Skip to main content

In 2018, keep watch on not just B4 tower plan but also 615 Dean (no longer condos?)

A post 1/16/18 on the pro-development blog New York YIMBY, accompanying a new rendering of the fully built-out Pacific Park project and highlighting the giant tower planned for Site 5, declared that "all of the structures are within the allowable existing scope of the site."

Not so.

Unwitting readers of New York YIMBY might think developer Greenland Forest City Partners--to be owned 95% by Greenland USA going forward--could just build when it's got the money (and, in the case of Site 5, when legal challenges from P.C. Richard that delay condemnation are resolved).
But building a giant project at Site 5, potentially two towers and 785 feet, requires Empire State Development to approve a shift in bulk from the unbuilt office tower (B1, aka "Miss Brooklyn") over the arena plaza.

And that process hasn't begun. (Both I and resident Peter Krashes posted comments to that effect, which were published, yet the post wasn't corrected.)

In 2018, beyond as-of-right: B4

And it turns out that the giant B4 tower, at the northeast corner of the arena block, stretching 511 feet and encompassing perhaps 750 apartments, will not proceed exactly as of right. 

While Greenland Forest City declared that building the current focus, with design starting now and groundbreaking in perhaps late second-quarter 2019,  as-of-right process, a retainer letter (excerpt above left) with lobbyist Kasirer Consulting indicates expected lobbying on B4.

What could that be? Kasirer's ongoing contract indicates a broad scope of services (right), including work with government and agency officials, legislators, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the governor's office.

So that could mean changing the design or building envelope--remember, that already happened in 2013--or, perhaps, the configuration of affordable housing.

Intriguingly, Kasirer also remains charged to be "Recommending membership, sponsorship and other opportunities that align with business interests and working to raise the profile of key Greenland executives." I can't say the profile of Greenland USA--an arm of Shanghai-based Greenland Holding--has been raised much yet, but stay tuned: 2018 could be the breakout year, given that they now clearly run the project.

In 2018, beyond as-of-right: 615 Dean

With two other towers announced but stalled--the condo 615 Dean (B12, unveiled September 2015) and the market-rate rental-plus school 664 Pacific (B15, unveiled December 2015), I'd wondered why Greenland Forest City hadn't said anything about moving forward.

Well, both would require tweaks, since the 421-a tax break wouldn't apply to buildings that are 100% market-rate, but 615 Dean, at least, is unencumbered by any negotiations with neighbors, as is 664 Pacific.

So maybe we shouldn't be surprised that Kasirer has a lobbying retainer regarding 615 Dean (above left).

That suggests that the promised interim open space at B12 and B13--the parcels above Dean Street between the extant 550 Vanderbilt and 535 Carlton--may not last all that long.

615 Dean, by KPF
I presume 615 Dean must require reconfiguration as a rental to get the tax break. That changes the revenue assumptions, and perhaps implies smaller apartments and different fixtures. So, while the design envelope is fixed--well, until and unless the developer goes back to Empire State Development--the program could change.

Park Strategies: 421-a and Site 5

Another series of retainer letters, such as this one from February 2015, detail the developer's relationship with Park Strategies, the lobbying firm run by former Republican Sen. Alfonse D'Amato.

The key issues for Park Strategies have been the future of Site 5 and the revision of the 421-a tax exemption. On that front, Park Strategies has an incomplete and a loss.

The incomplete refers to Site 5, which has been stalled, but could start moving forward this year. The loss regards the significant impact of the 421-a revision that surfaced last April.

That revision excludes condominiums, upending Greenland Forest City's plans. Also, it did not renew the "Atlantic Yards carve-out," which allowed market-rate buildings in the project (including rentals like 664 Pacific) to get the tax break as long as the overall project met a minimum threshold of affordability.

That further upended the developer's plans, and likely contributed to Forest City's decision to mostly leave the project. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if the developer and lobbyist are pushing for a further revision to 421-a.
From 2015 Park Strategies retainer with Greenland Forest City Partners


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…