Skip to main content

More from the AY CDC board meeting: new board member; some concerns responded to, others pending

I should mention some other items from the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation meeting 7/28/15, beyond the issue of changes to the Open Space Design Guidelines.

New board member

A final board member was added to the list, a gubernatorial appointment: Jennifer James, director of governmental and external affairs for CUNY Medgar Evers College. She said publicly that she had "lived in the neighborhood" (no location was given) and was "very familiar with the project."

James is a former district director for Rep. Ed Towns and a  one-time candidate for the 40th District City Council seat now occupied by Mathieu Eugene.

Community relations

AY CDC President Marion Phillips III provided a community relations update, citing a June 10 project site tour with developer Greenland Forest City Partners, the city Department of Transportation, and the New York Police Department, "to go over concerns community has been raised... It was very productive meeting."

He cited the June 24 community update meeting, with a presentation by DOT and a presentation on open space. (There were several people frustrated with DOT, it went unmentioned.)

And there was a July 17 "project site tour at the request of the community." (That 11 am walk was announced with three days notice. I couldn't make it.)

"We've noticed there is a core set of concerns," said Phillips, citing ongoing efforts to improve traffic enforcement at Atlantic and Sixth avenues, concerns about traffic congestion, the need for tree guards on Dean Street and Carlton Avenue, and truck queueing in the project site. Some residents would like congested Pacific Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues be made one-way

Of 99 complaints in 2015 through July 17, only three "are logged with an open status," with an average incident resolution time of 7.7 days. Whether resolved means "resolved to the complainant's satisfaction" remained unclear.

In response to a question by board member Jaime Stein, Phillips said the directors will receive the report electronically.

Monsignor Kieran Harrington suggested that efforts to ameliorate traffic should extend to Washington Avenue, which is "certainly an area of congestion."

"Documenting concerns is one thing," observed board member Linda Reardon. "What's the exact process to getting resolution with DOT on traffic concerns?"

Phillips gave a vague answer, noting the potential challenges involving city and state agencies. "On the easy issues, we work well," he said. "On the harder issues... it's city and state."

Pending questions

Wayne Bailey, president of the 78th Precinct Community Council and a member of Community Board 8, again protested traffic being diverted onto Carlton Avenue and Pacific Street. "It's hard on residents, it's hard on construction," he said. "I don't understand why we can't get this solved."

Phillips said ESD has spoken with the city Department of Transportation several times, so it's an ongoing issue.

Carlton Avenue resident Elisabeth Martin reiterated that trucks on Carlton between Dean and Pacific streets regularly scrape the trees. She recommended a cop be stationed to fine the trucks. "I have been speaking about this for the last year.. and nobody's listening," she said, noting that DOT may put up a ""No Trucks" sign.

Dean Street resident Peter Krashes noted that the Dean Street Block Association before the AY CDC meeting in May sent a letter "asking for data and documentation of our past engagement with ESD to be given to board members." He observed that "looking at issues in a segmented way" means that issues would be missed.

Martin raised another issue brought up by a neighbor. "We have had structural damage to our buildings... we do not know who is responsible... I need you to tell me to tell my neighbors where we can go."

Those issues were left unresolved.


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…

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 …

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…

"There is no alternative": DM Glen on de Blasio's affordable housing strategy

As I've written, Mayor Bill de Blasio sure knows how to steer and spin coverage of his affordable housing initiatives.

Indeed, his latest announcement, claiming significant progress, came with a pre-press release op-ed in the New York Daily News and then a friendly photo-op press conference with an understandably grateful--and very lucky--winner of an affordable housing lottery.

To me, though, the most significant quote came from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
said public housing had been “starved” of federal support for years now, leaving the city with fewer ways of creating affordable housing. “Are we relying too heavily on the private sector?” she said. “There is no alternative.” Though Glen was using what she surely sees as a common-sense phrase, it recalls the slogan of a politician with whom I doubt de Blasio identifies: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative who believed in free markets.

It suggests the limits to …