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Showing posts from November, 2017

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

A looming fence outside main entrance to now-open 38 Sixth is finally dismantled

On Tuesday, when I walked by in late afternoon, there was a large green fence around 38 Sixth Avenue , the latest building in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park to open, a "100% affordable" rental. It extended into the street. The building is at the southeast corner of the arena block, and a piece of the Barclays Center is at right in the photo below. The building does have multiple points of entry/egress, according to the Department of Buildings, but a gap in the fence appeared to be a way in to the front door. It looked a little dodgy, from this perspective, looking south on Sixth Avenue just below Pacific Street. Here's an up-close view Some pedestrians walked in the street around this fence, even though Sixth Avenue between Dean and Pacific streets is a two-way street. Looking north, peering through the fence, at the first entrance. And yes, people are living at 38 Sixth. Not a lot of people, but a few. And at least some have used that front entr

The "affordable housing crisis for seniors" and the vague plans for 225 senior units at Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park

A new  report  on an "affordable housing crisis for seniors" has been issued by LiveOn NY, an advocacy and policy organization for New York’s community-based aging service providers. (See  coverage  in the New York Daily News.) Though their study was conducted on the Upper West Side, in Manhattan Community Districts 7 and 9, the organization suggested the results are likely indicative of the entire city. They found nearly 20,000 seniors on wait lists for affordable housing, with an average wait time of 10.6 years. That means "a senior who signs up for affordable housing at the moment of eligibility—62 years old—will wait on average until he or she is 72.6 for affordable housing." The study calls for New York to expand the amount of affordable senior housing with services, which allows seniors to age in place. More than 200,000 seniors citywide are on waitlists for affordable housing, according to an earlier study. So how's the city doing? Last July, when M

Given how "100% affordable" 535 Carlton turned out, why not ask the Mayor (Q&A with former DNAinfo/Gothamist staff)

So Eric Phillips, press secretary for Mayor Bill de Blasio, has invited  former DNAinfo and Gothamist reporters for a " long no-holds-barred roundtable QA session w/ the Mayor." Several responded with enthusiasm, though Katie Honan, saying "the mayor's office dismissed DNAinfo for years" seemed less than thrilled, as did others . Given that I'm probably not going to be offered a "no-holds-barred" Q&A with de Blasio--when Borough President candidate de Blasio offered one ten years ago, he didn't sound well-informed --let me suggest some questions regarding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park and the affordable housing. Remember, mayoral candidate de Blasio in 2013  promised the affordable housing "that was originally planned," but in 2014 acceded to two "100% affordable" buildings that, rather than designate 20% of the total units  for the upper-middle-income cohort, as long promised in the overall affordable housing plan

Trump SoHo tale of inflated condo sales suggests Atlantic Yards echoes (misleading sales figures, phantom $1 taxes)

In  How Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., Avoided a Criminal Indictment , a collaboration between The New Yorker, ProPublica, and WNYC published 10/4/17, we learn a very troubling story. As Andrea Bernstein, Jesse Eisinger, Justin Elliott, and Ilya Marritz reported, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office pursued but ultimately dropped an investigation into whether the Trump children criminally misled potential buyers in the Trump SoHo, a condo hotel: The evidence included e-mails from the Trumps making clear that they were aware they were using inflated figures about how well the condos were selling to lure buyers. What were the statistics? From the article: Business was slow, but the Trump family claimed the opposite. In April, 2008, they said that thirty-one per cent of the condos in the building had been purchased. Donald, Jr., boasted to The Real Deal magazine that fifty-five per cent of the units had been bought. ...None of that was true. According to a sworn affidavit

Gilmartin: "It doesn’t matter much to me whether they [Amazon] end up at Pacific Park" (really?)

