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Showing posts from August, 2019

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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/coming/missing, who's responsible, + project overview/FAQ/timeline (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

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 ov

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 @WSJ — Mike Bird (@Birdyword) August 28, 2019 Sell 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 citi

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

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 20

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: T he 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 — w

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 revi

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 g

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, J

City & State NY's 2019 Brooklyn Power 100: Jeffries at the top, Adams #5; Cumbo under-ranked; Gilmartin (ex-Forest City) but, oddly, not Greenland's Hu

City & State New York's listing of  The 2019 Brooklyn Power 100  is, of course arbitrary, but it's also intriguing. And it includes some Atlantic Yards-related references. The ranking is... interesting, starting with: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries Sen. Charles Schumer State AG Letitia James Rep. Nydia Velazquez Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams The description for Adams: No Brooklyn borough president has ever become mayor, and the last borough president in New York City to ascend to Gracie Mansion was Manhattan’s David Dinkins. But Eric Adams hopes he could become the first. With Letitia James preoccupied enforcing state law, the former state senator and ex-police officer may have an opening in what will no doubt be a crowded field in 2021. He has outraised his opponents recently, hauling in more than $500,000 over the first six months of the year, although his rival City Comptroller Scott Stringer has more than $2.5 million in his war chest. Adams has been noticeabl

New ESD head is Eric Gertler, replacing Howard Zemsky; no reason to expect changes regarding Atlantic Yards

In a scoop before the official announcement yesterday, the Wall Street Journal's Jimmy Vielkind wrote  New York Gov. Cuomo Nominates New State Economic Czar , indicating that "Howard Zemsky, a real-estate developer from Buffalo who has held the post since 2015," will be succeeded as president and CEO of Empire State Development by Eric Gertler, "a lawyer and publishing executive." Gertler, currently Executive Chairman of U.S. News & World Report and formerly co-publisher of the New York Daily News, has previously served as Executive VP of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and as Managing Director of that body's Center for Economic Transformation . He's been an ESD board member since June 2018. As Vielkind wrote, the Cuomo administration has "been searching for a successor to Mr. Zemsky for several months." So Gertler and Zemsky come after other ESD leaders, including Kenneth Adams, Dennis Mullen, Marisa Lago, Pat Foye

“No Brunching While Black” or “Bar Operator Allegedly in Violation”? Looking closer at the Woodland controversy

Woodland at left, next to Bleachers and Sugarcane To regulars, notably black millennials flocking to a bumping brunch often described as “lit,” the restaurant-bar-lounge Woodland, at the commercial corner of Flatbush and Sixth avenues, is a cherished haven, highlighted last year in Eater by Stacy-Ann Ellis as "The Joy of Black Brunch" . To several nearby neighbors, the local police precinct, and the local Community Board, Woodland is a problem nightclub, blasting music, attracting long, sometimes unruly lines down Sixth Avenue, and pouring so much alcohol that customers sometimes puke and pee on neighbors’ stoops, disturbing a residential district. Brooklyn Community Board 6 has multiple times asked the State Liquor Authority (SLA) for Woodland’s liquor license to be revoked or suspended. Since Woodland supporters, especially the Bertha Lewis-led Black Institute and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, think such problems are overblown, reflecting historic patte