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Showing posts from November, 2015

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

Paterson promised New York State would be "scrupulous in our monitoring," but neighbors document clogged street, demolition dust

Remember then-Gov. David Paterson at the March 2010 groundbreaking for the Barclays Center? "To those who have supported the project and to those who opposed the project," he declared , "I guarantee that we will be scrupulous in our monitoring of the contract that Forest City Ratner signed with the state to make sure that everything we were promised, we receive." There are several ways to look at that statement, which seems tilted to monitoring the project's benefits, though of course Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing/shepherding the project, has not pointed out the less-affordable nature of the subsidized housing. Nor did it proactively make public the mold and water-infiltration problems with the B2 modular tower. As to the regular complaints and concerns regarding construction impacts, state officials like to say incidents are "closed," though that doesn't necessarily mean much. What might the state report to the

Gargano, Mastroianni, and a table at Rao's; don't forget the EB-5 connection

Let's decode this story from yesterday's New York Post Page 6 gossip site,  Financier fights back against claims of a Rao’s regular : Florida financier Julian Rubinstein is fighting back after Rao’s regular Charles Gargano told us Rubinstein’s story that he bought Gargano’s Rao’s table for charity — then was stiffed — is full of baloney. .... The red-sauce row thickened when Rubinstein shot back: “I researched my e-mails and found that Nick Mastroianni III — who was running for and won [Leukemia & Lymphoma Society] man of the year — got Gargano to donate the table.” Mastroianni III’s dad, Nicholas Mastroianni II, is president of US Immigration Fund, where Gargano’s executive director. “Nick provided all of Gargano’s contact info — I certainly didn’t get Gargano’s cell number from Google,” Rubinstein said. Mastroianni III told Page 6 that Gargano did donate his Rao’s table to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, but had already promised the table to another cancer organiza

Developer buys auto-related lots catercorner to NE edge of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, plans apartments on Atlantic

From the New York Post 11/24/15 Developer Jeffrey Gershon of Hope Street Capital has locked up the entire southern blockfront of Atlantic Avenue, between Vanderbilt and Clinton, with 99-year leases for two sprawling parcels at 529 Vanderbilt and 809 Atlantic. It is expected to take on a 550 Clinton address. The site — home to ramshackle car washes and repair joints — is opposite the McDonald’s and the Pacific Park project. Up the block, a 2012-era rental at 525 Clinton has shown the area is ripe for modern apartments. Actually, this is the north side of Atlantic Avenue, at Vanderbilt Avenue, opposite McDonald's and catercorner to the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park site. It's currently occupied by Atlantic Hand Wash at the corner and other auto uses. There's a lot of traffic, of course, but the neighborhood is changing. The Pacific Park building at that corner, B10, is tentatively scheduled to open in 2019, the first tower to be built on a deck over the Vanderbilt Yard.

"Beware of China's Safety Record," in Brooklyn?

Beware of China's Safety Record , opined Chinese novelist Murong Xuecun in the 11/26/15 New York Times, regarding accidents in Chinese industrial buildings, construction sites, and mega-engineering projects, including nuclear power projects. "There’s no reason to expect the safety standards and the quality of building to be higher in China-run projects abroad," he wrote, citing the management role of "Chinese state-owned companies," work done by "imported, low-paid Chinese laborers," with management by "mainly Chinese government appointees." He citesdincidents in Vietnam and Ecuador, as well as information control from Chinese authorities. And in Brooklyn Should that impact how we think about Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park? After all, it's a project of the joint venture Greenland Forest City Partners, with Greenland Holdings, controlled by the government of Shanghai, owning 70% of the project going forward, excluding the Barclays

EB-5 gets an unskeptical mention in the New York TImes

From a Sunday Business section story in the New York Times, headlined  Chinese Cash Floods U.S. Real Estate Market : Investments in the United States provide another advantage: a pathway to a green card. Chinese investors have been particularly aggressive at using a federal visa program called EB-5 that allows overseas citizens to put $500,000 to $1 million into a project that will create at least 10 jobs. Investors can get a green card in about two years. So far this year, 86 percent of the EB-5 visas issued worldwide have gone to Chinese. Ha! It should be "that will purportedly create at least 10 jobs."

