Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2019

Featured Post

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

Noisy, disruptive Saturday work at B15 site disclosed at last minute, but after-hours permit had been acquired 11 days earlier

This seems just a little... suspect.

At 5:11 pm today, Empire State Development issued a supplement to the two-week Construction Update released more than a week ago. It states, regarding the B15 site (aka 37 Sixth, or 664 Pacific)
Excavation and foundation construction work are underway at the site. There will be work this Saturday, June 1st, in compliance with an approved DoB permit. Appropriate dust and noise mitigation measures will be taken. So, according to the cover letter, Saturday work is expected tomorrow, June 1, 2019, from 9 am to 5 pm. That work, as I've reported, can be enormously disruptive and disturbing, however much "dust and noise mitigation measures" are taken.

Here's a brief video I shot.

Reasons for questions

The announcement is suspect for two reasons. The recent Construction Update omitted any mention of the possibility of Saturday work, which can be very disruptive to neighbors. The previous Construction Update belatedly disclosed such Saturd…

Barclays Center June 2019 calendar: eight ticketed events, plus five (unspecified) graduations

The Barclays Center has released its June 2019 Community Calendar. It contains eight publicly ticketed events, including five concerts, the WorldPride Opening Ceremony, NYPD boxing, and the NBA draft, plus five graduation ceremonies.

Listing the five graduations without more specifics, such as the institution or the size of the crowd, maintains the arena's strategy of partial opacity: they once estimated crowd size and named the institution, then stopped announcing private events entirely before restoring the current partial information.

While the graduations are not specified, a web search turns up Baruch College (June 3, 9:30 am), New York City College of Technology (June 3, 6 pm), Medgar Evers College (June 5, 9 am), LaGuardia Community College (June 13, 9:30 am), and Brooklyn Technical High School (June 24, 3 pm).

June 2018 comparison

June is typically a slow month for the arena. Barclays in June 2018 hosted seven publicly ticketed events, including six concerts and the NBA dra…

A truck rips fence outside railyard, creating a Sixth Avenue pedestrian hazard. The fence gets fixed the next morning.

A flatbed truck carrying concrete pilings to the Vanderbilt Yard by way of the ramp on Sixth Avenue between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue did some serious damage to the adjacent fencing Tuesday night, posing a significant hazard to pedestrians, but the hazard was repaired by the next morning.

On Wednesday morning, a Prospect Heights resident sent an email informing representatives of the developer and the state that he'd observed that northbound truck, at 7:30 pm the night before, attempt to make a right turn down the ramp into the rail yard..

Because the truck wouldn't fit, the driver kept maneuvering the vehicle, which then got partly intertwined with fencing protecting the sidewalk from the railyard. In backing out, the truck ripped out the crossbar at the top of the fence and bent the vertical support bar next to the down ramp entrance.

The fencing, severely bent, was then sticking out into the sidewalk, which is the only one available to pedestrians, given that the …

Is Pacific Park now an $8 billion project? Will it have 9 acres (not 8) of open space?

Though statements on LinkedIn profiles aren't definitive (see previous coverage of Equinox and the plans to finish the railyard and then build a platform), there are two intriguing factoids in the profile of Julian Souva, a Development Manager at Greenland USA.

First, Souza describes Pacific Park as an "$8 billion" development, including "15 mega high rise buildings and 9 acres of parkland."

That clearly includes exaggeration, but perhaps also some not-yet-articulated truth.

The towers are not "mega high rise," since they vary in height, as approved, from 184 to 620 feet, though the latter tower, approved as "Miss Brooklyn" (aka B1), won't be built, leaving the tallest tower currently approved at 511 feet (18 Sixth Avenue, aka B4).

Still, it's certainly possible that a much taller tower--once floated as 785 feet, but perhaps even taller--could be built at Site 5, pending a state approval process to change to the project's General …

Greenland USA executive: Vanderbilt Yard upgrade exceeds $200 million, as do projected platform costs. Is platform past "documents" phase?

Though statements on LinkedIn profiles aren't definitive (see previous coverage of Equinox),  the profile for Chengxu Yang, VP, Director of Construction at Greenland USA in New York, offers a few intriguing clues about the progress and plans for Pacific Park Brooklyn.

After describing the three towers completed by the joint venture Greenland Forest Partners--the condo 550 Vanderbilt and the rentals 535 Carlton and 38 Sixth--Yang's profile describes current and future work.

About the new railyard

That work includes "LIRR VD Yard (Infrastructure, construction costs >$200M, near completion)." Translated: the new and relocated Vanderbilt Yard, to store and service Long Island Rail Road trains, will cost more than $200 million, and is nearly finished.

Indeed, the yard was described at a meeting earlier this month as nearing completion.

As to the cost figure, in 2009, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said the new railyard would be valued at $147 million, wh…

Is a giant Equinox (and outdoor swimming pool) coming to 18 Sixth Avenue (B4)?

