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Showing posts from September, 2019

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

Looking at the Affordable NY program: even middle-income units at 130% of AMI (vs. 165%) are getting pricey. A template for future Atlantic Yards towers?

Affordable apartments for high earners on LIU’s Downtown Brooklyn campus, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported 9/26/19, pointing to RXR Realty's 34-story, 476-unit apartment building at 196 Willoughby St., which includes 30 percent affordable units--at 130 percent of regional Area Median Income, or AMI.

That's middle-income, but a lower "band" than some Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park affordable housing.

If the LIU building opened this year, studios would rent for $2,026, one bedrooms for $2,542, two bedrooms for $3,063, and three bedrooms for $3,530, as indicated in the second large chart below. But it just had a groundbreaking, and rents surely will have risen by the time it opens.

"Workforce housing"

RXR Executive VP Seth Pinsky, a former head of the NYC Economic Development Corporation and the incoming head of the 92nd St. Y, called the income-linked units “workforce housing, which we think is important for the borough.”

That's a not uncommon term used by c…

Atlantic Yards Down the Memory Hole: "new housing" near Barclays Center cited as a current Bloomberg achievement

From City & State's The 2019 Finance Power 50:
3. Michael Bloomberg
Founder, Bloomberg LP

When the New York Post reported New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio only worked seven hours in May while launching his bid for president, one could be forgiven for longing for his predecessor. But Michael Bloomberg never really left. Just look around at the opening of Hudson Yards, the launch of Empire Outlets, new housing coming to the Barclays Center area of Brooklyn and the continued expansion of the city’s bike lane network and ferry system. Um, I don't think that a project announced in 2003 with a projected 2013 completion date, then revised upon 2006 approval to 2016 and 2009 re-approval to 2019, should count as a Bloomberg achievement, especially since full completion should take until 2035.

It's another example of what I've deemed "Atlantic Yards down the memory hole."

During the overnight concrete pour, yes, a piece of B12 site used for trucks (despite lack of explicit notice)

At the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting 0/17/19, Tobi Jaiyesimi, point person for Empire State Development (ESD)--the state authority overseeing/shepherding the project--took note of complaints that the state had failed to notice neighbors about certain work on the southeast block of the site.

"There was a concrete pour [at the B4 or B15 site, where towers are under construction] but there was no explicit mention of the B12 site for concrete truck-wash out," she said. "And so moving forward we’ll be sure to emphasize the use of the B12 for concrete truck wash-outs."

Well, not quite.

As I reported Friday, a suspiciously early two-week Construction Update, aimed for the two weeks beginning tomorrow, 9/30/19, rather quietly offered one day's notice for overnight work starting that night--work that presumably should have been in a special announcement as a supplement to the previous Construction Update, since it fell in that time period.



Accordin…

At E-Sports tourney, another use of the "public" plaza

The Barclays Center this weekend is hosting the live E-Sports tournament ESL One, and will do so again next year. It's a big deal in the gaming world.

And, as shown in the photo below, taken yesterday morning, a nice logo for photo backdrops occupies a central point in the "public" plaza (aka Resorts World Casino NYC Plaza), and a series of metal fencing was set up to corral attendees.


A 12/12/16 press release from ESL One:
In 2017, the Barclays Center in New York will once again be home to an ESL One event! Together with AEG, we are happy to announce our return to Brooklyn for the next four years, making the Barclays Center ESL One’s North American flagship event and home of the biggest esports tournament on the East Coast. The next event will take place on the 16th and 17th of September in 2017, featuring CS:GO a second straight time.
Secure your tickets from Thursday, December 15 at 10 a.m.
After the debut in October this year, showing us some of the best players in the…

On Media Day, the Brooklyn Nets draw big; Durant casually describes easy decision to choose Brooklyn

It really is remarkable, how the Brooklyn Nets put themselves in a position to go to the next level, and the coveted players took that in hand.
Check out (rehabbing) Kevin Durant at 7:46 in this video, before a huge audience on Media Day yesterday,when asked how seriously he took the other teams with sufficient cap space--Los Angeles Clippers, his own Golden State Warriors, and the New York Knicks--before deciding on Brooklyn.

"I thought about it for a couple of seconds, to see how my life would look in all of those places for a minute," he said, "but ultimately I wanted to be here." The biggest reason was Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, with whom Durant had not spoken, but rather watched, on YouTube interviews.

He wanted to be closer to his family, and presumably in the nation's media capital. And with his friends, as Tom Dowd of BrooklynNets.com explained it, 9/27/19, KYRIE IRVING, KEVIN DURANT, DEANDRE JORDAN TAKE THE STAGE AT BROOKLYN NETS MEDIA DAY:
In the mid…

From the latest Construction Update: overnight concrete pour at B4 site starts 10 pm *tonight*, continues to 6 pm Saturday, with staging and washout on Pacific Street (not B12?)

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, Sept. 30 was circulated yesterday at 5:50 pm by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners.

Why such lead time for a document that was introduced in the accompanying email as, "Attached for your information is the September 30, 2019 Atlantic Yards Project construction activity update."

