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Showing posts from September, 2018

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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)

So, does the community preference for affordable housing really do justice?

So, does a housing lottery that gives local preference --allotting half the units to residents of the local community district(s) in which a building or project sites--perpetuate segregation? Is it necessary to overcome local resistance to projects? That's been the subject to an  ongoing lawsuit  and fierce debates, with very little hard evidence regarding whether the locals taking advantage of the lottery are long-term residents or newcomers. In other words, does local preference help recent gentrifiers? On 8/1/17, Daily News columnist Errol Louis  called  community preference a defective concept, given that those eligible might have very shallow roots, while others, more deeply rooted, might live a little bit outside the boundary. Given historic segregation, that leaves black and brown New Yorkers at a disadvantage, he argued. A better solution? In  Missing the Target on Segregation , a 8/15/18 City Limits essay, Harry DeRienzo, s president of the Banana Kelly Com

From the Comptroller: over 425K cheap apartments lost between 2005-17

From the Wall Street Journal, 9/26/18, New York City Comptroller Admits Error on Housing Report New York City’s top fiscal officer issued a mea culpa on Wednesday for a major calculation mistake in a report on the rapid decrease of affordable housing. Comptroller Scott Stringer’s report, “The Gap is Still Growing,” this month stated that the city lost more than 1 million apartments renting for $900 or less between 2005 and 2017. But the actual number is less than half of that: 425,492 houses, according to the updated report. Indeed, the dramatic number drew much coverage , and the math error is a big one. Though the conclusions in "The Gap is Still Growing: New York City’s Continuing Housing Affordability Challenge," must change somewhat, the report is still pretty damning.  That lack of affordability is part of why some supported Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park and others argue for more density above all. And why Borough President Eric Adams argues for more monitoring

Beyond the latest announcement: a new architect, replacing SHoP, for a redesigned B4; was giant Site 5 plan downplayed?

Beyond the scoop spoon-fed to the New York Post about two developers buying three terra firma sites in the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project, there wasn't much new in the press release dutifully repackaged by Real Estate Weekly , Bklyner , 6sqft , Bisnow , and Curbed . But a few things are worthy of notice. First, though the Post didn't make it clear, TF Cornerstone is leasing buying the two adjacent sites on the southeast block, 615 Dean (B12) and 595 Dean (B13), while the Brodsky Organization is leasing buying 664 Pacific (B15). The two firms are not operating in partnership. Enter Perkins Eastman, exit SHoP Also, Greenland USA--which controls 95% of the project (except those three sites) going forward as part of Greenland Forest City Partners--disclosed that the architect for B4 (18 Sixth Avenue) will be Perkins Eastman, which produced the rendering above right. That means that SHoP, which designed the other two towers (461 Dean and 38 Sixth) on the arena blo

Barclays Center releases October 2018 schedule: 18 ticketed events

The Barclays Center last week circulated a notice announcing its October 2018 calendar, including 18 ticketed events: four Nets games (including one preseason), three Islanders games, eleven concerts. (Last year--see below--before the decision to split Islanders games between Brooklyn and the Nassau Coliseum, there were five hockey games in October. The Islanders are playing no games in October in Nassau, but will play a larger proportion there near the end of the season, such as all nine games in March 2019 .) There are also four private events (including two involving Goldman Sachs), plus two separate "media day" events for college basketball tournaments. October 2017 calendar The October 2017 calendar included 22 ticketed events, including nine nights of concerts, one night of boxing, five New York Islanders games, and seven Brooklyn Nets games (two of them pre-season). At that point, the arena was not announcing non-ticketed events.

New development partners to take over three sites; tower with middle school likely to start next year

B4 (aka 18 Sixth Ave.), looking east along  Atlantic Ave. (towers over railyard are absent) In an exclusive fed yesterday to the New York Post's Steve Cuozzo,  More than 1K new apartments coming to Barclays Center area , we learn that not only is Greenland Forest City Partners proceeding with B4 (now dubbed 18 Sixth Avenue), the giant tower at the northeast corner of the arena block, it has sold three remaining sites on terra firm to another development partnership. That should make it easier for the project to meet the 2025 deadline for affordable housing, though the level of affordability of that housing remains unclear. (Of the 15 planned towers, only four have been completed, three of them with affordable housing; 1,468 affordable units remain to be built.) Note: despite the vague headline, I estimate the total number of apartments at the four sites discussed in this article is closer to 1,800. Also, though the article says the project "was launched 13 years ago

Quality of Life meeting re-scheduled for Tuesday, October 9; questions pending re new developers and project timetable

Well, there's been no schedule announced for the long-delayed quarterly meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, but the bi-monthly Quality of Life Meeting, originally scheduled for 9/25/18, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, October 9. And now we know why: news that new developers are buying three development sites: two on the southeast block, and the site east of the arena block including a school. Meanwhile, Greenland Forest City Partners will continue with plans for B4, at the northeast corner of the arena block. Tuesday, October 9, 2018 @ 6:00 PM Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building 55 Hanson Place , 1st Floor Conference Room Brooklyn, NY 11217 That gives the public a chance to hear updates from and pose questions to representatives of developer Greenland Forest City Partners and also Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park. Project-related questions, concerns, or sugge

NY Post "advertises" penthouse at 550 Vanderbilt

Click to enlarge Well, some real estate "news" is pretty hard to distinguish from advertising. Consider this 9/19/18 New York Post article,  Brooklyn penthouse aims to shatter neighborhood record : A four-bedroom penthouse at Brooklyn’s 550 Vanderbilt will be hitting the market for $7.71 million, a record for the Prospect Heights neighborhood. The building is part of the 22-acre Pacific Park development near Barclays Center, which will include open lawns, basketball courts, dog runs and more. The 2,969-square-foot penthouse comes with 2,440 square feet of outdoor space, along with ceilings over 10 feet high, wide-plank oak floors, oversize windows and a chef’s kitchen. Real Simple is transforming the penthouse into its first Idea House, where top interior designers and home organizers will showcase DIY organizing strategies in each room.  How can it be than an apartment "aims to shatter neighborhood record"? It's not like an inanimate object has agency

Michelle Obama book tour has two dates at Barclays, and tickets are hot

It's a lot better than the low-attendance Islanders, that's for sure. Former First Lady Michelle Obama's book tour for her memoir, Becoming , is selling out arenas across the country, with premium seating available and a second date added at the Barclays Center. (Presumably, the Brooklyn arena had more flex in its schedule than its rival in Manhattan, Madison Square Garden.) Currently, the best price for  Brooklyn tickets on the secondary market via StubHub are $166.25  (Dec. 1) and $114 (Dec. 19, see bottom). The price in most other cities is also north of $100, except Detroit, where a ticket is the comparatively low $64. (The original face value of tickets is unclear. The Barclays Center is obviously "sold out," but it doesn't look like seats behind the stage were sold, which does happen with concerts.) A concert promoter As the New York Times reported 9/21/18 (and published in print a day later), Michelle Obama’s Big Book Rollout: ‘It’s Lik

Brookfield agreement to acquire Forest City Realty Trust backed after hedge funds finessed new board, contentious debate over value, and narrow 7-5 vote

Months of contentious debate and the threat of a board takeover by activist investors--which produced a new board--presaged the July 31 announcement that Cleveland-based Forest City Realty Trust (FCRT) would be absorbed by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management in a $6.8 billion deal , a new document reveals. And Forest City’s preliminary acceptance of the agreement--announced barely four months after the company rejected a buyout offer--hung on the vote of a single board member, the only company CEO from outside the founding Ratner family. Meanwhile, board Chairman James Ratner opposes the deal. Scenes from Forest City's year-plus roller-coaster ride emerge in a preliminary proxy statement (bottom) FCRT filed Sept. 21 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which presages a full shareholder vote. Notably, Forest City’s board was split evenly, 6-6, regarding Brookfield’s offer of $25.35 per share, until CEO David LaRue switched his vote. (The deal is described as a me

