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Showing posts from March, 2019

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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)

Why would Joe Tsai want the Nassau Coliseum?

Assuming the report that Mikhail Prokhorov will sell the Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum operating companies to incoming Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai is true--and there's no confirmation--the question has arisen: why would Tsai want the Coliseum, especially since it's mortally threatened by the expected construction of a new, larger arena at Belmont Park? Well, surely it's a package deal. And maybe Tsai is so flush he can afford to take some losses? Or maybe.... as suggested by Eyes on Isles' Bryan Lotto, pointing to (for now, slight) delays in the Belmont plan: If Tsai and his ten billion dollars can be convinced to make a major Coliseum investment, an entirely new story may be told in the coming months. That story would be a political win; a permanent New York Islander return to a new Coliseum and satisfying the anti-Belmont contingent. I don't think a Coliseum expansion, though technically possible, is likely. After all, that would surely require th

"An Oligarch of Our Own"? Not quite, but the Prokhorov public relations effort worked.

As the reported sale of the Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum operating companies to Joe Tsai--also to become full owner of the Brooklyn Nets--percolates, as Mikhail Prokhorov's ambitious to be a venue entrepreneur seemingly fade, and TrueHoop's Henry Abbott raises lots of questions about Mikhail Prokhorov's background, it's worth looking back at the extraordinary public relations effort that turned the Russian oligarch--with some questionable business history--into a warm and fuzzy team owner. Remember Prokhorov's 2010 "charm offensive" in New York City, his softball "60 Minutes" profile , and that extraordinary New York Times Magazine cover story , "An Oligarch of Our Own." None of this would have worked without Prokhorov's own charm and skill, but he had highly-qualified--and surely well-paid--assistance. Who was responsible? On 2/22/10, in a roundup headlined Team Prokhorov , "Net Income" (aka Bob Windr

The Barclays sale and the Prokhorov pullback: end of BSE Global's (over?)ambitious experiment as venue operator with "progression ladder"?

So, if the reported plan for Mikhail Prokhorov to sell the Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum operating companies to Joe Tsai goes through, what would it mean? Well, it's clear, as I explain below, that Prokhorov's BSE Global is retreating from an ambitious strategy to be an operator of variously sized venues--a strategy that has not gone too well. A good deal, or not? It's not clear whether the venue deal with Taiwanese-Canadian billionaire Tsai, who's already bought 49% of the Brooklyn Nets and is poised to buy the rest of the team, would be a good one for Prokhorov. Maybe Prokhorov had no choice: the National Basketball Association prefers that team owners also own/operate arenas. Maybe it doesn't matter, from a bottom line standpoint: Prokhorov will have made a nice profit on the Nets, and rehabilitated his image from "playboy oligarch" to "sports team owner." From BSE Global web site And maybe it was a good time to get out,

NY Post: Prokhorov preparing to sell arena (operating) company to Nets (eventual majority) owner Tsai

The New York Post's Josh Kosman and Brett Cyrgalis had a scoop last night,  Joseph Tsai in talks to buy Barclays Center, become majority owner of Nets : Joseph Tsai, the billionaire co-founder of Alibaba, is in talks to buy Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and the new Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, The Post has learned. The Taiwanese-Canadian Tsai has already bought 49% of the Brooklyn Nets, and is expected to buy the rest, at a valuation of $2.35 billion, by 2021. The NBA likes having the ownership of teams and arenas aligned. The price of the Barclays Center deal was not mentioned, but, given the NBA preference and the history of arena financial underperformance , it's not like Prokhorov has much leverage. So it'll be interesting to see if the valuation exceeds $825 million, which was attached to the 2015 deal  Prokhorov made with former 55% majority owner Forest City Enterprises, which similarly lacked leverage. (Now, more than th

