Skip to main content

Featured Post

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

The project obligations stick to each development site, but who oversees the overseer?

This is the seventh of ten articles on the 5/7/19 Quality of Life meeting. The first concerned the project schedule. The second concerned The Brodsky Organization's share of the B4 tower. The third concerned noisy weekend construction. The fourth concerned opacity in the Barclays Center calendars. The fifth concerned illegal parking during arena events. The sixth concerned traffic issues. The eighth concerned the Community Liaison Office. The ninth concerned the developer's update. The tenth concerned the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation.
Who's responsible, the question was asked, for enforcing the obligations in the project, especially since Greenland Forest City Partners--controlled 95% by Greenland USA--has begun to sell development rights?

(TF Cornerstone has bought the rights to build the B12 and B13 parcels, and The Brodsky Organization at B15. Brodsky has partnered with Greenland at B4. Here's the project schematic.)

Obligations, such as the middle school at B15 and the open space at B12 and B13, are tied to the developer responsible for each site, said Tobi Jaiyesimi, Atlantic Yards project director for Empire State Development, which oversees and shepherds the project.

The project's Memorandum of Environmental Commitments, or MEC, sticks to each of the sites.

Have all agreements been completed regarding those sites, asked resident Peter Krashes.

"With the developer and those entities," Jaiyesimi said.

"Has ESD reviewed them?" Krashes asked.

"We don't review agreements between Greenland and Brodsky," Jaiyesimi said. "We have the ability to assign the lease." She said that Brodsky, for example, has an agreement to build "x number of units."

"So Brodsky has agreement with you directly?" Krashes asked. "Are those available to the public?"

"I don’t know," Jaiyesimi said. "I’d have to follow up. But there are agreements with each developer... If you come on the site, you are responsible to meet the MEC."

GFCP obligations

Krashes said that neighbors had asked him to help get air conditioners from the developer, which are required under the MEC as mitigation for noise. He said the availability of noise mitigation for 497 Dean "came after the construction started... the MEC is really clear on this, I’ll read it to you."

Jaiyesimi tried to shut him down, noting that others had questions.

Krahes plowed on. "I think this is something that’s important, I’ll just read it quickly." He read from the MEC, which states:
(k) Noise mitigation measures shall be implemented – where such measures have been accepted by building owners and their tenants – in a timely manner so as to avoid the significant adverse noise impacts identified in the FEIS and FSEIS where practicable.
"So, with these different developers, who is responsible?" he asked.

"Greenland Forest City [Partners]," said Scott Solish of Greenland USA.

Krashes noted that Jaiyeimi had just said each developer was responsible.

"We're handling all air conditioner and noise mitigation requests," Solish said, " to make sure there's a single point of contact."

"So if there's a delay, and MEC is not met," Krashes asked, "who's responsible, from ESD’s point of view?"

"We'll follow up with Greenland Forest City Partners," Jaiyesimi said.

The guiding documents

In response to a question from Anthony Drummond, who works in the Brooklyn Borough President’s Policy Office, asked if ESD reviewed agreements between Greenland and Brodsky.

Jaiyesimi noted that key obligations are tied to the assignment of leases, and those obligations are part of the project's General Project Plan, or GPP.

"Brodsky couldn't have come in and said they'd build what is different than what's in the GPP," she said, or not follow the design guidelines or requirement for open space, for example.

(Note, however, that the GPP is silent on the specifics of the range of affordable housing, which is governed by a Development Agreement. The latter allows a broader range than promised in the project's private Community Benefits Agreement.)

What recourse?

Krashes pointed to a series of episodes in which mitigations came late or project construction represented significant neighborhood disruption.

"If the state of New York isn’t able, in a consistent way," he asked, to ensure mitigations, "what recourse do we have?"

"The way your question is raised," Jaiyesimi responded, "there's no way I can answer satisfactorily."

Comments