Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2020

Featured Post

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

"Pacific Park’s biggest tower to date tops out"--looking behind the press announcement

B4 nearly topped out Nov. 20 Photo: Norman Oder Pacific Park’s biggest tower to date tops out , Real Estate Weekly reported yesterday, based on a press release regarding the 511-foot tower at the northeast corner of the arena block--or, alternatively, the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Pacific street.  Most is from the press release (bottom). From Real Estate Weekly: Greenland Forest City Partners and The Brodsky Organization have topped off 18 Sixth Avenue in Brooklyn, the largest of the Pacific Park apartment towers on the 22-acre development rising over LIRR’s Atlantic Yards . The tower – known at parcel B4 – features 858 apartments, including 258 affordable units, and is expected to open next year. “The topping off of 18 Sixth Avenue is another major milestone for Pacific Park,” said Scott Solish, Executive Vice President of Development at Greenland Forest City Partners. “Pacific Park is a landmark project for Brooklyn and New York City, and the progress at 18 Sixth Avenue de

Brooklyn Nets season tips off at home Dec. 22, on national TV; with 48 positive tests in NBA and future risks, could season be in jeopardy?

The Brooklyn Nets, which will be playing their one pre-season game at Barclays Center on 12/13/20 , will start their season on 12/22/20 against the Golden State Warriors, as noted in the tweet below, and by NetsDaily .  Both that debut home game, as well as the Nets' Christmas Day game in Boston against the Boston Celtics, will be nationally televised, a reflection of the expected strength of a team with superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving back from injuries. The 2020-21 @NBA season begins in Brooklyn. Y'all ready? — Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 2, 2020 Pandemic questions The game is not open to fans, and presumably subject to safety protocols. That said, as CBS reported yesterday: The NBA tested 546 players for COVID-19 during the period from Nov. 24-30, and the results were not overly positive. Of those 546, 48 tested positive, the NBA and NBPA announced in a joint statement Wednesday. That is a positivity rate of 8.8 percent, b

No surprise: most recent quarterly cash receipts show dismal revenue for Barclays Center (but advertising's back)

In case you're wondering, the Barclays Center, shuttered since March, is still collecting some revenue from suiteholders and sponsors--revenue that will have to be reflected in future events and "make goods" --but it's drastically reduced, unsurprisingly, from when the arena was operating. Photo: Nov. 20 Perhaps that revenue is reflected in the arena's recent resumption of advertising at the oculus. Note that the only pre-season game at Barclays will be Dec. 13 , and the first regular-season game on Dec. 22 , both without fans. Here are the last three quarterly statements of cash receipts, as reported to the trustee for the arena bonds, starting with the first quarter of this calendar year, which is the third quarter of the fiscal year. Q3 FY 2020: $50.8 million Q4 FY 2020: $3.5 million Q1 FY 2021: $4.7 million

Schedule creep: now middle-school at B15 tower is due March 2024 (once Fall 2018, most recently September 2023)

The schedule creep continues, and the school gets further delayed. The 812-seat middle-school occupying the first six floors, plus below-ground space, at the B15 tower (664 Pacific St., 37 Sixth Ave.) is now due in March 2024, according to the School Construction Authority's recently updated November 2020 Capital Plan (p. C8), excerpted below. While no explanation is offered, the shift surely relates to the estimated interior construction start of July 2021, rather than January 2021, as most recently estimated. The builders of the tower construct only the core and shell. The new estimate suggests that the I.S. 653--called by backers  MS OneBrooklyn --won't open until the 2024-25 school year, a year later than the previous prediction of September 2023.  The under-construction residential portion of the tower is expected to be finished in 2022, with move-ins starting in late 2021. It will have 312 apartments, 94 of them designated affordable (income levels not yet announced). T

Looking back at Biden DHS nominee Mayorkas and EB-5 investor visas; he wasn't "guilty," but he alarmed colleagues, over-generously interpreted "job creation," and didn't get gerrymandering

So, President-Elect Joe Biden's nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, Cuban-American lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas, is under fire for his stewardship of the DHS component United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during the Obama administration, notably regarding EB-5 investor visas. My take: it's worth looking at the full story, which casts further clouds over EB-5, a program that makes few elected officials look good. I don't think this disqualifies him, but it should prompt questions. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) tweeted , "Alejandro Mayorkas was found by Barack Obama’s Inspector General to be guilty of selling Green Cards to Chinese nationals on behalf of rich, democratic donors. He is disqualified from leading the Department of Homeland Security." Yesterday, t he Brian Lehrer Show had Democratic insider John Podesta on the air, and the host brought up Cotton's tweet. "It's not true," said Podesta, who pivoted to poi

Downplayed at virtual community meeting: numerous reports from neighbors about how project construction disturbs sleep, work, and kids' schooling

There was good reason for the "solicitousness and evasiveness" from developers of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, as I described the 11/17/20 online Quality of Life meeting, which is supposed to respond to neighbors' concerns and questions about the project. Though it was barely mentioned at the meeting two weeks ago, those developers and state officials had received a spreadsheet of 17 reports from neighbors about loud, intrusive construction--some after-hours--that disturbs people's sleep and compromises their pandemic-constrained lives, including work and school from home. Most respondents live near the eastern end of the site, bordering where developer TF Cornerstone is building two residential towers, known as B12 (615 Dean) and B13 (595 Dean), on Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, with deep below-ground space for a Chelsea Piers fitness center and fieldhouse. That especially affects neighbors who live within the project itself, notably the "

Brooklyn Nets say first (and only) preseason home game will be Dec. 13

A 11/27/20  press release from the Brooklyn Nets: The Brooklyn Nets will open the 2020-21 season with a two-game preseason schedule highlighted by one game at Barclays Center.  The preseason schedule tips off on Sunday, Dec. 13, when Brooklyn hosts the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center. The Nets will then travel to Boston to face the Celtics on the road on Friday, Dec. 18.  Barclays Center will be following New York State guidelines to determine when fans can return to games. Current guidelines do not permit fans. The NBA, in a 11/27/20 press release , said: Each NBA team will play a minimum of two and a maximum of four games as part of the league’s 49-game preseason schedule. Every team will play at least one home game and one road game in the preseason. The national television schedule for preseason games will be announced at a later date.  The 2020-21 regular season will tip off on Tuesday, Dec. 22 and feature 72 games for each team. As previously announced, the regular-seas

A bounty for illegal parking? The controversial idea recurs--and it might have big impact near Barclays Center.

What if neighbors enforced Barclays Center-area parking violations, as I  wrote  in July 2019, reaping revenue from low-hanging fruit, since, on the night of a well-attended concert or special event at the Barclays Center, it's easy to find illegally parked or idling vehicles on the blocks in the radius of the arena. The post was spurred by a New York Times account of the possibility that residents of Washington, DC could help enforce parking laws--and the possibility that it could lead to vendettas, the failure to recognize extenuating circumstances, and racial profiling. That said, enforcement around the Barclays Center has always been a matter of political will, with the New York Police Department far more focused in crimefighting, even as the arena business model depends on non-enforcement. It seems to an implicit agreement, and understanding, that rigorous enforcement would be bad for business. Coming to Brooklyn? Well, now term-limited 33rd District Council Member Steve Levin

From the latest Construction Update: weekend track work Dec. 5-6; Saturday work (as of Dec. 5) extends to B12/B13 sites; despite announced hours, permits allow B4 work 5 am-10 pm, B15 til 10 pm

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, Nov. 30, was circulated Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 5:03 pm (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners. The intensity of work at the B12 & B13 sites (615 Dean and 595 Dean), which began with an unspecified (in the previous Update ) increase in trucks (later explained as up to 150 truck trips per day) over the past two weeks, continues, with now expected Saturday work starting Dec. 5. No hours were announced, but such work at other sites is 9 am - 5 pm, and no after-hours variance  is posted yet. That means continued noise and vibration for nearby neighbors stuck at home. That said, soldier pile installation  at the site, described as particularly noisy, has been completed. Meanwhile, as described below, the Construction Update continues to misleadingly under-describe the after-hours Variances (AHVs) available at the site--as

LIRR station for new Belmont arena on its way, thanks to upfront state funds from ESD

