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Showing posts from December, 2019

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

Notes posted summarizing last Quality of Life meeting don't tell the full story

Empire State Development has posted notes (bottom) from the 11/19/19 Quality of Life Meeting and, while it's certainly a helpful exercise, it doesn't encompass the full range of issues and concerns, much less the skeptical tone of some attendees.

My ten posts are linked here. Notably, plans for Site 5, what I considered the most dramatic news, albeit barely discussed at the meeting, go unmentioned in the notes. (We're still waiting for an update, too.) Nor is there any mention about complaints regarding the Barclays Center, or that an arena rep didn't attend the meeting.

What I considered the second most important news, plans for the railyard platform, was described, bureaucratically but not inaccurately, simply as:
There are no updates on the selection of a contractor for the platform and no updates on when construction is expected to commence. However, given that developer Greenland USA made such a big deal of announcing plans for the platform to start in 2020, the l…

Stalled Triangle Sports building across from arena sells for $7 million; any profit tempered by seven years of stasis

The three-story Triangle Sports building at Fifth and Flatbush avenues, across from the Barclays Center, seemed like a prime location to take advantage of arena crowds. Hence its $4.1 million sale price in 2012.

But the awkward shape was not conducive to food-and-beverage service, apparently, and the high price deterred other uses. No wonder, as Brownstoner reported in July 2017, that the owner, RedSky Capital, had apparently commissioned concept drawings showing the building transformed or expanded.
That didn't happen, either. But The Real Deal reported 12/10/19, in RedSky sells building across from Barclays Center as partner liquidates holdings, that Hidrock Properties has bought the building for $7 million and plans "a multi-million dollar renovation."
The future use is unclear.
About that price
The price is  confirmed by the city's ACRIS database; see screenshot below. It seems like a significant profit, based solely on sticker price. 
However, we don't know t…

From City & State: Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is a questionable part of Bloomberg’s legacy

My essay published yesterday in City & State is headlined Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is a questionable part of Bloomberg’s legacy, with the sub-heading "The mayor showed solicitousness toward fellow moguls above all."

The lead:
As a self-proclaimed “doer and a problem solver,” former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg surely considers Brooklyn’s oft-lauded Barclays Center, which opened in 2012, a triumph.
But Barclays goes unmentioned on his extensive presidential campaign website. Perhaps the controversial arena and its still-incomplete parent project – originally known as Atlantic Yards, now Pacific Park – would raise some uncomfortable questions about how the development has delivered far less than promised. For the rest, please go to the essay. Below, a few extras.

Extra: Bloomberg on the CBA

I point out in the commentary how Bloomberg backed Bruce Ratner's Community Benefits Agreement when it was unveiled in 2005.

We should also remember that, less than a year la…

As of 2009, another sign developer was estimating more rental units and fewer condos

Maybe, I wrote in February 2018, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park would have more than 4,500 rentals and fewer than 1,930 condos, given previous documents and the shifting availability of subsidies, which now don't apply to condos.

In fact, a look at documents from 2006 and 2009 casts doubt that the condo total was ever a goal within the overall total of 6,430 residential units.

The December 2006 Modified General Project Plan stated the project would include approximately 5,325 to 6,430 residential units, with the former depending on more office space, which was and remains unlikely. Of the total residential units, "it is expected that 4,500 units would be rentals; the remaining units would be market-value condominiums." Within the rentals, there would be at least 2,250 units of affordable housing

However, in a December 2006 report for Empire State Development, created after consulting Forest City, the consultant KPMG described the project as 4,500 units of "affordable, …

Has Site 5 condemnation moved forward? No evidence yet.

As I wrote yesterday, there's a glut of office space in Brooklyn, though that still doesn't rule out the chances for Site 5, which could deliver significant office space in 3-4 years (in a best-case scenario).

But is Site 5--currently home to P.C. Richard and Modell's across from the arena, but long slated for a significant development, including office space--moving ahead?

As I wrote 11/20/19, more than four years after big plans surfaced for Site 5, construction seemed more likely.
Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, issued a statement 11/19/19: “Later this week, ESD will file papers to condemn a property in Downtown Brooklyn, allowing an important part of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project to move forward. This condemnation was always envisioned in the original project documents. We will continue to work collaboratively with the developer and the community to deliver an exceptional mixed-use projec…

For now, there's a glut of office space around Brooklyn. What does that mean for Site 5?

