Skip to main content

Barclays Center is one of "The New Shapes of New York" (but how public is that plaza?)


The New Shapes of New York declares the Times today, in a cover article in the Metropolitan section. From Matt A.V. Chaban's introduction:
Today, apart from the Empire State or Chrysler Building, there are few icons of the skyline. The buildings outlined above, however, may someday be worthy of appearing in a Times Square souvenir snow globe. These are the projects that have captured the imagination of more than a dozen shapers and observers of the city consulted by The New York Times for their perspective on the new standouts.
You may not recognize these silhouettes, but in time, you will.
The Barclays Center

From the Times:
The home of the Nets and Islanders was built across the street from Robert Moses’ unrealized Dodgers stadium, though the arena was almost unrealized, too, after years of lawsuits over the use of eminent domain.
Barclays Center has become one of the most important new public spaces and landmarks in the city, part of a larger narrative of the transformation of Downtown Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Cultural District. Despite all the criticism about Atlantic Yards and the history of the development, the Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue crossroads is an important part of the city’s future and growth. Part of that is a network of pedestrian-oriented public spaces that connect people, transit and multiple uses.”
Justin Garrett Moore, Executive director, Public Design Commission
That's a disappointingly narrow response, because the open space is accidental, and the preservation of this "public" plaza is being used to argue for a huge shift of development rights across the street.
New York by Gehry

Also in the mix is another Forest City Ratner building, though the developer is unnamed:
This 904-unit luxury tower may be an unusual symbol of Lower Manhattan’s rebirth, but with roughly $200 million in post-Sept. 11 bond financing, the 76-story edifice is a reminder of the many ways the area has been reshaped since 2001.

“I have no claims for aesthetic competence, but the Gehry building certainly looks nice enough to me as an economist who loves cities. The fact that it’s residential matters a lot. If anything, New York, and particularly downtown New York, has a mismatch between its residential needs and an abundance of commercial space. New York is at its healthiest when it is profoundly mixed use, when it is residential and commercial and recreational all at once. I like the fact that the apartments aren’t just apartments for billionaires. They’re not particularly cheap — it’s still New York — but it’s rental. They’re midsized, a lot are under 1,000 square feet. The fact that it has a school on the bottom floors is nice as well.

Edward Glaeser, Author of “Triumph of the City”; Harvard economics professor
Ah, there are certainly things to like about this building's design, but that capsule description omits all the question marks, such as the use of triple tax-exempt financing for luxury units.

Remember the developer crowing about being able to use tax-exempt bonds for market-rate units? And that school that Glaeser likes, well, there was blackmail behind it. And the developer played chicken with construction unions to lower costs.

Available one-bedroom units range from $3,570 to $4,880. At 461 Dean, they range from $3,125 to $3,425.

What about 432 Park Avenue?

Also of note is the citation of 432 Park Avenue, the skyscraping cubic tower, the tallest apartment building in the city, which  gets kudos from a major real estate broker. “This building is all about seeing forever," says Elizabeth Stribling. "As for its design, it has this pure elegance, something that’s simple and won’t go out of style... Many people don’t like it because they see it as an eyesore, because you can see it from everywhere. On the other hand, that’s what people thought of the Eiffel Tower.”

But the Eiffel Tower was built for the public, not private interests.

From what I've heard from locals and visitors, 432 Park is almost universally loathed. Opinions about the Barclays structure are far more mixed.

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 …

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…

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

Click on graphic to enlarge. This is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change, and the project is already well behind that tentative timetable.


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 …