Hubris: developer touts "public benefit" of new infrastructure, though railyard was downsized

The 11/27/15  tweet  below from Pacific Park Brooklyn represents remarkable hubris: "Investing in complicated #infrastructure makes for the biggest public benefit." Do keep in mind that the 2005 deal to build a modernized replacement Vanderbilt Yard to store and service Long Island Rail Road trains was revised, at Forest City Ratner's request, in 2009, and accepted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The permanent railyard, instead of having nine tracks with capacity for 76 cars, will have seven tracks with capacity for 56 cars. While there would be several improvements, the new railyard would be valued at $147 million, while the MTA's Gary Dellaverson in 2009 said the previous iteration could be worth $250 million, after inflation.

Looking at discounts for Islanders game on Monday

According to the Living Social deal web site, there are some big discounts for Monday's New York Islanders game against the Colorado Avalanche, which is not exactly a premier opponent. That's $35 for two tickets, via the re-seller Venue Kings. Note that typically sellers on sites like Living Social and Groupon take home 50% to 60% of the fee. As shown on the Venue Kings chart below, sections 211 and 221 are not bad, since they are not in the restricted-view side of the venue, where, curiously enough, many tickets are not available. (Are those for the Barclays Center to distribute as freebies?) Surely some tickets on these resale sites come from season ticketholders, but I have to believe some are quietly put on sale by the venue itself. On the Venue Kings website itself, tickets start at $9.96. Is that a better deal overall?? Actually, if you're buying from Venue Kings (and many other sites), there's a big service fee, so two tickets cost $37.29, which

Holiday discounts at the Barclays Center. Lots of them.

Remember, pricing for Barclays Center events, including many Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders games, is variable. Below is a partial screenshot from a recent promotion, offering 30% off selected basketball and hockey games.

"Posing for holy cards": the Nets and the Thanksgiving giveaway

Yes, it may seem churlish to look critically at the Brooklyn Nets' recent charity/media event, helping give out Thanksgiving turkeys and other food to needy families via the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger. After all, it does short-term good, helping hundreds of needy families, and shows the basketball players in unselfish mode. But really, do you think the Nets would do this without the reciprocal promise and expectation of significant media coverage (aka "earned media" )? After all, this event, which surely cost the Brooklyn Nets more in organizational time than money--partner Key Food supplied all the food--generated coverage on their own web site (and video ), television coverage via WPIX (a Barclays Center partner!) and  News12 , an article in the Brooklyn Paper (a Forest City Ratner tenant!), and blog mentions in Kings County Politics , the Brooklyn Reader , and NetsDaily . (And maybe more.) Above right is a telling screenshot from the Brooklyn Reader

Video: dust from 535 Carlton dumpster drifts into neighborhood

So, what's the source of dust coming from the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park construction site? According to the video shot today by resident Wayne Bailey, dust is coming from dumpsters at the 535 Carlton construction site, which extends out into the street, between Dean and Pacific streets. That means the dust not only streams out to passers-by, it starts pretty close to the houses across Carlton. (Yes, there's a guy working on the site without a hardhat, telling his colleagues to "look out" for the annoying guy filming them.) The promise of a Dust Management Plan According to the Second Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments , required by Empire State Development of developer Forest City Ratner (and its new joint venture partner): Prior to the commencement of construction activities for each major work phase, FCRC or its contractor(s) shall prepare a Dust Management Plan that identifies: the location of the fixtures to be used in controlling dust a

The 5 am concrete pour has been rescheduled to Saturday, it seems. Why the weekend work?

Remember that 5 am concrete pour at the B3 site that was supposed to happen yesterday? It didn't happen, for reasons unexplained. Now it is likely to occur this Saturday, with up to 90 trucks accessing the tower construction site at Dean Street and Sixth Avenue, beginning at 5 am, according to the Community Notice below. There's no explanation why a weekend, when neighbors might want to be sleep late, is acceptable when, presumably, there are five other days in the week when the pour might occur. The notice Community Notice Saturday, November 28, 2015 B3 - 48 Sixth Avenue Please be advised of the possibility that on Saturday, November 28, 2015 contractors will be working beginning at 5AM throughout the day on a large concrete pour relating to 38 Sixth Avenue. [The document erroneously said 48 Sixth]. This work is pending final permitting and logistics, but we wanted to make you aware before the holiday. Pursuant to their permit, contractors will be comp

