Skip to main content

In exit interview, DBP leader Reed insists luxury housing helps affordability

There were a couple of interesting nuggets in NY1 Online: Former President of Downtown Brooklyn Talks Future of Borough, posted 8/11/16, summarized as "Tucker Reed, the former president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, discussed the redevelopment of downtown Brooklyn and the future of the borough with Errol Louis."

Trickle-down affordability?


"All of this growth necessitates a conversation about, and a real commitment to, infrastructure. The original plan for Downtown Brooklyn was for office space, we ended up with residential," he said. "It's been very helpful for the borough, because it helps keep affordable--all that supply means that other parts of Brooklyn won't become unaffordable as new residents are given the option of living in Downtown Brooklyn. But you need new schools. You need additional sanitation service. You need more open space."

Host Louis was skeptical: "You're suggesting that the building of market-rate, or even luxury housing Downtown, brand-new housing, might sort of halt gentrification right there at the waterfront , and prevent it from spreading further out. That of course is not really the experience of most people watching."

"Look, the conversation about affordability in the city, and it's great to have one, and we've been suffering from a housing crisis for decades," Reed responded, "and this administration, Mayor de Blasio has been very active in tackling it head on, as was his predecessor Mayor Bloomberg [who whiffed on affordability in the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning--ed.]. But it's simple supply and demand.  [Isn't a whole lot more supply needed to move the needle?] And often this conversation becomes very complicated, because people have strong feelings, 'cause it impacts their lives, and it impacts the quality of their life. But the answer to the affordability question is that we need more  housing period. We need more luxury housing, we need more mid-market housing, we need more affordable housing."

He went on to tout the transit infrastructure in Downtown Brooklyn and then the mayor's proposed BQX streetcar (backed, by the way, by developers in the DBP as well as Reed's old employer, Two Trees).

He also suggested that institutions of higher education in Downtown Brooklyn might monetize their real estate and build "additional student housing, space for programs," following NYU's formula in Manhattan.

Back to luxury housing

At about 8:22, Louis cited the advent of needle-like buildings. "Normally, I think--because I remember what it was like before, 'Hey full speed ahead, develop whatever you can develop, so it doesn't look like, y'know, the old Albee Square mall.'... Does the future have to be a 1000-story spire [surely he meant 100-story] for luxury residents..."? 

"Look, does it have to be for luxury residential?" Reed responded. "No. it should be a mix of uses. But my humble opinion.. we should not be afraid of embracing the 21st-century city, and that means density, and that means height, and that means place where you have the transit infrastructure."

Sounds like his embrace of the "iconic" office building proposed for Site 5 of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park.

"We need to be building four or five of those [residential towers] every month just to keep pace with what's coming," he said, citing the demand for housing. Well, that's if luxury housing is the solution to a seemingly intractable problem.

Louis asked if the developers were on board, "betting on an endless supply of wealthy people?"

"The reality is the vast majority of product being built in Downtown Brooklyn is not luxury housing, it's rental," responded Reed, setting a rather fine distinction between luxury condos and market-rate rentals. "Many of them have affordable components. So we don't really have a deep luxury condo market yet."

What next?

What's Reed doing next? 

"I'm going to do a little of my own thing now," he said, "working with a company called Hello Alfred, which is working on a personal assistant service to bring to the masses," for the millenial generation.

"And I'll start thinking about some of my own development projects," he continued. "Affordability is something that --I'll always be a public sector guy in my heart, and affordability matters to me. So affordable housing projects, and really looking the opportunity for more office creation in Brooklyn
I think there's a ton of pent-up demand that's not being met now. And I'd like to figure ways in the private sector to be part of the solution."

Based on the path of his predecessor, Joe Chan, Reed could go to Empire State Development, the state authority that oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards. Or if he's working on office creation, perhaps he'll intersect some day with the Site 5 project.


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 + FAQ (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in February 2018, 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--but not yet approved--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.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won…

The passing of David Sheets, Dean Street renter, former Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality

David Sheets, longtime Dean Street renter, Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality, died 1/17/18 in HCA Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green, KY. He was 56.

There are obituary notices in the Bowling Green Daily News and the Wichita Eagle, which state:
He was born in Wichita, KS where he attended public Schools and Wichita State University. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was employed as a legal assistant. David's hobby was cartography and had an avid interest in Mass Transit Systems of the world. David was predeceased by his father, Kenneth E. Sheets. He is survived by his mother, Wilma Smith, step-brother, Billy Ray Smith and his wife, Jane all of Bowling Green; step-sister, Ellen Smith Alexander and her husband, Jerry of Bella Vista, AR; several cousins and step-nieces and step-nephews also survive. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm with visitation from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday at Johnson-Vaughn-Phe…

Some skepticism on Belmont hockey deal: lease value seems far below Aqueduct racino; unclear (but large?) cost for LIRR service

As I wrote for The Bridge 12/20/1, The Islanders Say Bye to Brooklyn, But Where Next?, the press conference announcing a new arena at Belmont Park for the New York Islanders was "long on pomp... but short on specifics."

Notably, a lease valued at $40 million "upfront to lease up to 43 acres over 49 years... seems like a good deal on rent for the state-controlled property." Also, the Long Island Rail Road will expand service to Belmont.

That indicates public support for an arena widely described as "privately financed," but how much? We don't know yet, but some more details--or at least questions--have emerged.

An Aqueduct comparable?

Well, we don't know what the other bid was, and there aren't exactly parcels that large offering direct comparables.

But consider: Genting New York LLC in September 2010 was granted a franchise to operate a video lottery terminal under a 30 year lease on 67 acres at Aqueduct Park (as noted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo).


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…