25 Kent Lands A 65K SF Short-Term Occupant As Its Anchor Search, Bisnow reported 12/5/19:
Rubenstein Partners and Heritage Equities Partners reached a deal with online publication Refinery29 to bring its pop-up 29Rooms to an almost 65K SF space at 25 Kent Ave., the half-a-million square foot ground-up office development on the Brooklyn waterfront.  But that's a deal for a month. Smorgasburg is taking less than half that space for the winter. Meanwhile, as Bisnow notes, "The building has 350K SF of office space, 80K SF of light manufacturing space and 70K SF of retail."

Brooklyn has nearly 7 million square feet of new office space in the next two years, including Dock 72 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and the Panorama complex, formerly the Jehovah’s Witnesses' headquarters, down the hill from Brooklyn Heights.

What about Site 5?

So what does that mean for Site 5, the sooner-rather-than-later parcel to be developed for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, currently home to Modell&#…

Updating NYC subsidy level, thanks to 2010 document: $185 million, or $205 million?

How much did New York City give to Atlantic Yards in direct subsidy?

In a February 2005 Memorandum of Understanding, the city and state each promised $100 million, with the state money for infrastructure and the city money for infrastructure or land purchases. Later we learned that the latter all went to reimburse Forest City Ratner's seemingly generous payouts for property owners.
Only after the project was passed in 2006 did the city announced additional subsidies: apparently $105 million, as claimed by Forest City (see screenshot at right), leading to total of $305 million from city and state.

The city later claimed its total subsidies are $179 million or $171.5 million, not $205 million.

Another number
Here's another estimate: $185 million, courtesy of the 2010 City Participation Agreement that covered potential reimbursement for public property, among other things.
As highlighted below, the document cites $154 million in public subsidies, with a footnote pointing to a stat…

Barclays Center: a first for two-for-one discounts?

As I wrote on Twitter, this seems to be the first time the Barclays Center deals have extended to two-for-one tickets, rather than other forms of discounts or perks. The tickets include concerts, family shows, and some college basketball tournaments.

(Yes, I did a search to try to find previous examples.)
Could be wrong, but I don't recall previous 2-for-1 deals from Barclays Center on Cyber Monday, see last year — Norman Oder (@AYReport) December 2, 2019

TRD: In Los Angeles, a very bumpy ride for Greenland USA's Metropolis project

Can influencers and college students save Greenland’s Metropolis?, The Real Deal Los Angeles reported 12/2/19.
The gist: Greenland USA's other major project in the United States, the three-tower (plus 18-story hotel), 3.3-million-square-foot Metropolis development in downtown Los Angeles, is in trouble.
The number of condo buyers has diminished, given the decreasing appetite of overseas Chinese customers, and the difficulty getting money out. Moreover, downtown L.A. is overbuilt with luxury condos, with Metropolis units priced well above other units.
The article contains a brutal quote:
“The Metropolis development never made sense in the first place,” said Richard Green, director at the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate. “There is a mismatch between the product that is downtown and the demand.” So Greenland has switched from condos to rentals in the third building, and tried to appeal to a different buyer pool: not just the "influencers" and college students of the headlin…

Free tickets to Barclays Center events for Brooklyn nonprofits; DBNA community tickets program applications due Dec. 6 (+ hockey's easy)

Well, it may not be "as important or more important" than the Barclays Center, as arena developer Bruce Ratner claimed in September 2013 upon its first anniversary,

But it is the most enduring and visible product of the "borderline calamity" Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement: the annual Community Tickets program run by the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA), which offers tickets to most arena events.

There have been many grateful recipients, who otherwise wouldn't have been able to attend events. "To date, we have distributed over 85,000 tickets to over 600 Brooklyn based community organizations," the DBNA states.

Applications are due by 5 pm Dec. 6.

Free tickets

The program allows various nonprofit and neighborhood groups free access to 2 to 20 Upper Bowl tickets per group; also, four Lower Bowl tickets, and seats in a suite are distributed. Most tickets are chosen via live stream drawings and in-person sweepstakes events, plus im…

With 812 middle-school students, likely spillover into nearby Pacific Park open space, Dean Playground

According to plans for the B15 tower by Marvel Architects, excerpted at right, the entrance to the middle school will be along Sixth Avenue, about midway between Dean Street and Pacific Street.

Yes, there will be a gym, and some enclosed open space. (B15 will be known as 664 Pacific or 662 Pacific, or 37 Sixth.)

But where will those 812 middle-school students go after school?

Surely some will go to the nearest green space.