From Real Estate Weekly, 11/22/17,  Real Estate power players split on cityʼs chances to win Amazon HQ : [Forest City New York's MaryAnne] Gilmartin agreed that the economics of the situation make a New York headquarters for Amazon “difficult to imagine.” She acknowledged the potential for her company’s portfolio — which includes the MetroTech center in downtown Brooklyn as well as several properties in the Pacific Park area around the Barclays Center — Gilmartin said the arrival of a major employer such as Amazon would benefit the entire city. “Rising tides raise all boats,” she said. “It doesn’t matter much to me whether they end up at Pacific Park, whether they end up at the (Brooklyn Navy Yard) or whether they end up in Midtown because it’s good for New York.” (Emphasis added) That's a remarkably diplomatic (or blasé) statement. Rising tides may lift all boats, but Greenland Forest City Partners has a speculative office tower percolating at Site 5--yet to go throu

CM Cumbo, the Bedford Armory, misleading advertising from Hotel Workers, and some Atlantic Yards echoes

There are some interesting twists regarding the compromise announced this past Tuesday (11/21/17) regarding more affordable housing at the Bedford-Union Armory project, including some very misleading advertising (with no sanction?), a candidate apparently unwilling to disavow that advertising, and an Atlantic Yards boomerang. Council Member Laurie Cumbo announced a victory: "I fought to remove 48 luxury condominiums, deepened the bands of affordability by securing approximately 250 housing units for low-income and formerly homeless families - quadrupling the affordable housing that was proposed in the original plan, with at least $1.25 million annually in programmatic engagement at the Armory. Additionally, I am proud that a dozen not-for-profit organizations and athletic providers will have a new home at the Armory alongside anchored tenant, Brooklyn Medical Plaza, who will provide quality affordable healthcare for the uninsured.  The original proposal included just 67 hom

Flashback 2008: "Rent is too damn high. But it won't be at Atlantic Yards" (actually, no)

"Apartments renting for $3,700 a month are part of the city's affordable housing program, but can't find tenants," the New York Times Metro section tweeted , promoting columnist Ginia Bellafante's critical look at "100% affordable" 535 Carlton (my summary of the backstory ). Scrolling through the replies, I found the one below, which I'm screenshotting and not linking to because of additional NSFW elements. That reminded me of remarks by Bertha Lewis, then leading New York ACORN, at the June 2008 "Brooklyn Day" rally in support of Atlantic Yards. "Rent is too damn high" “No other developer,” she said in a familiar refrain, is doing what Forest City had promised.  That’s true, I wrote at the time, but the plan for affordable housing is based in part on a zoning override that trades off "extreme density" for the developer, and it was hardly clear that the promises will come to fruition, because there was

Shelterforce on racially loaded development terms like Blight and Workforce Housing (+ some AY echoes)

An 8/23/17 post from Shelterforce , "the only independent, non-academic publication covering the worlds of community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization," points to the page at right and below, suggesting "Yes" as the answer to the question, "Is It Time to Bury Racially Loaded Planning and Development Terms?" A few terms are particularly relevant, even ironically so, to the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park saga. What about Blight? Shelterforce writes: “A facially neutral term infused with racial and ethnic prejudice. While it purportedly assessed the state of urban infrastructure, ‘blight’ was often used to describe the negative impact of certain residents on city neighborhoods,” according to Wendell Pritchett in “The Public Menace of Blight.” See also CityLab’s “The Meaning of Blight,” found at Instead say what you actually mean—high levels of vacancy, crime, substandard housing (and make sure you aren’t m

Barclays Center Monday Madness: $10 tickets to Nets/Islanders; $5 for Long Island Nets, who've drawn lightly at Coliseum

Two days ago, a "Monday Madness" email from the Barclays Center promised some deals, including $10 tickets to a 1/10/18 (Wednesday) Brooklyn Nets game versus the Detroit Pistons. For now, resale tickets start at  $10 on Ticketmaster , while standard admission starts at $27. That price may not be such a deal.  Scanning StubHub shows tickets for the Pistons game at $9, the cheapest available, while other games are selling for $11, $12, $13, $15, and up. The New York Islanders There are also $10 tickets to a 1/7/18 (Sunday) New York Islanders game versus the New Jersey Devils. You'd think a 1 pm Sunday game against a regional rival, a good hockey team, would be selling better. Resale tickets start at $16 on Ticketmaster , while standard admission starts at $25. So that $10 does look like a deal. By the way,  scanning StubHub  shows tickets for the Devils game at $17, while other games are selling for $6, $8, $9, $10, and up. The Long Island Nets Regarding the $