Filling in the McKissack & McKissack back story regarding Atlantic Yards

A 3/22/19 mini profile of Cheryl McKissack Daniel, President and CEO, McKissack & McKissack is included among the five  2019 Women of New York Real Estate , published by City & State. An excerpt: Growing up in a family of architects and engineers, Cheryl McKissack Daniel studied to be an engineer, continuing a family tradition dating back to when her great-great-grandfather first learned the construction trade as a slave. Her grandfather, Moses McKissack III, began the firm she now heads in 1905, making it the oldest minority- and women-owned construction and design firm in the nation. McKissack Daniel is the third generation to lead the family business. ...After years in the industry, McKissack Daniel still looks for ways to expand the business, never afraid to dive headfirst into something new. “I thought to myself, either we can say we’re not qualified and we can’t do it,” McKissack Daniel says, recalling how staggered she felt when she first received rail plans related t

Barclays Center: no more cash at most concession stands, seeks exemption from pending cash-free legislation

Barclays Center quietly stops accepting cash at most concession stands  reported the New York Post's Lisa Fickenscher 3/26/19: Home to the Brooklyn Nets and the Islanders, Barclays has quietly stopped accepting cash at most of its 28 concession stands and eateries, according to lawmakers who have talked with the stadium about the move. The Brooklyn arena is not the first to phase out greenbacks... All three venues rely on the same food service provider, Levy Restaurants, which told The Post that “multiple” food vendors at Barclays will still accept cash. But neither Levy nor Barclays would provide a number. It's unclear when this started, or when the total hit critical mass, but the Post found some Twitter users complaining, as reproduced below. The arena operator, like other "cashless" retail outlets, say requiring cards cuts transaction time and prevents theft, while lawmakers say it discriminates against those who don't have cards. (And if arena attendanc

Forbes: Would A New York Islanders Arena In Belmont Leave County-Owned Nassau Coliseum In Ruins? (my take: likely)

OK, if the local media (beyond my Daily News op-ed), won't write about it, at least a Forbes contributor will: @leeigel : Would NY Islanders #Belmont Arena Leave County-Owned #NassauColiseum In Ruins? via @forbes My answer in @NYDailyNews 2 months ago: kinda likely — Norman Oder (@AYReport) March 26, 2019 From Lee Igel's  article : With all of that winning, of course, there has to be something on the losing side. In this case, it will be the Coliseum that comes up short. And that means Nassau County coffers will take a hit. Millions of dollars in major events-associated revenue would almost assuredly go to the new arena. Millions of dollars more in venue operator fees, such as from the likes of current holder BSE Global, could also dry up. Note that the arena operator--now BSE Global, formerly Nassau Events Center, led by Forest City Ratner--has to pay a minimum to the county, which owns the ven

WNBA's New York Liberty to host Chinese national team in pre-season game at Barclays Center

We know the New York Liberty, recently purchased by Taiwanese-Canadian billionaire Joe Tsai (who owns 49% of the Brooklyn Nets , and is expected to buy the rest), will play most of their games this next season in Westchester, but we don't know about the future. We did know they'd be playing at least one regular-season game in Brooklyn; now we know they'll play at least one pre-season game at the Barclays Center. A press release 3/25/19 from the WNBA,  New York Liberty To Host Chinese National Team At Barclays : Liberty announced today that it will host the Chinese Women’s National Basketball team in a pre-season game scheduled to be played May 9, 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. This landmark game is the latest collaboration between the NBA/WNBA and the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), who have a long history of working together to grow the game in China. Liberty ownership has organized this game to further people-to-people exchange between China and the U

About that 2014 project plan: 100% market-rate buildings were to cluster around the "park"

I never highlighted this, but it's dramatically clear: had Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park been built out as contemplated in 2014, five of the seven buildings on the eastern end of the site--surrounding the largest segment of open space--would have been 100% market-rate, dominating access to the central open space, or "park." October 2004 flier Take a look at the graphic below: three buildings with condos, two with market-rate rentals, one "100% affordable" (though significantly middle-income), and one 50-30-20, with 50% market-rate units. Meanwhile, three buildings over the center block of the railyard, with more limited green space, would've been 50% affordable (50/30/20) buildings. At the time, no other market-rate buildings were planned for any other part of the project. Priority access to the park? In other words, the "park," long touted as a gift--"Atlantic Yards will contain six acres of new open space for the Brooklyn community