The existing Dean Playground--portrayed fractionally in the plans, at bottom--is just to the south, and includes a basketball court and athletic field, both of which can be reserved but otherwise would be open for use.

Pacific Park green space

More importantly, there will be a good amount of green space just to the north.

Consider the slide below, from the Request for Qualifications for Construction Management Services, for the platform. The open space, as I explained, will spread significantly toward Pacific Street, in part because towers B6 and B7 will be flush to…

Documents show design of two towers shifted toward Atlantic Avenue, given use of "bump" for residential cellars

The big news, as I reported, is that the first of two phases for the platform over the Vanderbilt Yard is expected to take three years. That's between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, and Sixth and Carlton Avenues, the western half of the railyard.

The second phase— again between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, then between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues—should prove more challenging. The columns will have to be erected in the midst of a seven-track railyard, in contrast with the western block, which has only a passageway track.

Moreover, that eastern block needs a full platform, while the western block does not require full coverage, given that those "bump" parcels will be used for residential cellars, as shown in the screenshot above.
How massing on western block has changed
The documents also show how the topography of the western block apparently has caused two towers to shift closer to Atlantic Avenue than previously contemplated, or portrayed.
The design of t…

Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation meeting Dec. 4 has been postponed

OK, the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 12/4/19, has been postponed to an unspecified later date.
No reason was provided. Sometimes the advisory group has trouble getting quorums, so it's possible one or two members have an issue.
Or, who knows, master developer Greenland Forest City Partners, or one of the other builders, may be preparing something, and it's not ready. Stay tuned.

Lawsuit: after signing 20-year lease in 1999 with 20-year renewal, McDonald's across from Atlantic Yards site faces huge rent hike because landlord would rather build tower

Landlord hits Brooklyn McDonald’s with super-sized rent increase, the New York Post reported in an article that went online in the evening Saturday, 11/30/19, based on a federal lawsuit filed 11/15/19.

The gist: while McDonalds at Vanderbilt and Atlantic avenues in Prospect Heights opened in 1999 with a 20-year lease, and an option to extend it for 20 more years, a new plan for high-rise development at the site, premised on a rezoning, has led the landlord to propose jacking up the rent, from a possible $16,000 or $23,333 to $90,000 a month.

McDonald's has gone to court to argue that the proposed rent is unfair, based on an inflated land value, rather than the current land value, which should reflect the current zoning, which is mostly M1-1 (manufacturing), and wouldn't allow high-rise residential.

But Atlantic Yards, announced in December 2003, would extend to Vanderbilt Avenue across the street. So the possibility of new development makes the owner/leaseholder of the McDonal…

Pacific Park middle school due by summer 2023, capacity 812 (up from 640). Above-ground bulk increased 34%?

As I reported in September, plans for the middle school at the B15 tower (37 Sixth Avenue, aka 664 or 662 Pacific Street) have changed significantly. At that point, the school, announced at 640 seats, was to have 800 seats, with no explanation regarding why.

Perhaps we'll learn more at the 12/4/19 meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, especially since--as I report below--the school has not just grown in capacity, to 812 seats and, apparently, one-third more bulk above ground.

New information: 812 seats

The School Construction Authority's (SCA) November 2019 Capital Plan (p. C8), excerpted below, suggests a January 2021 construction start, after excavation, and completion by June 2023, ready when the school year starts in September, late summer. It still lists a May 2015 start for design work.

Note that the capacity has increased not to 800 but 812, from 640, a nearly 27% increase. The total cost has marginally increased, to $126.18 million from $126.1…

The Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets, and three hospitals pursuing sponsorships

On the Barclays Center--um, Resorts World Casino NYC--plaza for the 10/23/19 opening game of the NBA season in Brooklyn, you could pick up some swag, a bag from Maimonides Medical Center, emblazoned "proud to be the Hometown Hospital of the Brooklyn Nets."

That reminded me: the Nets and the Barclays Center sure have a lot of hospitals.

It all started well before the arena opened in September 2012.

Official team hospital: As the Brooklyn Eagle reported in April 2012, "Maimonides Medical Center announced today that it has entered into a partnership with the Brooklyn Nets, and is now the NBA team’s official hospital and team physicians."

Official hometown hospital for arena: In June 2012, the Brooklyn Hospital Center announced it had "entered into an exciting partnership with Barclays Center as its official Hometown Hospital." In June 2013, it held a "'Slam Dunk' of a Fundraiser" at the arena, with a medal for Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne …