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Showing posts from October, 2018

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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

New builders in Pacific Park likely to start tower with school next year, other residential towers in 2019/2020

This is the fifth among multiple posts concerning the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting Tuesday 10/9/18, held at 55 Hanson Place and sponsored by Empire State Development (ESD). The first post concerned the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation; the second post was about work in the Vanderbilt Yard; the third post concerned contracts for future project monitors; the fourth post concerned plans for the B4 tower at the northeast corner of the arena block. I wasn't able to attend but am relying on an audiotape of the meeting.

Greenland USA project manager Scott Solish said his firm was were "proud to be be partnering" with developers TF Cornerstone and The Brodsky Organization, which were "ideal partners" with "deep roots in New York City."

Unmentioned were the terms of the deals that Greenland Forest City Partners--controlled since June 95% going forward by Greenland USA--struck with the two family-owned firms.

The sale was

Architect presenting B4 tower says firm aims to connect neighborhoods with "visual marker"; building due late 2021

This is the fourth among multiple posts concerning the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting Tuesday 10/9/18, held at 55 Hanson Place and sponsored by Empire State Development (ESD). The first post concerned the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation; the second post was about work in the Vanderbilt Yard; the third post concerned contracts for future project monitors and the Site 5 tower. I wasn't able to attend but am relying on an audiotape of the meeting (and the slide presentation). 

So, there was a presentation about plans for B4, aka 18 Sixth Avenue, the giant tower slated for the northeast corner of the arena block, with more images than the one released a few weeks ago, as described below..

Greenland USA project manager Scott Solish introduced  Michael Lew, a principal at the architecture firm Perkins Eastman, who's leading the design.

Lew noted that his firm is large, with 1,000 employees worldwide and 58 in New York, with 14 different practice…

From the latest Construction Update: evening, weekend hours for work on railyard's East Portal

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, Oct. 15 was circulated at 3:10 pm yesterday (late) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners.

There are a few changes from the previous update, notably extended hours of work on the railyard's East Portal, including evening, night, and weekend work.

Not only will demolition of the East Portal structure continue near Atlantic and Vanderbilt avenues, to expedite the work, the contractor will extend the weekday work hours within approved permit stipulations (7 am to 5:30 pm) until the end of November.

The contractor also will work between 8 am and 5:30 pm on Saturdays. In both cases, the timeline will be reevaluated in November. Appropriate noise and dust mitigation measures should be in place, but are not detailed.

Also, the contractor plans to perform East Portal abatement activities--asbestos? it's unspecified-- during Night…

Waiting for Site 5: contracts for state monitors will be revisited once giant project across from arena moves forward

This is the third among multiple posts concerning the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting Tuesday 10/9/18, held at 55 Hanson Place and sponsored by Empire State Development (ESD). The first post concerned the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation; the second post was about work in the Vanderbilt Yard. I wasn't able to attend but am relying on an audiotape of the meeting. 

Questions about the state's monitoring of Pacific Park were again deferred until when an expected seismic change in the project plan surfaces.

As ESD's Atlantic Yards project manager  Tobi Jaiyesimi noted, the state authority's contracts with environmental monitor, the firm HDR, and an owners’ representative, STV, were extended earlier this year with no change in the scope of work.
"And we anticipate that those contracts will be put out for an RFP [Request for Propsoal], as we discussed in conversations with [former Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation] Dire…

The infinite murkiness of the Atlantic Yards financial projections

From Gothamist, 10/11/18, Hudson Yards Has $4.5 Billion In Taxpayer Money. Will We Ever See It Again?:
"Whether large-scale projects like Hudson Yards or Atlantic Yards pay for themselves is difficult to assess," concludes Doug Turetsky, chief of staff for the IBO [Independent Budget Office], which has conductedseveralstudies of aspects of Hudson Yards financing but has never dared to attempt calculating a total public cost figure. Well, it's true that the IBO's pre-project Atlantic Yards calculations were based on assumptions that have not panned out, like a steady buildout. Also, the developer's projections, both for themselves and for the public, were also based on unrealistic assumptions.

Also worth considering is what development would've happened anyway, without Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, or whether a different, more realistic project might have delivered more (and faster) public benefit, as well as more certain private benefit.

For sale, across from Pacific Park's southeast block, building for office/retail use ($8.7M)

A building across from the southeast block of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park--where two residential (plus retail) towers are completed and the other two likely to be finished or make significant progress in two or three years--is now on sale for $8.7 million, positioned for office and retail use.
From Real Estate Weekly, 10/11/18:
TerraCRG has been retained to sell 646 Dean Street, an 18,800 s/f conversion opportunity in Prospect Heights. Ofer Cohen, Dan Marks, Daniel Lebor and Mike Hernandez, along with their investment sales team, are marketing the property. Located between Vanderbilt and Carlton Avenue, directly across the street from Pacific Park, the four-story, M1-1 zoned building can be delivered vacant. The location and zoning make the asset ideal for creative office and retail use. Brooklyn-focused TerraCRG, by the way, is located just a few doors down, at 634 Dean Street.
The TerraCRG listing sets the price at $8.7 million:
TerraCRG has been retained to exclusively represent ow…

Final permanent Vanderbilt Yard tracks should be installed by end of year (once due earlier); building demolition starts next week

This is the second among multiple posts concerning the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting Tuesday 10/9/18, held at 55 Hanson Place and sponsored by Empire State Development. Here's the first post, regarding the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation. I wasn't able to attend but am relying on an audiotape of the meeting. 

Greenland USA executive Scott Solish, whose firm controls the project, spoke enthusiastically about progress in the Vanderbilt Yard.
"As many of you have seen, the Sixth Avenue ramp [to the railyard] is now finished," he said, so that allows Long Island Rail Road vehicles to access the yard.
(Greenland, after buying out nearly all of Forest City Realty Trust's stake, as of June controlled 95% of the project going forward, but then sold three development sites--B15, B12, B13--to two other developers. There are four towers completed, and 11 more expected.)

Now Greenland Forest City Partners can start to take out the tempora…

The advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation is not just behind schedule, it has five vacancies, at least

This is the first among multiple posts concerning the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting Tuesday 10/9/18, held at 55 Hanson Place and sponsored by Empire State Development. I wasn't able to attend but am relying on an audiotape of the meeting.

As the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project ramps up toward more construction, with four buildings  likely to start in the next two years or so, the advisory body set up to provide advice and oversight not only is well behind its meeting schedule, it’s losing more members.

The Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), according to a June 2014 establishing document from Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing/shepherding the project, "shall meet not less than quarterly."

It's been more than six months--two quarters--since the last meeting in March, which was the second meeting in 2018, scheduled hastily, it seemed, to position the board to endorse a contract renewal by its p…

A couple of Barclays Center revenue numbers to keep track of: $83.7M, $80.5M

From Billboard, 1/25/18, which placed Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark on its Power 100 list in the business of music, at #97:
CEO, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment [it's now BSE Global]
Last Year's Rank: New
ACHIEVEMENT OF THE YEAR: Reopened the Nassau Coliseum on New York's Long Island as NYCB Live after a $180 million renovation.
THE YEAR AHEAD: Through BSE's properties, which will soon include the recently acquired Webster Hall and Paramount Theater, Yormark is creating a pipeline that will allow acts to grow within the family. "It's about connecting with artists early and often in their careers, using smaller venues to do that," he says. Meanwhile, Brooklyn flagship Barclays Center marked its fifth anniversary and was the third-highest-grossing U.S. venue, with $83.7 million in revenue. Note of course that gross revenue does not equal net revenue, or profit. That $83.7 million figure does not relate to sports events but rather c…

At northeast corner of arena block, huge tower will contain 810 rentals (no condos)

In what's not a surprise, the tower at the northeast corner of the arena block, B4 (aka 18 Sixth Avenue) will contain 810 rental apartments, rather than a mix of rentals and condos, as once planned. It would be a huge addition of inventory to Pacific Park, which so far has 1,242 units in four (of 15/16 expected) towers.

The news, first reported yesterday by the Real Deal, comes in the wake of a filing with the Department of Buildings describing a tower 509 feet tall, and with 814,177 square feet of bulk, both slightly below the allowable totals.

The tower will be designed by Perkins Eastman, not SHoP, which once had the arena block job (after Frank Gehry, once touted as designing the whole tower, was ditched). Construction is supposed to start in the second quarter of 2019.

The tower will include 727,059 square feet of residential space and a not inconsiderable 51,682 square feet of commercial space. With 62% coverage of the .73-acre lot and little room for open space, it makes f…

New investors entered in 2017 for low-income segment of 535 Carlton

It's not a huge deal, by the standards of recent Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park gyrations, what with Forest City selling nearly all its stake going forward to Greenland USA, and the Greenland-dominated joint venture Greenland Forest City Partners then selling three parcels to other developers, but apparently a new investor entered into part of the "100% affordable" 535 Carlton last year.

The 298-unit building was developed by entities in charge of the "moderate/middle" units and the 90 low-income units (about 30% of the total), with the latter known as the "Affordable Owner." (Interesting, isn't it, how low-income units translate into "affordable.")

According to a document dated 7/14/17 but not filed in the city's ACRIS database until about six months later, the Affordable Owner, formerly Pacific Park Inc. (which in November 2015 was listed in an SEC document as a Forest City-created subsidiary) was taken over by a new "Investment…

The rust recurs on the Barclays Center sidewalk

The pre-rusted metal mesh of the Barclays Center has gotten generally positive but decidedly mixed reviews.

But what was clearly not anticipated was that the rust would not only drip onto the adjacent sidewalk, it would quickly stain any replacement.