What's wrong? In move to Brooklyn, attendance at Islanders games is down

ESPN chart, click to enlarge What's going on here? The New York Islanders, upon their move to Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season, were not only expected to take advantage of a suite-filled new arena that would drive revenues, they were also expected to reconstitute their fan base. That was supposed to make up for the loss of some Long Island-based fans no longer willing to drive (and seek parking) or take the LIRR by drawing more from Brooklyn and the boroughs. So far, that hasn't really happened--though there are some partly plausible explanations. According to ESPN , the Islanders are averaging just 12,407 people per game, 28th in the 30-team league, in the arena with the league's second smallest capacity , 15,795, which includes some very bad seats. That's 78.5% of capacity, 25th in the league, while in their final season at the Nassau Coliseum, they  averaged  15,334 fans, or 94.8% of capacity. Of course, the cost of seats rose 70% . But if

The demolition begins on Dean Street, with "blighted" 495 Dean (passerby: "effing property stealers")

Contractors for developer Greenland Forest City Partners today began hand demolition of two-story 495 Dean Street, one of two 19th-century houses long owned by the family of Jerry Campbell, which were taken via eminent domain (with the financial compensation yet unresolved, as far as I know). Campbell was evicted in May from the neighboring, three-story house, after he lost title via eminent domain. The two-story building, which had lost its roof and most of the second floor by the time I stopped by, is one of three houses left on a 100-foot stretch east of Sixth Avenue that was claimed, as best as I could determine, not because blight magically attached to that parcel. Rather, at least in initial plans, developer Forest City Ratner planned to use the entire lot between Dean and Pacific Streets for construction staging when the arena was being built simultaneously with four towers. That plan became financially infeasible, and the downsized arena was decoupled from towers

Lead time, for once: next Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting scheduled for December 9

A message yesterday from Empire State Development: Greenland Forest City Partners (GLFC) and Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) will host the next Community Update (formerly known as Quality of Life) meeting.  Wednesday, December 9, 2015 6:00 - 8:00 PM Shirley Chisholm State Office Building 55 Hanson Place, Brooklyn NY 11201 1st Floor Conference Room  We will present an overview of the upcoming construction activities surrounding the project. Please plan to arrive promptly in order to provide time for presentations and questions and answers from the community members. If you have any questions please contact Nicole Jordan at . Thank you for your continued commitment to the overall success of this project. The 16-day lead time for the announcement represents belated progress. After community complaints last month regarding the confirmation announcements for scheduled meetings, three members of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corpora

The need for better construction updates: Atlantic Avenue crane wasn't removed until last night, actually

Ok, the Atlantic Avenue crane for the Barclays Center green roof was supposed to be disassembled this past Friday overnight, ending at 10 am Saturday. That didn't happen. Rather, the work--I'm not sure when it actually began--was finished yesterday afternoon and early evening, according to photos taken by resident Wayne Bailey, and flatbed trailers were waiting along Atlantic Avenue, including a bus stop. Bottom line: we need a real-time update of construction activities from Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park developer Greenland Forest City Partners, as well as Empire State Development, the state authority overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards. We also need responses to Bailey's monitoring, including reports yesterday of a mysterious smell outside the 666 Pacific Street site, which is being prepared for demolition. The crane last night; note removal of blue construction fence outside Atlantic Avenue entrance to Barclays Center Trailer outside Barclays Center wait

Prokhorov counsels patience, avoids questions about Nets' attendance, etc.

From the Record,  Mikhail Prokhorov weighs in on Nets slow start : The Record asked Prokhorov about several problems hanging over the Nets, including their lack of future first round draft picks; the drop-off in attendance. Prokhorov was also asked if he’s worried the Nets might lose fans to the suddenly-surging Knicks, and if his franchise missed an opportunity to gain traction with New York fans over the last few years when the Knicks were struggling. But Prokhorov did not address any of these questions in the email. Instead, he sent a message of patience for his struggling team. Devin Kharpertian of the Brooklyn Game suggested that  Mikhail Prokhorov’s most interesting answers were the ones he didn’t give . Added Net Income (aka Bob Windrem) of  NetsDaily : Prokhorov, of course, is as hamstrung by the Nets lack of flexibility as those he works for. There's little he can do under the CBA to improve the team's situation. Some in the organization think that he and

A college basketball tourney at Barclays. A "very sparse crowd."