Coming to Flatbush Avenue near Barclays: a medical marijuana dispensary

OK, so it's not all local retail--or even big chains--coming to Flatbush Avenue near the Barclays Center, at a site once part of the New Directions substance abuse center , Holy smokes! Bklyn’s first medical-marijuana dispensary opening on Flatbush Ave. , reported the Brooklyn Paper 9/21/18, with a clever "leaves of grass" Whitmanesque logo . Kings County’s first medical-marijuana dispensary is moving in down the street from the Barclays Center this December, and its head pot pharmacist can’t wait to help locals get high — and healthy. “I love New York, I love Brooklyn, and I can’t wait to bring cannabis to Brooklyn,” said Michael Quattrone. Quattrone is opening his Citiva dispensary at 202 Flatbush Ave. between Dean and Bergen streets on the Park Slope–Prospect Heights Border,  New York has not yet gone the way of California, where a proliferation of loosely regulated medical marijuana facilities--with on-the-spot or on-the-phone doctors ready to give diagnoses--led to

A ceiling collapse at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station

Yesterday morning, around 8 am, @SarahIsSorry posted on Twitter a video of a ceiling collapse at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center train station, on the 4 and 5 train platform. It's gotten 194,000 views a day later, and provoked much dismay and frustration. Hello @MTA and @NYCTSubway ...your ceilings are falling on people again. — Sarah. (@SarahisSorry) September 21, 2018 Hi, Sarah. We're aware of this situation and our crews are responding to get this taken care of. ^JL — NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) September 21, 2018 5 train conductor claimed we were bypassing Atlantic due to a "sick passenger" not crumbling infrastructure. — Erick Blasco (@BlascoErick) September 21, 2018 It should be noted that, while Forest City Ratner spent $76 million to add functionality to the station, it was not charged to repair the section at issue. (That said, as I reported in August 2009, the tunnels on the B/Q were in precarious condition, and w

The 80 Flatbush compromise is modest; Site 5 project nearby may gain momentum

I have an article at The Bridge today on the compromise announced yesterday on the 80 Flatbush project, a modest 12.5% cut in scale. From the article, headlined  A Little off the Top: 80 Flatbush Gets Shorter and Slimmer : In a negotiation that went down to the wire—past the start of a scheduled City Council subcommittee hearing Thursday—months of debate over the scale of the ambitious two-tower 80 Flatbush project concluded with a compromise agreement for modest cuts in its height and bulk. The promised public benefits in the project—two schools and 200 units of affordable housing—will remain in place, according to the deal reached by City Council Member Stephen Levin (33rd District), Alloy Development, and city officials. What about Site 5? Now that that project is resolved, perhaps there's more chance for momentum on a similarly large, two-tower project just down the block, the revision of plans for Site 5, part of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, currently home to Modell'

As 80 Flatbush decision awaits, a look at Lander's comment that "our highly reactive ULURP process just is not getting the job done"

A resolution on the contentious 80 Flatbush development is expected at or by a City Council subcommittee meeting today, with Council Member Stephen Levin indicating a willingness to accept some more density--a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 15, rather than 12 (plus schools), as previously stated. But developer Alloy and its partner, the Educational Construction Fund (ECF), have asked for an FAR of 18, which would nearly triple the allowable density at the site, and be 1.5 times the density allowed in the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning. The justification is the cross-subsidization of affordable housing and schools, though the equation remains murky because the Alloy-ECF deal remains under wraps. As that decision awaits, it's worth looking at the broader framework, and quoting Brooklyn Council Member Brad Lander's comments this past Monday, 9/17/18, before the Council-spurred Charter Revision Commission 2019 . He cited 1989 changes in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (UL

OK, the Quality of Life meeting once scheduled for Sept. 25 will not happen; no AY CDC meeting set yet, either

Last December, when Empire State Development, the state authority overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, released the 2018 schedule for the bi-monthly Quality of Life meetings, the date September 25 was tentatively set. Guess what: it's not happening. Not only has ESD not solicited topics for the meeting, a message from an ESD official to a community member confirmed that the meeting will not be held on that date, and that a new date is being sought. Also, there's been no meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC)  since March . The group is supposed to meet quarterly, so an end-of-September meeting would get the schedule under the wire. As I wrote , there are a lot of questions to be raised at the next public meeting, notably about the project timetable.

