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Times Real Estate section promotes "new parks" at developments, lets Serhant make self-serving claim about 550 Vanderbilt, acknowledges slow pace a problem

New Parks Sprout Around New York, declares the New York Times Real Estate section, in a front-page article just posted, and, while not ignoring criticism of the Pacific Park open space, inevitably gets things wrong and fails to tease out distinctions between fractional space like the latter and public open space delivered in full, earlier in the development.

Writes C.J. Hughes:
New parks are coming to life across the city, many courtesy of new apartment complexes, which, in addition to the usual extras, are offering swaths of switch grass and swamp oaks, waterfalls and fountains, benches and boulder-lined paths.
And although these nods to nature are created by developers and are on the grounds of condo and rental buildings, you won’t need to have a pricey apartment there to enjoy them. In a change from the residents-only courtyards of the past, these open spaces are truly open and, despite their private roots, can be used freely by the public.
Get ready for the self-serving quote:
They do seem good for business, though. “The park is a huge part of it,” said Ryan Serhant, the associate broker with Nest Seekers International who is handling sales at 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, a condo in Brooklyn’s sprawling Pacific Park complex, which is slowly adding flora.
“Buyers are kind of buying in to the future of the greenery,” he added, “which is pretty cool.”
Wait a sec. What's good for business at 550 Vanderbilt, as I've written, is a significant effective price cut, thanks to a change in designation of the 421-a tax break.

And if buyers "are kind of buying into the future," well, Serhant's advertising (right) muddies present and future with utter b.s., calling it a "new Frank Gehry designed 22-acre park."

First, Gehry masterplanned the project, which is 22 acres, and didn't design the "park." Second, the open space is 8 acres, which hardly meets the city standard.

"Living in 550 Vanderbilt will truly be like living in a park," the ad states, positing some time in perhaps ten years, at best. Nor is open space the same as a city park.

When the open space comes first

The article cites the six-acre Domino Park on the Williamsburg waterfront from Two Trees, but doesn't stress that it's opening in the early stages of the project, rather than--as with Pacific Park--at the end. That's the Battery Park City model, which was avoided with Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park.

Domino Park, though privately operated and not overseen by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, does have NYC Parks hours, from 6 am to 1 am, while Pacific Park hours are 7 am to 8 pm October through April, and 7 am to 10 pm May through September.

Looking at "Pacific Park"

From the article:
The caption suggests a park is on the near horizon
Even when residents are aware of proposed parks, they can be exasperated by the pace of construction, as at Brooklyn’s Pacific Park, which has added just a fraction of its planned eight acres in more than a decade.
Those acres, part of a vast mixed-use project from Greenland Forest City Partners originally known as Atlantic Yards, seem promising enough. With a master plan by the architect Frank Gehry, the park is to include lawns, fountains, a basketball court and a bocce court threaded among apartment buildings along Atlantic Avenue in Prospect Heights.
Why does it "seem promising enough"? Maybe it's not promising enough.

Also, the overall project master plan is by Gehry, but the open space was planned by Laurie Olin, whose design was then revised by Thomas Balsley. Note the caption: "The space between the buildings is to become a park."

Not so. While "space between the" overall project buildings will become publicly accessible, privately operated open space, space between 550 Vanderbilt (B11) and 535 Carlton (B14) will be occupied by two larger towers, with additional fractional open space around them. The main contributor to the open space will be demapped Pacific Street, between two rows of towers. See graphic below.

Looking more closely

From the article:
The park, designed by Thomas Balsley Associates, was supposed to be completed by 2016, according to an initial timeline for the project approved in 2005.
But so far, less than an acre has opened. (Similarly, only 1,242 apartments have been constructed, in four buildings, a project spokeswoman said, versus the 6,430 planned.)
Wait a sec. When the project was approved in 2006 (not 2005), the open space was to be designed by Olin, not Balsley, who came on board in 2014. The project has gone through timetable gyrations, with a 2014 pledge that the affordable housing would be finished by 2025.

Many believed that meant the full project, including the open space, would be done by then, but that's not necessarily so. Recently, a former Forest City executive casually estimated 2028. This would have been a good time to get the developer to comment.

From the article:
What exists now is split between two skinny and unconnected slices that opened this year. One, behind 535 Carlton Avenue, a 298-unit affordable rental building, offers metal chairs and tables. The other, at 550 Vanderbilt, which has sold 222 of 278 units since 2015, is graced with a low waterfall.
But on a recent afternoon, on the other side of a green construction fence, all there was in an area designated for parkland was a desolate jumble of rebar, concrete barricades and trucks.
“The community has been very frustrated because the open space hasn’t been added in line with development,” said Anurag Heda, who is president of the Dean Street Block Association, a neighborhood advocacy group, and whose home faces the undeveloped park site. The need for more open space is clear, he added, noting that the Dean Playground in Prospect Heights is crowded from morning to night with child care groups and sports classes.
Even more importantly, as I wrote, dog owners new to the neighborhood don't have the opportunity to use the project's future dog run, and instead take their dogs to the playground, where pets are banned, and too often leave "deposits."

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