New rhetoric (on Crown Heights project): "50% income-targeted, 100% union-built"

For those following the 960 Franklin development in Crown Heights, consider some coverage: The Brooklyn Paper, 3/15/19, Green death: Proposed Franklin Ave. towers would kill half of Bklyn Botanic’s plants within a decade, expert claims Bklyner, 3/13/19,  Spice Factory Rezoning Faces Strong Opposition From Brooklyn Botanic Garden The Brooklyn Eagle, 3/13/19,  Crown Heights Spice Factory development pits labor vs locals Kings County Politics, 3/13/19,  Cumbo Gives Thumbs Down To 90 Flatbush Avenue [sic] Development Note that the developer disputes the shadow studies. But I want to point most to a quote in Kings County Politics from a Lupe Todd-Medina, spokesperson for The Continuum Company (known as Lupe Todd when she worked for DKC on Atlantic Yards): “As proposed, 960 Franklin Avenue is a 50% income-targeted, 100% union-built residential development. As neighbors and partners in our community’s responsible development, we continue to look forward to sitting down with th

Screening April 15: Battle for Brooklyn, plus panel afterward, including me

The New York Preservation Archive Project is having its film festival , and one event will be a screening of  Battle for Brooklyn . The listing: April 15, 2019 06:00 - 08:30 PM Alamo Drafthouse  Come early for a snack and a drink at Alamo Drafthouse before the screening of this cautionary tale of corruption, development, and misuse of eminent domain.  Battle for Brooklyn (2011) follows reluctant activist Daniel Goldstein as he struggles to save his home and community from being demolished to make way for the Atlantic Yards development site: at the time, the densest real estate development in U.S. history. Over the course of seven years, Daniel and his community fight tenaciously in the courts, the streets, and the media to stop the misuse of eminent domain and reveal the deep-seated issues at the heart of the plan.  Panelists will include Norman Oder, author of the watchdog blog, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report ; Katia Kelly, whose blog, Pardon Me For Asking , chronicle

With little (visible) progress on platform, how long will buildout over railyard take? Surely past 2025. Railyard payments can be stretched through 2030.

This is the fifth of five articles regarding the  3/15/19 meeting  of the  Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation  (AY CDC), set up to advise the parent Empire State Development (ESD). The  first article  concerned the expected 2022 completion date for the middle school. The  second article  concerned the board's inability to hire independent consultants. The  third article  concerned updates from the AY CDC President and from developer Greenland USA. The fourth article concerned a failed effort to get a building-by-building timetable for affordable units. To get to 2,250 affordable units by  May 2025 , as I wrote yesterday, it looks like all or most of the project must be built by then, unless... some buildings contain a greater percentage of affordability than contemplated in current subsidy programs, and/or affordable units are included in Site 5, contemplated for office space. Or, perhaps, the deadline might be stretched. View of eastern block of railyard, Blo

How meet 2025 affordable housing deadline? At Atlantic Yards CDC, failed effort to gain updated building-by-building timetable

This is the fourth of five articles regarding the 3/15/19 meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), set up to advise the parent Empire State Development (ESD). The first article concerned the expected 2022 completion date for the middle school. The second article concerned the board's inability to hire independent consultants. The third article concerned updates from the AY CDC President and from developer Greenland USA. The fifth article analyzed the likelihood of building all railyard towers by 2025. The looming question regarding Atlantic Yards regards how the promised 2,250 units of affordable housing will be delivered by the  May 2025  deadline. Though some updated information about affordable housing was disclosed at the meeting, notably some totals and percentages in upcoming buildings, the overall question remained unanswered. And the AY CDC board, by a narrow margin, showed itself unwilling to challenge developer Greenland Forest