Various parts of the sidewalk outside the arena were being replaced, as I wrote in May, but, as the photo below shows on the Atlantic Avenue perimeter, it hasn't taken long for the rust to recur.

SHoP's Chris Sharples: we aimed to "turn the arena into a civic gesture." Sure, but add a few asterisks.

From Redshift, by Autodesk, 9/4/18, SHoP’s Chris Sharples on Urban Architecture, Digital Fabrication, and the Public Realm:
Can you share the design inspiration behind the Barclays Center in Brooklyn? One of the keys to creating an urban architectural experience is world-class public spaces. Our aspiration for the Barclays Center was to imagine how we could turn the arena into a civic gesture. With its 30-foot-high entrance canopy and the oculus the size of a basketball court, even if people don’t go there for an event, they feel that they are a part of something. Unlike other arenas, Barclays prioritizes mass transit; more than 80 percent of the people coming via public transportation arrive into this great urban space. Like Bernini’s “arms” at St. Peter’s Square in Rome, there is a strong connection between the building and the public space that surrounds it. Sharples can rightly express pride in his firm's achievement, rescuing and transforming a dull box into a memorable struct…

EB-5 has gotten yet another short-term extension; Congress seems inattentive

EB-5 is alive, but for developers and investors future remains uncertain, the Real Deal reported 10/1/18 regarding the program in which immigrant investors park money in a project that purportedly creates ten jobs per $500,000 investment:
Developer demand has fallen, and backlogs in issuing those green cards has created investor uncertainty. The program, which was scheduled to expire Sept. 30, received a reprieve Friday from President Trump, but only through Dec. 7. Moreover, Congress has not addressed the need to update the law, which further dampens enthusiasm. Interestingly, real estate developers "have been weaning themselves off EB-5 money," there's still a demand from investors, especially from China, to park $500,000 in a low- or no-interest investment that will get them green cards.

The article suggests that bad news about fraud and abuse has damaged the program. As I've suggested, the program is inherently flawed--and doesn't create jobs--if the developer…

Nassau Coliseum contract drift: no need for Nets pre-season game (after giving up requirements regarding Islanders and minor league hockey)

The Nassau Coliseum deal keeps changing, bit by bit, and promises get dropped. As Newsday reported 10/1/18, in Laura Curran files benchmarks for $1.5 billion Hub redevelopment in Nassau, the County Executive has proposed lease changes that relax previous requirements, including that the Brooklyn Nets play an NBA preseason game at the Coliseum.

Also, BSE Global (formerly Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment), via its parent, Onexim Sports & Entertainment) would get full control of the arena lease, eliminating (buying out?) Forest City Ratner, which, of course, had originally wrangled the lease but ultimately sold all but 15%.

As Newsday staff writer Jim Baumbach tweeted:
Back when this year’s Nets preseason schedule came out, I noticed there was no Coliseum game listed. Asked the county what’s up. Same with the Nets. Let’s just say both seemed somewhat flummoxed I’d hold them accountable to something that’s, well, contractually obligated to. He wrote an article about it, in which th…

Upscaling the Atlantic Center mall: Smorgasburg coming for the winter

Well, the new (as of last September) owner of the dowdy Atlantic Center mall, Madison International Realty, is indeed upscaling the offerings, with more food, as promised: Smorgasburg is moving there for a weekend winter residency.
From the New York Times's Food section, 10/3/18:
Smorgasburg  It’s a big challenge to haul the components of the Smorgasburg market from place to place, but that’s what Eric Demby, one of the founders and a partner, is doing. Starting the first weekend in November, the market will move from other locations in Brooklyn to 25,000 square feet in the Atlantic Center shopping mall across from Barclays Center. It will offer at least 25 vendors, including a liquor bar, a coffee bar and a bocce court. Among the stands will be Bolivian Llama Party, Dough, Mao’s Baos, Fedoroff'sSteaks, Oyster Party and Red Hook Lobster Pound. Night Market in the VICE Media Villain space in South Williamsburg will start the first Friday in November and be open Fridays from 6 p…

The tide turns: Chinese real estate investors end "buying spree"; Greenland pulling back too

The tide is turning, with this week's Wall Street Journal analysis of Greenland USA's apparent stumbles--and loss of support from its home base in Shanghai--just one data point. 
The evidence was emerging a few months back. Chinese Reversing Big U.S. Real Estate Buying Spree That Had Helped Boost Prices, the Wall Street Journal reported 7/24/18:
Chinese insurers, conglomerates, and other investors have turned net sellers of U.S. commercial real estate for the first time in a decade. They have spent tens of billions of dollars to acquire hotels, office buildings, and vast swaths of empty land to build residential towers.

But Chinese investors sold $1.29 billion worth of U.S. commercial real estate in the second quarter, while purchasing only $126.2 million of property, according to data firm Real Capital Analytics. Or as Jim Costello of Real Capital Analytic wrote 7/25/18 on RCA Insights:
The heyday of Chinese investment in U.S. commercial real estate seems to be over. These i…