Well, maybe because they're backhandedly announcing new, disruptive work tonight at the B4 site at the northeast corner of the arena block. There should have been a separate announcement as an update to the previous Construction Update.

In other words, while this is an improvement over previous episodes in which the community never got notice of certain work, that's a low bar.

The announcement:
A significant foundation pour is scheduled for Friday, September 27th, in the evening and will last through Saturday. Work will begin at about 10p…

Nets roundup: new CEO, new court colors, and taking the New York narrative from the Knicks

There's a lot going on with the Brooklyn Nets, getting ready for a big year after what Bob Windrem (aka Net Income) of NetsDaily called "the greatest off-season in Nets history."

A new team CEO

They've hired David Levy, former president of Turner Media, as a replacement for Brett Yormark as CEO of the team. Here's the 9/18/19 press release, which notes that Levy also will be President of J Tsai Sports, the sports investment and holding vehicle controlled by team owner Joe Tsai, and join Tsai’s family office as a venture partner.

From the press release:
During his tenure, Levy was instrumental in expanding Turner’s sports media rights with a number of leagues and organizations, including the NBA, MLB, PGA of America and UEFA. In 2012, he led the efforts for Turner to acquire Bleacher Report. The Daily News quoted Levy as saying stars Kyrie Irving and (the injured) Kevin Durant will drive ratings and revenue, helping the team and arena. (Will Durant come back this s…

Chinese developers (including Greenland) facing domestic hazards from "unearned revenue"; a ripple effect in Brooklyn?

The Wall Street Journal's Mike Bird, who last month advised investors to sell Greenland Holdings Corp. (parent of Greenland USA) given red flags like high "unearned revenue"--properties bought by customers but not yet delivered--has issued another warning.

His 9/19/19 article, Chinese Property Giants Could Regret Milking the Country's Middle Class, doesn't mention Greenland, but certainly includes the the company (as he confirmed on Twitter), citing the "politically sensitive liability" of such unearned revenue from presales as representing "a greater share of the 10 largest property developers' liabilities than total debt."

It would be difficult, indeed, to sell out years before construction completion in New York (though such pre-sales do occur).

Bird cites a trend in China, since 2016, of a significant divergence: construction completions have slowed, while presales have grown. That leaves "developers vulnerable to a downturn in de…

Cuomo breaks ground at Belmont for new Islanders arena, as two new lawsuits linger; seven more games moved from Barclays Center to Nassau Coliseum

We've seen the pageantry before, with different people. Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Empire State Development (ESD), led by Eric Gertler (the MC in the video below) hosted a groundbreaking for the new sports-and-entertainment arena at Belmont Park, home to the New York Islanders.

Yes, the political players and team leaders were there, plus happy fans wearing jerseys and carrying signs.

Newsday, the dominant Long Island newspaper and frequent enthusiast for the arena project, played it big, albeit with acknowledgement there are two lawsuits pending. 
Two arenas, for now

The same day, Cuomo and the National Hockey League announced that, rather than splitting their season--the second of an at least three-year interim arrangement--between Barclays Center and the downsized but closer-to-home Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders would play seven more games in Nassau, including two against historic rival New York Rangers. The total is now 28.

That's a win for players and fans, thoug…

Vanderbilt Yard delay well less than that of East Side Access, now due in 2023

Hey, remember East Side Access, Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central Station in Midtown East (as opposed to Penn Station in Midtown West)?
It was once supposed to begin in 2016, which meant that delays in the revamped Vanderbilt Yard, which would enhance shuttle service between Jamaica and Brooklyn, could have been problematic.
The new Vanderbilt Yard has been delayed numerous times, but is now almost finished. Forest City Ratner in 2005 agreed to build a nine-track yard that can accommodate 76 train cars but, with the 2009 renegotiation, got the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to agree to a seven-track yard holding 56 cars.
East Side Access is even more delayed. As the Daily News reported 9/19/19, in MTA seeks another $798 million to finish East Side Access project long plagued by delays and rising costs, the completion date is now projected as 2022, 13 years behind the original schedule, while the $11.1 billion estimated cost is $6.8 billion more than the origi…

Is closed open space at 535 Carlton caused by a sinkhole? The state has no information. The developer says "small area" needs repair.

This is the sixth and last of several articles based on the 9/17/19 Quality of Life meeting, hosted by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing and shepherding the project. The first concerned plans for the school. The second concerned questions about the timing of the platform. The third concerned work that was not previewed in the two-week Construction Update. The fourth concerned hazardous conditions for pedestrians on Sixth Avenue. The fifth concerned a new location for the Community Liaison Office and other roundup issues.


I reported recently that the open space behind the 535 Carlton rental tower had been closed off, as shown in the photo at right.

Elaine Weinstein, co-president of the North Prospect Heights Association (NPHA), said that residents of the tower who recently attended a NPHA meeting indicated that a sinkhole--"a depression or hole in the ground caused by some form of collapse of the surface layer"--had caused the closure.

Tobi Jaiyesi…

Community Liaison Office moving to 550 Vanderbilt retail space; no update on Site 5

This is the fifth of several articles based on the 9/17/19 Quality of Life meeting, hosted by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing and shepherding the project. The first concerned plans for the school. The second concerned questions about the timing of the platform. The third concerned work that was not previewed in the two-week Construction Update. The fourth concerned hazardous conditions for pedestrians on Sixth Avenue. 

Tobi Jaiyesimi, Atlantic Yards project director for ESD, and also the executive director of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, provided a few more project updates.

First, because the trailers at the B12 and B13 sites, on Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, are being removed for expected construction beginning early next year, there will no longer be a trailer housing the project's Community Liaison Office. 
Below is the standard boilerplate from the two-week Construction Updates: How to Reach Pacific P…

With construction on two sides of Sixth Avenue, medical facility drop-offs, and scofflaw parking, continued pedestrian safety issues

This is the fourth of several articles based on the 9/17/19 Quality of Life meeting, hosted by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing and shepherding the project. The first concerned plans for the school. The second concerned questions about the timing of the platform. The third concerned work that was not previewed in the two-week Construction Update.
Toby Jaiyesimi, Atlantic Yards project director for ESD, and also the executive director of the advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), was the main speaker, responded to a pre-meeting question about the traffic conditions on Sixth Avenue between Dean Street and Atlantic Avenue.

The difficulty is that the east side of Sixth Avenue is closed to pedestrians between Dean and Pacific streets, given construction at the B15 site, while the west side Sixth Avenue is closed to pedestrians between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue, given construction at the B4. That scenario was approved by th…

On Sept. 25, 145 buses coming to Barclays Center during school hours, said to not lay over (2nd year of WE Day)

The Barclays Center yesterday circulated an updated September 2019 calendar, announcing an event--a "pep rally" for the charitable WE Day--Wednesday, Sept. 25 that will involve "a heavy flow of busing" between 8-10 am and 12-2 pm.

While the announcement, below does not indicate the number of buses, 145 buses are expected, according to Heather Hall, Senior Director of Community Relations for BSE Global, which operates the arena (for now). She spoke at the 9/17/19 Quality of Life meeting.

They're doing better than last year. Last year, the We Day event was held 9/26/18 at Barclays Center, and not announced on either the monthly events calendar circulated to neighbors nor at a community meeting. Some 200 buses were expected, but I didn't learn of major disruptions.

Last year, buses were supposed to drop off on Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, but this year there will be drop offs on Dean Street, which is a narrower, partly residential block at the arena's so…

"It's time for a new plan": A BrooklynSpeaks meeting Oct. 3, with Assemblymembers Mosley and Simon

First, the announcement. I'll have more about this before the meeting.

No consequences: when questioned about noisy work unmentioned in two-week Construction Update, state rep says they'll do better going forward

This is the third of several articles based on the 9/17/19 Quality of Life meeting, hosted by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing and shepherding the project. The first concerned plans for the school. The second concerned questions about the timing of the platform.

Toby Jaiyesimi, Atlantic Yards project director for ESD, and also the executive director of the advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), was the main speaker, and there was no representative of master developer Greenland Forest City Partners present to speak.

(A representative of TF Cornerstone, which is developing the B12 and B13 towers on the southeast block, was in the room, but didn't speak.)

The bottom line regarding complaints about noisy work at the B12 site, captured on video by neighbor Peter Krashes, but went unmentioned in the two-week Construction Update, was this: sorry, we'll make sure they do better next time, but there are no consequences.

Those C…

In railyard, how far along is the platform? The state either doesn't know or won't say.

This is the second of several articles based on the 9/17/19 Quality of Life meeting, hosted by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing and shepherding the project. The first concerned plans for the school.

So, how far along is the all-important platform, the key infrastructure over the Vanderbilt Yard above which vertical development of six towers--B5 through B10--can take place?

A representative of the state couldn't give a clear answer, though she insisted there was progress.

Asking about plans for the project's "park," resident Mark Dallara cited the "open rail yard," and added, "As far as I can see, there's no footings for the platform."

"There are already footings in for the platform," responded Tobi Jaiyesimi, Atlantic Yards project director for ESD, and also the executive director of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation.

(Greenland USA's Scott Solish, who typically makes a developer p…

SCA surprise: middle school at B15 tower won't open until 2023, will house 800 students (not 640); more concern about safety issues

This is the first of several articles based on the 9/17/19 Quality of Life meeting, hosted by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing and shepherding the project.

In March, we learned at a meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation that the B15 tower, aka 664 Pacific Street, should be finished by Spring 2022. (See slide below.)

A 640-seat middle school, occupying the building's first six floors and very deep below-grade space (see photo further below), was supposed to open by August 2022, School Construction Authority (SCA) records said.

Not exactly.

Last night, an SCA rep revealed that the school will not open until September 2023--a delay based on the aim to "refresh" designs over the past nine months--and it will hold 800 students, a 25% increase. (It's unclear whether the school space--previously said to be 100,000 square feet, both above and below ground--is increasing.)

We got no official update on the timing for the r…