From Tim Bontemps in the Washington Post,  Ben Simmons has assumed the mantle of the NBA’s next great hope : For the 51 NBA scouts and personnel executives in attendance — a significant portion of the very sparse crowd that partially filled Barclays Center’s lower bowl Monday night — it was a glimpse of what [LSU's Ben] Simmons, an Australian who is projected to be one of the top picks in the 2016 NBA draft, is capable of. So how many people attended the FanDuel Legends Classic last night? The overall attendance was not reported . Yes, it was a cold night. And a Monday night a few days before a holiday. And maybe the problems with FanDuel, a big-spending fantasy sports site that suspended its New York operations in the wake of a cease-and-desist order from New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, played a part. I wondered if the price was too high. For tonight, the final day of the two-day tournaments, seats--lower-bowl seats--start at $15.00, as noted in the

Proposal in Albany would require consultants like BerlinRosen, close to de Blasio and Forest City, to register as lobbyists

It hasn't made big headlines yet, but a significant change is percolating in Albany, where the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) is proposing to  require "strategic consulting firms" like BerlinRosen and SKDKnickerbocker--which, respectively, work for and have worked for Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner--to register as lobbyists. Chris Bragg of the Albany Times-Union broke the news last Thursday, in  JCOPE clarifies proposal targeting ‘strategic consultants’ : Some of New York’s most successful “strategic consulting” firms – such as Manhattan-based BerlinRosen and SKDKnickerbocker – have close relationships with politicians who are their campaign clients, and also represent interests with business before these clients. But their employees hardly ever register as lobbyists. These firms maintain, however, that they do not actually ask those elected officials to make policy decisions benefitting those interests, and focus on public relations enhanc

Forest City's Gilmartin in Businessweek: "What I Wear to Work"

Intercepted (imaginary) memo from an unnamed Dean of Academic Studies: Rarely does a document appear that might be consulted in so many of our academic and evening programs: Gender Studies, Real Estate Development, Executive Leadership,  Work-Life Balance,  Luxury Brand Building, and Personal Shopping. Please see, from   Bloomberg Businessweek, What I Wear to Work: Forest City Ratner’s MaryAnne Gilmartin: The real estate CEO shows her feminine side. " Please note that Gilmartin's "nebbish" predecessor/boss Bruce Ratner did not provoke as many avenues for discussion. 

From the latest Construction Alert: 5 am concrete pour Tuesday; 550 Vanderbilt to reach 18th floor; demo on Dean

According to the latest two-week Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Alert (below), for the two weeks starting Monday Nov. 23, a potential 14-hour job--the pouring of the center mat foundation for the B3 tower at Dean Street and Sixth Avenue--could begin at 5 am. No date was attached. By early afternoon, just a few hours after the alert was circulated, the 78th Precinct tweeted that the pour would occur on Tuesday, Nov. 24, and that concrete trucks would enter via Pacific Street and back into the 6th Avenue gate--a somewhat confusing piece of information. (Should people avoid the block?) The Construction Alert, which is often issued on the day it's dated, or even the day after, was circulated yesterday by Empire State Development after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners. Surely they recognized that they had to get the word out ahead of time. But shouldn't this minimal amount of lead time be routine? A demo, and a top-out  Note that demolition of three

Is funding for affordable tower (535 Carlton?) on hold?

Politico NY yesterday reported  Cuomo threatening de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, sources say : In another apparent dispute between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, the governor has threatened to cancel funding for federal tax-exempt bonds that would finance the mayor's affordable housing plan, multiple sources have confirmed. Cuomo's office indicated in the last week it would not give City Hall any funding for the bond program through the end of the calendar year, despite an earlier commitment, sources said. Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever said that the governor never threatened to cancel the funding. The state controls a finite amount of "bond cap"--a limit on the total of tax-exempt funding, the burden of which mostly falls on federal taxpayers. At issue, apparently, is the state's discretion to give more than the required $300 million it has already given the city, which anticipated another $200 million to $300 million, even as the statewide b

Atlantic Avenue crane will finally be removed, starting Friday overnight; road constricted through 10 am Saturday