The downsizing (and de-tournamenting) of the Barclays Center Classic

From Barclays Center web site . Clock to enlarge. Something a little odd appeared when I checked out the  2017 Barclays Center Classic , a fifth annual college basketball event. The first two games, on November 24, will, for the first time, not be held at the arena but rather the Steinberg Wellness Center at Long Island University Brooklyn (which is, of course, an arena partner ). That's a nice venue, but it only seats 2,500 people . That night, Barclays is holding an apparently more impressive college basketball event, the  NIT Season Tipoff . Indeed, there are schedule conflicts and, as noted by SBNation's Chris Dobbertean, there are also games at the Gallagher Center in Lewiston, NY. Update: Also note this from the Daily Gopher: Of course, the scheduling geniuses appear to have over-extended themselves. You see, the Brooklyn Nets are in town this week, and play a home game on Friday morning. The NIT Season Tip-Off is also hosted at Barclays Center, with game

From the latest Construction Update: progress toward replacing huge fence; median restoration on Atlantic continues

According to the latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning November 20, was circulated at 4:45 pm Friday (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners, there's a modest amount of new work compared to the previous period , but it will be noticed. Most prominently, outside the B12 site (aka 615 Dean) next to 550 Vanderbilt, "Work related to grading the site in preparation of replacing 16ft fence will commence." Neighbors, as well as members of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, have pushed to have that fence--ostensibly to protect against noise and dust from construction--moved back, given that there's no construction. The new plan was finally announced at the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting last week. Work on Atlantic Avenue The improvement of Atlantic Avenue near and beyond the Barclays Center continues: The la

NYT columnist notes 535 Carlton "affordable" units "go begging"; missing: previous skepticism amid boosterism

So, "New York Times Big City" columnist Ginia Bellafante, who writes weekly in the Metropolitan section, today offers At $3,700 a Month, ‘Affordable’ Apartments Go Begging , describing how the mayor's ambitious affordable housing plan has been criticized for offering too many below-market apartments to those between "51 to 165 percent of the median income for the metropolitan area, or from $43,000 to upward of $141,000 for a family of three. " (Let's pause for a moment and acknowledge the vast difference even within that scale, since those in lower half of that cohort find far more trouble on the private housing market.) Her target is a building that's been in the news. She writes: The fate of a building at 535 Carlton Avenue in Brooklyn, would suggest that they are right. The building was developed with all 300 of its units designated as affordable and available to prospective tenants through a city housing lottery. Half the apartments, though, we

Ripple effect in Brooklyn as Greenland USA pulls back on investments elsewhere?

From CoStar, 11/15/17, Greenland Exits NoHo Metro Development : The American subsidiary of Chinese developer Greenland Group has backed out of negotiations for the massive 1.9 million-square-foot, mixed-use project at North Hollywood's Red Line Metro stop. Greenland USA and Trammell Crow Co., the Dallas-based development subsidiary of CBRE Group, Inc., were originally selected for joint negotiations last May by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The two firms were expected to enter into exclusive discussions for developing the 15.6-acre project around the North Hollywood Metro station at Lankershim Blvd. As proposed, the project would include two high-rise residential towers - a 300,000-square-foot, mid-rise office building and 140,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants. Greenland USA instead will focus on a project in South San Francisco, the Landing at Oyster Point, according to CoStar, but Greenland is also negotiating with Kilroy Realty

Post puffs 38 Sixth among "cheapest... chicest" housing; reality: 1,876 households applying for 152 costly middle-income units

Via Ashley Cotton Twitter Yesterday, the New York Post published a sunny real estate roundup, NYC’s cheapest housing might be its chicest , prominently featuring two "100% affordable" buildings within Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, 38 Sixth and 535 Carlton. That's 38 Sixth leading off with the two images on the first page, the interior and then the exterior view. From the article: Greenland Forest City Partners — a joint venture with Greenland USA — is developing Brooklyn’s Pacific Park, which includes two new affordable addresses. “Whether it’s market-rate, mixed or affordable, we want to create a sense of community … and then everyone becomes invested in the home.” One of the Pacific Park buildings, the SHoP Architects-designed 38 Sixth Ave., opened in August. All of its 303 units are priced below market-rate for individuals making between $20,126 and $173,415. (A studio is as low as $532, and a three-bedroom as high as $3,695, for those who met the income requi