We can't take statements on LinkedIn profiles as definitive, but the profile for Jenny (Wenyi) Jin, a former MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering) project manager for Greenland USA, offers a very interesting clue.

As noted in the screenshot at right, she states that she worked on 18 Sixth Avenue (aka B4), described as "A new, 49 story, 816 units, $700 million luxury rental, which includes a 28,000 s.f. built out for Equinox, additional retail space and outdoor swimming pool," while later in the profile it describes the space for Equinox as even larger, 36,000 square feet.

Does that mean the self-described "luxury fitness club" Equinox is coming to the building?

I wouldn't bet against it--there's surely a business case for a large exercise facility--but do note that, as former executive Jim Stuckey once observed, "Projects change, markets change."

Construction is just beginning for the tower's foundation, so it's at leas…

Gilmartin on Stuckey: not involved in departure but supported Ratner’s handling of personnel matters (hmm)

There's an interesting passage in Reinvention acts, a 5/1/19 article in the Real Deal about the #metoo issue in the real estate industry:
James Stuckey, who in the early 2000s led Forest City Ratner’s development of Atlantic Yards (now Pacific Park), faced sexual harassment allegations at the company and later at New York University, where he was a professor.
Stuckey resigned from the firm in 2007, citing “personal reasons.” But when a colleague at NYU filed a lawsuit against him five years later, alleging that he “forcibly placed her hand on his crotch and his erect penis” during a dinner that was arranged to discuss a possible promotion, the complaint noted that he’d been accused of misconduct at Forest City. Note: that NYU allegation was never upheld or adjudicated, as the case was ultimately settled. The accusations at Forest City were never formally filed, but prompted Stuckey's departure.

Omitted here is Forest City's corporate role in Stuckey's departure.

When S…

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

This graphic, last updated in March 2019, is aimed to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. The information in the text has been updated through June 18, 2019, though considerable uncertainty remains: note buildings with question marks.

Four of 15 (or 16) towers have been built, while is rather slow progress for a project announced in 2003 and approved in 2006 (and re-approved in 2009), though momentum is increasing. As reported in my City Limits article, developers plan four towers on terra firma in 2019 and 2020--B15 and B4, then B12 and B13. However, they still must built some 900 more affordable units by 2025 to meet a state deadline--a significant challenge.

So what's coming after that? As predicted in one document, but not confirmed, are three large towers over the railyard, B5, B6, and B7, starting perhaps in 2021 and 2022. Those three towers, as well as the other three towers over the railyard (B8/B9/B10), …

"Brooklyn Nets... Open New Playground in Brooklyn" (by redistributing charitable funds)

The Nets are helping, but how much?

Brooklyn Nets and The Trust for Public Land Open New Playground in Brooklyn reported New York Sports Day 5/23/19:
Today, The Trust for Public Land hosted the grand opening for a new student-designed community playground at M.S. 354 The School of Integrated Learning, KIPP AMP Academy Middle School, and KIPP AMP Elementary Schools in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The ceremony included an official ribbon cutting and opening remarks from guests including Brett Yormark, Chief Executive Officer of BSE Global, which manages and controls the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, New York State Assembly Member, Tremaine Wright, and Leslie Wright from New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, among others.
Following the ribbon cutting, there were student dance and band performances, a meet and greet with the Brooklynettes Dance Team, and the Brooklyn Nets Basketball Academy hosted a free clinic for the children in attendance, in addition to leaving be…

In Downtown Brooklyn, a long-delayed park dependent on underground parking instead won't have parking

Never mind! A long-standing, and long-delayed, plan to bring park space to Downtown Brooklyn as part of the 2004 rezoning has been resolved--it seems--with an announcement (below) that the park will not be built on planned underground parking.

After planning an $80 million (as per Curbed) parking garage project with a 1.15-acre park in Downtown Brooklyn on "Willoughby Square," next to the City Point project, the New York City Economic Development Corporation has instead commissioned a $15 million project, since "the original need for parking has lessened given the many new public transit options in the area."

(Also see coverage in Crain's, and see that the original developer is suing, claiming the city unfairly stalled the plan.)

That said, it seems the money will come from public coffers rather than from the development, and the city will commemorate the abolitionist history it in other ways erased.

Note that the rationale regarding a lesser need for parking h…

From the latest Construction Update: more late-night work in the Vanderbilt Yard, until 3 am; no Saturday residential work

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, May 27 (or, perhaps, a day later, given the holiday), was circulated at 6 pm yesterday (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners.

The document is supposed to mark new work in red, and only one paragraph is in red, a warning of late-night work in the Vanderbilt Yard:
Contractor plans to work second shift to excavate and install necessary TMSC (train toilet servicing cleanouts) between 6:00pm and 3:00am pending LIRR support availability. Appropriate noise, light, and dust mitigation practices will be observed. This follows up two separate last-minute announcements of late-night work this past week, covering four nights. It also provokes the supposition that future Long Island Rail Road schedule needs may require more late-night work.

No Saturday residential work?

Unlike in the previous Construction Update, there's no ann…