A Community Notice (below) circulated yesterday by Pacific Park Brooklyn indicated that Atlantic Avenue outside the Barclays Center will be narrowed starting "overnight hours" Friday (unspecified_ through 10 am Saturday to accommodate the belated (see below) disassembly and removal of the crane used to work on the arena's green roof. Thus, both crosswalks across Atlantic Avenue at Fort Greene Place (from the Atlantic Terminal Mall to the plaza in front of the Barclays Center), will be closed, and both eastbound and westbound lanes on Atlantic Avenue will be narrowed, likely triggering vehicle delays. The eastbound B45 bus stop at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues will be temporarily closed, with passengers for that bus advised to either walk 1,500 feet east to Atlantic Avenue and Cumberland Street or take the eastbound B65 bus on Dean Street at  Fifth Avenue. Traffic Enforcement Agents will be provided to assist with vehicular and pedestrian movements. Var

Video: congestion on Dean Street caused by truck waiting for arena loading dock causes cars to take detour via sidewalk

Update Nov. 24, six days later: Empire State Development's Nicole Jordan wrote Wayne Bailey, who'd asked for accountability, a reply that conveyed apology without penalty:  "Thanks again for bringing this to our attention. I was informed by Barclays that there was a miscommunication somewhere between the loading dock downstairs and staff at street level managing vehicle intake. Barclays recognizes that this condition is unacceptable and is working internally to eliminate congestion build up on the arena block." Screenshot from video below This is astounding. Earlier today, the intersection of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue was congested when an 18-wheeler simply stopped in its tracks on Dean, waiting for the Barclays Center loading dock to become free. The video below, shot by resident Wayne Bailey, lasts more than three minutes, but the situation was even longer. And as shown in the video, cars and even a bicycle were waved onto the south sidewalk of De

Now that Barclays has been fined again, will name on Barclays Center get reconsidered?

Today, Morgan Pehme, writer, filmmaker and executive director of the good-government group Effective NY , noted that Barclays agreed to pay an additional $150 million penalty to the New York State Department of Financial Services for misconduct related to automated, electronic foreign exchange (FX) trading. That's on top of many larger fines to the state and federal agencies, as well as a felony plea. As I argued @morganpehme , state contracts seem2 require @Barclays name stripped from @barclayscenter @CityAndStateNY — Norman Oder (@AYReport) November 18, 2015 In other words, an elected official need not call for a name change. Rather, they should just ask for contracts to be enforced.

In the Atlantic, de Blasio's affordable housing record gets a casual cheer

From Molly Ball's article in the December Atlantic, The Equalizer: Bill de Blasio vs. Inequality: The New York City mayor has some big ideas, but they may be too much too fast. : Under de Blasio, the city has also mandated that employers offer paid sick leave, raised the minimum wage for certain workers, and created a new ID card that helps undocumented immigrants get access to banks and other services. The card has proved hugely popular—more than half a million have been issued. Some rents have been frozen, for the first time in half a century—providing relief to more than 1 million New Yorkers— and more than 20,000 units of affordable housing have been created or preserved . Together with Police Commissioner William Bratton, the community-policing pioneer who held the job under Giuliani in the 1990s, de Blasio has dialed back the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy and stopped arresting people caught with small amounts of marijuana. De Blasio, in other words, is making the city less un

Why is cost of Pacific Park parking off the charts? (more than $100,000 per space)

Something doesn't compute. Check out the chart below from Forest City Enterprises' Form 10-Q , filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission 11/3/15. The cost of "Pacific Park - Parking" is $99.6 million. The footnote points to 950 parking spaces, part of a total of 1,200 spaces for both arenagoers and residents. (Remember, parking was reduced.) That's $104,842 per space, which is off the charts, and seemingly twice that of peak numbers in the city. I asked Forest City for any explanation, but didn't get an answer. How much should parking cost? According to a December 2013 Department of City Planning study (as Streetsblog cited  1/23/14), with emphasis added: According to industry data, the median parking structure costs in New York City are $21,000 per space or $63 per square foot to build – the highest in the country.12 In contrast, the national average for structured parking costs $16,000 per space or $48 per square foot to build.13 These e

Massaging history: principal in raising EB-5 funds for Atlantic Yards claims all projects "are in poor areas of Brooklyn..."