From the latest Construction Update: signal structures at the railyard being installed

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, Sept. 17, was circulated at 10:23 am yesterday (late) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners. Except, um, they mistakenly sent the previous document from two weeks ago. After being alerted, they sent the updated document at 3:20 pm. Scaffolding on a "bump" building There are few changes from the previous update , notably planned installation of signal structures in Block 1120--the railyard block between Sixth and Carlton avenues and Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue--using an excavator. The erection of scaffolding will continue on 728 Atlantic and 700 Atlantic--the two building on Block 1120 that "bump" into the railyard from Atlantic Avenue. The demolition work at Block 1120 could commence upon receipt of Department of Buildings and Department of Transportation permits, the update says, as in 59 prev

Atlantic Yards down the memory hole: 461 Dean portrayed in New York Post modular roundup as having "proven its worth"

From the New York Post, 9/13/18,  New York’s modular building revolution is here , an overview of modular construction efforts, contains a segment on Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park: Also in 2016, SHoP Architects completed one of the country’s most-documented prefab projects: 461 Dean St. in Prospect Heights, which, at 32 stories, is still the tallest modular building in the world. Developed by Forest City as part of its massive Atlantic Yards project, its prefab modules were constructed by Full Stack Modular at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, currently the city’s only modular fabricator. (Most prefab factories are located outside major cities, where space and labor are cheaper.) The company, created in-house specifically for the project, later spun off from the developer. In order to avoid factory-style uniformity, SHoP utilized a variety of materials, colors, patterns, unit types and fabrication techniques for each of the building’s three volumes, creating an intricate play of light, patter

A newly announced event should bring 11K+ students and educators, plus 200 buses, to Barclays Center on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 26

Unmentioned in the Barclays Center September 2018 events calendar circulated to neighbors, a newly announced (if not booked) event should fill many seats in the arena on the morning of Wednesday, 9/26/18. According to the announcemen t (in full at bottom): WE Day, an unparalleled youth empowerment event, returns to New York to celebrate 19,000 youth and educators from across the Tri-State area for the second annual WE Day UN on September 26, 2018 at Barclays Center. Taking place during the conclusion of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), WE Day UN is held in partnership with UNAIDS and UN Global Compact and other UN agencies. WE Day UN will celebrate the year-round local and global acts of service taken by thousands of students from across the region. WE Day UN will stream live at 10:10 a.m. ET on September 26, 2018 at . But the attendees will start arrive by 7 am, as noted below. This is volunteerism backed by some serious corporate money, inclu

New building at Brooklyn Bridge Park, with middle-income emphasis, inspires cynicism about "affordable housing"

Eleven years ago, when Council Member de Blasio aimed at the 2009 Brooklyn Borough President race, he invited bloggers to a Park Slope coffee shop. Asked about affordable housing, he proposed a tiered approach, from the poorest, families under $20,000, to middle-income households. Should those earning six figures get subsidized housing? "Definitely below six figures," he responded. Well, that's changed, partly because incomes have risen--leaving the truly needy even farther behind--and because lower-income units require more subsidy. Area Median Income (AMI), the base from which a percentage is applied--80% and lower is technically low-income--has risen: 100% of 2018 AMI is $104,300. Consider the example of "100% affordable" 535 Carlton , with half the units for households earning up to 165% of AMI--affordable but tough to rent, with two months free on some leases--which de Blasio hailed. At Brooklyn Bridge Park Now come 100 new affordable units