 feet).

Perhaps Greenland will be a candidate to built the 1000-foot-tall tower apparently possible at the current Downtown Brooklyn site for Junior's Restaurant.

(Boosterish quote from current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams: “We’re not anybody’s little brother anymore. Don’t mess with the new address: Brooklyn.” )

Some context: China's rush to build

Then again, the Atlantic Yards site is not a decontextualized new city or neighborhood, as is so often the pattern, so the interplay between bulk and neighborhood is more delicate (as shown in the Atlantic Yards Alternatives exhibit).

Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin offered some cautionary context about China's huge building plans (though not specifically about Greenland), writing 2/21/14:
It is a tale of hypersized, hyperfast urbanization that has simultaneously lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and spawned dystopian living conditions: pea-soup skies, sterile new business districts and monotonous housing blocks.
It takes time and vision to build great cities. But the strategies China has pursued mix the megalomania of Soviet-style public squares, the gigantism of American skyscrapers, and a one-dimensional Chinese focus on boosting the economy rather than the quality of life.
In other words, being a "Skyscraper Specialist" may only take you so far.

Comments

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 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…

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 …