Five years ago, I reported on the deceptive marketing by the New York City Regional Center (NYCRC), a privately owned, federally authorized investment pool, of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards as an EB-5 investment, raising $228 million in in 2010. (Since then another $349 million in EB-5 funds for the project has been raised via another firm.) Well, the deception continues, as talk about EB-5 rises, given that a key aspect of the program is up for Congressional renewal next month. And the deception is on video, as I describe below. Remember, under EB-5, immigrant investors who care more about green cards than investment return offer low-cost loans of $500,000 that purportedly create or retain ten jobs each. Developers reap low-cost financing and middlemen take their cut. The investors don't mind low or no interest because they want the green cards and, anyhow, they're just parking their $500,000 for five years or so, the main sacrifice foregone interest. (The inv

A lingering quote: the Barclays Center as "elephant in the room" when it comes to community planning

Yes, this is a year old, but I didn't catch it, and it's worth remembering.   Developers Envision Hotel, Housing and Retail at Crown Heights Armory , DNAinfo's Rachel Holliday Smith reported 10/20/14 on proposals for the Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights. At a New York City Economic Development Coporation meeting " to present some of the developers' proposals and get feedback from residents," NYC EDC Vice President Lydia Downing offered a telling quote: Throughout the meeting, EDC officials said repeatedly that they would take the community's input into consideration and contrasted the process with what Downing called "the elephant in the room," the Barclays Center . “One thing I want to be very clear about is that this is going through a different process. The Barclays Center project went through a state process that did not require as much community input,” she said. Still true.

Save up to 31%: at Costco, discount tickets for Nets and Islanders

There are all kinds of ways to sell tickets, and at different prices. So notice two lower-level ticket vouchers, available via Costco, to see the Nets or the Islanders for $144.99, or $72.50 per seat, up to 31% savings. The  Nets  and  Islanders  tickets are also available online from Costco. The only Nets games excluded involved the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, and the Detroit Pistons (the day after Christmas). It's worth noting that, while the Islanders promotion shows captain John Tavares, the Nets promotion shows a DUMBO scene with the Manhattan Bridge in the background, as if an identification with the borough can still cut it.

Transparency? Asbestos abatement notice cites Sunday, late night work, but is absent from Construction Update

There's something a little confusing about the Asbestos Abatement Notice posted outside 666 Pacific Street, at the corner of Sixth Avenue, a building slated for demolition for the B15 tower (aka 664 Pacific). It indicates that the work schedule is Monday through Sunday, 7 am through 11:45 pm. That's quite different from the previous notice , 7 am to 7 pm Monday to Saturday, which was up last Sunday when work was going on , disturbing neighbors. However, neither late-night work nor Sunday work were indicated in the Construction Update issued Monday, Nov. 9, by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners. I queried ESD yesterday as to why, but didn't hear back. I'll post an update if and when I learn more.

Forest City's Canela saluted by CO for rebuilding modular work force (and where's report on B2 cost increase?)

Among  The New Players of Commercial Real Estate and CRE Finance --25 lenders and debt brokers under 35 in the region, and 30 leasing, sales, development and investment professionals under 30 years in the city--is  Elizabeth Canela , 27, Senior Project Manager of External Affairs Division at Forest City Ratner Companies. She doesn't address the public at meetings, but she's around, part of the team led by External Affairs Senior VP Ashley Cotton. The profile notes that Canela, who began at Forest City some two years ago as an intern, interviewed 30 people a week to re-staff the modular factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard after Forest City's split with Skanska. Some 80% of the workers are minorities, and 11% female, and Canela, who grew up in the Ingersoll Houses, is tracking NYCHA residents. "Creating access and opportunities in real ways is important,” she said. Canela's achievement is worth noting.  (As is the comparison--we don't know--between the

Double Crossing Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum's hosting of Real Estate Summit draws protest from artists and anti-gentrification activists

Perhaps it was overdue.  The ongoing relationship between the Brooklyn Museum and the city's real estate high-flyers is under fire, as artists and anti-gentrification activists are protesting the museum's willingness to rent space to the Sixth Annual Brooklyn Real Estate Summit , an industry event. The panels and networking opportunities Nov. 17 aim at new sources of profit--and, as the protesters point out, foster gentrification and displacement. (I covered the summit last year for City Limits, noting it was not the place for some of the "dicey discussions" inspired by Brooklyn's boom.) Hence the cleverly-named "Double Crossing Brooklyn" protest, a play on the museum's recent "Crossing Brooklyn" exhibition, and the satirical description of real estate principals as pioneers in " for-profit creative placemaking." Protesters are  crowdfunding  to pay for signs and flyers, city permits, and props. Those involved i