Skip to main content

Barclays Center rep says Community Events program launched, but no details offered (+web site deletion)

This is the fourth of five articles based on the 1/24/17 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park meeting. I previously wrote about the unclear timing of the project buildout, the role of Greenland, and the impact of exterior events.

At the meeting, I said that some two years ago community groups were selected for the ten low-cost community events at the Barclays Center promised in the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), but it didn't seem to have launched.

From DBNA web site 5/2/15: Arena Related
Programs" include "Community Events Program"
"It definitely launched," said Roland Guevara, Barclays Center VP for Community Relations, adding that it's been somewhat slow because it's tough to find space in a busy schedule.

How many such events, I asked, have been held?

"I don’t have the number offhand, but I’ll get the number," he responded. That didn't happen. I spoke to Guevara afterward and said I'd email him the next morning, which I did. I haven't heard back.

(The CBA says, on p. 31, "The Arena will be available to Community groups for at least ten (10) events per year, at a reasonable rate, with net proceeds from such events to be used to support non-profit community organizations." And the new owners of the arena operating company pledged in December 2015 to "continue to implement the portions of the Community Benefits Agreement and other community programs applicable to Barclays Center.")

The DBNA role

The reason for my curiosity and skepticism was that the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA), the CBA signatory with responsibility for overseeing the Community Events program, once listed the program on its web site (see above left) but no longer does (see below right).

From DBNA web site 1/26/17: no mention under "Arena
Related Programs" of "Community Events Program"
By May 2015, the DBNA said the 2014-15 application process had closed. (See screenshot below left.) That same message appeared in the February 2016 iteration of their web site.

Now it's gone, which suggests the program has stalled or halted.

Slow launch

Though the arena opened in September 2012, and the DBNA's distribution of free tickets to community groups began that year, the Community Events program took much longer to launch.

I wrote in March 2014 that the program was slated to launch, and later that year, community groups were chosen.

Organizations were invited to visit the arena to tour potential spaces, some larger and smaller. The DBNA was supposed to discuss with them the feasibility of and best location for events.

In a 1/28/16 article (no longer on the web) headlined "Rev. Herbert Daughtry: DBNA Component of Atlantic Yards’ CBA ‘Remains Intact,'" Our Time Press's Mary Alice Miller noted that the Community Events program seemed unclear:
Vira Jones, founder of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Museum of African Art, said her organization was selected via lottery to hold an event at Barclays Arena. “Then we were told to apply for a $5,000 grant,” said Jones. “I was turned down for the $5,000 grant.” Jones said she knows of one organization that got the $5,000 grant which would be used to pay for security during their Barclays event. “But, almost a year later, no one from Barclays has contacted the nonprofit about its event,” said Jones.
Indeed, the cost of required security and the use of the arena's designated caterer would add costs beyond a below-market rent.

Miller was unable to get a response from DBNA Executive Director Sharon Daughtry, a daughter of Rev. Daughtry. (Nor could I.)

A 2016 exchange, and a lingering question

Last year, following up on that Our Time Press report, I asked about the status of the Community Events program at an Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting 2/24/16.

"Ten groups were selected, unfortunately not a single one has had their events yet," responded Forest City Ratner spokeswoman Ashley Cotton, who also was speaking on behalf of the arena. She blamed "scheduling difficulties, a few mismatches in terms of understanding what was actually possible in the building."

She said arena officials had met with the Daughtrys and would meet again "to try to nail those down, and I hope to have success shortly." 

Since then, there's been no official announcement, and the information that has surfaced seems contradictory: the mention on the DBNA web site is gone, but Guevara said--without the update he promised--that the program has launched. If I learn more, I'll post an update.

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…

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…