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Showing posts from August, 2019

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

From the latest Construction Update: at B4 site, concrete work Saturday, Sept. 7, from 7 am - 7 pm

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, Sept. 2 was circulated on 8/28/19 (lead time!) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners.

There are few contrasts from the previous update, with two examples of announced new work (typically in red) in the document. 
At B4 (18 Sixth Ave.), pending the receipt of permits, concrete work is scheduled for Saturday, September 7 from approximately 7 am through 7 pm. (There's no mention of noise levels, or the amount of equipment needed.) Otherwise, excavation work there, as noted below, is supposed to go from 9 am through 5 pm.
After hours work

In terms of continuing after-hours work, at the Vanderbilt Yard, "Contractor plans to work second shift to excavate and install necessary TMSC (train toilet servicing cleanouts) between 6 pm and 3 am," according to the notice.

Excavation work is expected to continue on Saturday at the B…

Barclays Center releases September 2019 calendar: five ticketed events, plus two private events

The Barclays Center yesterday (early!) circulated a Community Notice listing September 2019 events at the arena.

There are five ticketed events, including two concerts, two e-sports events, and one pre-season hockey game. That's eight events fewer than in September 2018, when there was one more hockey game, plus seven Sesame Street Live events.

There are also two private, non-ticketed events, the subject of which was not disclosed.

However, one of them, as with September 2018 (see below), will be a fashion and music experience put on by the company and website No tickets are currently available, but last year they were free, so I assume they have already been distributed.

September 2018

In September 2018, there were 13 ticketed events and four private, non-ticketed events.

The ticketed events include one concert (Drake), one boxing card, two Islanders pre-season games, two ESL One e-sports competitions, and seven performances of Sesame Street Live over three days.

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

This graphic, last updated in October 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 Oct. 12, 2019, though considerable uncertainty remains: note buildings with question marks, as well as the project's general history of changes.

Four of 15 (or 16) towers have been built (plus the Barclays Center), which 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 April 2019 City Limits article, developers plan four towers on terra firma in 2019 and 2020--B15 and B4, which are currently under way, then B12 and B13 in 2020. However, they still must built 916 more affordable units by 2025 to meet a state deadline--a significant challenge, but not insurmountable.

So what's coming after that? As predicted in one document, but not confirmed, are three large towers …

WSJ says it's time to sell newly hamstrung, debt-burdened Greenland (a red flag in Brooklyn?)

I made my second stock pick for the @wsjheard summer contest! It's Greenland Group, one of China's largest property developers - another sell rating from me. The company has exploded in size, and it will struggle to weather a slowdown. via — Mike Bird (@Birdyword) August 28, 2019Sell Greenland! No, Not That One, the Wall Street Journal's Mike Bird wrote yesterday, offering a caution about Greenland Holdings Corp. (aka Greenland Holding Group or Greenland Holdings Group), the giant real-estate company and main owner of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park.

He writes notes that, despite growing property prices in China, and Shanghai-based Greenland celebrating a Forbes rank for fastest revenue growth, there are reasons to worry.

Indeed, as I wrote last month, growth in revenue itself does not indicate fiscal health, and Greenland's bond rating was still junk, indicating risks.

Also, as I wrote in January citing Fortune magazi…

Revisiting the 2006 Response to Comments: project concept, evolution, and process to evaluate changes (yes, it was wise to propose more oversight)

Over several posts, I'll revisit various Response to Comments documents in separate environmental review or project approval processes, pointing out, with the asset of hindsight, unwise or unfounded assessments by either commenters or the Empire State Development Corporation (now called Empire State Development), the state authority overseeing and shepherding the project.

These comments are from the first round of project approvals, in the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement, bottom. Emphases are added.

An "organic" development process?
If the land were developed in a more organic way, meaning individual developers bid on parcels and build when the market supports it, it would happen in a more natural and tolerable way. Through public subsidies and single source development, an artificial economic environment is being created, which contradicts reason and economic sense. (119, Society For Clinton Hill)
MTA should platform over the rail yard, subdivide it into many l…

With apartment oversupply down, Brooklyn builders feeling more optimistic (for now)

Bisnow yesterday posted After Years Of Brooklyn Apartment Oversupply, Construction Is Down And Rents Are Up and, while it should be taken with a grain of salt--it's essentially a promo for a panel next month--it surely indicates trends.
Landlords of new buildings are offering fewer concessions, and, according to Nancy Packes Data Services, the number of new market-rate Brooklyn rental units was 3,000 in 2015, rising to 6,000 in 2017, dropped to 4,600 last year, and is on track for less than 2,200 this year.
That's generally good news for developers of projects like Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, but there are different sub-markets. Downtown Brooklyn rents are understandably higher than neighborhoods deeper in Brooklyn, and the cost of construction for buildings in Greenland Forest City Partners' project also has to encompass infrastructure.
Moreover, those moving into Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park must be mindful of continuing construction and the delay--until 2035?--in finis…

Gaslighting the Belmont story: the arena developers are said to pay for nearly all the railroad station's cost

Crain's New York Business published, on 8/20/19, an op-ed from Nassau County executive Laura Curran, headlined Belmont shows a big project can succeed in the suburbs. From the article:
The state expects one-third of arena attendees to use the LIRR, taking thousands of cars off our roads and greatly reducing congestion. Just as important, the station will be a true public-private partnership: The arena developers will provide $30 million upfront and pay the state another $67 million over time, for a total private contribution of $97 million of the $105 million total cost. (Emphases added)

Similarly, from an 8/21/19 Newsday article headlined LIRR Elmont station to be served by Hempstead branch trains at all times What is the cost of the station, and who is paying for it?
The station is estimated to cost $105 million. Private developer New York Arena Partners — a partnership of the owners of the Islanders, New York Mets and the arena development company, Oak View Group — will initially…

Next Quality of Life meeting Sept. 17

A message from Empire State Development:
The next Atlantic Yards Project Quality of Life Meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 17, 2019.
Please send Project related questions, and suggested agenda items to Tuesday, September 17, 2019 @ 6:00 PM
Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building
55 Hanson Place
1st Floor Conference Room
Brooklyn, NY 11217 This allows an opportunity for project updates, and public feedback about ongoing issues. The last meeting got interesting--especially since the "clarification" had to be clarified.

IBO: affordable units more likely to be low- or moderate-income (though that's not the case with AY)

The devil's in the details, as I like to say.

From the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO), WHAT’S THE RENT? A SNAPSHOT OF THE RENTS FOR NEW AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN NEW YORK CITY (or in PDF form, screenshot below):
Most new housing built under the Mayor’s affordable housing plan is marketed to prospective tenants through NYC Housing Connect. To be eligible for an apartment, a tenant’s gross income must fall within a specific range. Income ranges are set based on the income group for which an apartment is reserved (from “extremely low” to “middle income”), with the upper limit of the range increasing with household size. Rents for each apartment, however, are generally a fixed dollar amount. Because rents are generally fixed, different households within each income range pay different shares of their income towards rent. This is different from the federal Section 8 program and public housing, which set rents at 30 percent of a qualified renter’s gross income. IBO reviewed 1…

Yormark spins in exit interview: after "36 lawsuits," Barclays Center was built "against all odds"

So, yesterday Venues Now featured a self-serving exit interview with Brett Yormark, CEO of BSE Global (and thus the Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets), YORMARK: ‘HAPPY I WAS ABLE TO PLAY A ROLE’.

He's had his contract extended through December to "provide oversight of the transaction" with incoming owner Joe Tsai, saying he'd become "very close" to Mikhail Prokhorov (really? the guy was infrequently in Brooklyn) and Prokhorov's friend and deputy Dmitry Razumov.

He said he aimed to announce his new destination in "mid-September, assuming everything works out," within the sports and entertainment world.

The arena's legacy

Asked about the "monumental accomplishment" of getting an arena built, he said:
In some respects, what we did with Barclays Center is a legacy. Most people were doubters. They never thought we would be able to move the team from New Jersey to Brooklyn, let alone build a world-class venue that became a global destin…

Dave Zirin: new NFL role is "Jay-Z’s ultimate hustle"

Hova's doing it again, on a bigger stage.

"You can't hustle a hustler," I wrote in 2011, regarding Jay-Z's willingness to front for Bruce Ratner and Mikhail Prokhorov's Barclays Center.

Jay-Z Isn’t a Sellout, He’s a Capitalist, the Nation's Dave Zirin wrote 8/19/19:The worlds of sports, social justice, and hip hop are still reeling from the news that Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, the rap legend and self-branded socially conscious billionaire, has entered into a partnership with the NFL to be the league’s “live music entertainment strategist.” Carter plans to help direct the NFL’s “Inspire Change initiative.”
Immediately, many saw this as an action that broke a de facto picket line where black entertainers—and white performers acting in solidarity—would not do business with the league as long as exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick remained unemployed for his anthem protests against police violence.Rather than pressure the league to reinstate Kaepernick, Jay-Z appar…