So, is the new Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station at Elmont, set to serve the new UBS Arena at Belmont Park, actually on its way? The answer seems to be yes, thanks significantly to upfront funding from Empire State Development, the state authority that oversees/shepherds the Belmont arena project. In July, NBC reported that this new station--the first new full-time LIRR Station to be built in more than four decades--was among projects that might not come to fruition, without significant aid to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from the federal government. (I cited this in a 11/15/20 post .) But the LIRR page regarding this new station  indicates that , as of September, work on the station has started, noting that "The south platform is scheduled to open in Autumn 2021"--in time for the 2021-22 hockey season, assuming the arena opens to spectators--"and the full station by the end of 2022." Financing issues According to the LIRR : Constructing the new fu

New 550 Clinton tower rising at northeast corner of Vanderbilt and Atlantic avenues; would be matched by B10 tower (if/when it's built)

It's unmistakable. A tall neighbor to the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park footprint, 550 Clinton Avenue, is more than halfway toward its 29-story height, steadily rising at the northeast corner of Atlantic Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue, ultimately stretching east to Clinton Avenue. Photo Nov. 20, 2020 At the center of my photo at right, taken from Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, the new rental tower is only about 14 stories, dwarfed in perspective by the closer 550 Vanderbilt Avenue condo building. The new tower will be 312 feet, while 550 Vanderbilt is some 202 feet, but add 40 feet for mechanicals . The tower will have its retail component along Atlantic to Clinton. Directly catercorner to the new tower is the future B10, at 313 feet , at the northeast corner of the Pacific Park site. But that requires a platform over the second block of the railyard, between Carlton and Vanderbilt, and the platform for the first block, between Sixth and Carlton avenues, hasn't

At 834 Pacific, just east of Vanderbilt (and Atlantic Yards), a new rental building with middle-income affordable units, most small (+ perplexing AMI)

834 Pacific (photos by Norman Oder); 550 Vanderbilt in background Barely half a block from the Atlantic Yards site, just east of Vanderbilt Avenue and the 550 Vanderbilt condo tower, rises a new residential building, six-story  834 Pacific Street . It offers  113 apartments , 34 of them affordable, or income-restricted, via the city's Housing Connect web site . That's 30% affordable, conforming to the Affordable New York program, at 130% of Area Median Income (AMI), though note below how incomes have stretched. The developer is the company Happy Living on a site leased from the  Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph , part of the Diocese of Brooklyn. (Two separate, presumably superseding, lease documents indicate $5 million.)  New four-story building (A four-story commercial or community facility building is being constructed by the Diocese east of the Co-Cathedral, at 860 Pacific Street. See image at left.) City Realty  says  the new residential site was formerly site for a rectory. Ac

At Barclays Center, the oculus is back blaring ads; replacement street furniture on plaza features digital, touch-screen signage

11/20/20 photos, Norman Oder A walk last Friday around the Barclays Center plaza showed that arena managers are getting ready for the new NBA season and the likely return of (some) fans, even as metal fencing protects the entrance area. First, the oculus has returned to showing advertisements, after months of broadcasting a quote fron Martin Luther King Jr., belatedly instituted after  more then a week of protests starting at the end of May, and more recently public-service announcements regarding such things as voting . From NY Daily News, 5/29/20 Second, three pieces of older "street furniture" used for wayfinding, in some cases damaged or marred by graffiti during protests, is being replaced by new digital signage, with touch screens for information, starting with the "Welcome to Barclays Center" below left.  For an example of the old signage, see the 5/29/20 New York  Daily News , screenshot at right, which shows both graffiti as well as a dislodged metal pa

EB-5 and the Nassau Coliseum: a new lease, and a reminder of deception

From Newsday 11/20/20, New Coliseum leaseholder gets break on rent : The new leaseholder, Nassau Live Center LLC, headed by Nick Mastroianni II, has not paid rent since taking over in August after Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov had shuttered the building and walked away from $100 million in debt. Mastroianni was next in line to take control of the lease because he had orchestrated the loan for the Coliseum’s 2015 renovation. Well, I'm pretty sure the 200 immigrant investors own the company holding the lease, but it's managed and controlled by Mastroianni, who runs the biggest and busiest "regional center"--a middleman loan packager for EB-5 investors--in the country.  Well, 200 immigrant investors offered the loan, but it's not clear why Mastroianni would take over the debt. He served as manager of the company offering the loan, and also runs the biggest and busiest "regional center"--a middleman loan packager for EB-5 investors--in the country. I

Barclays Center plans Thanksgiving-related events, but also looking to NBA restart

This is the fourth of four articles on the 11/17/20 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, held on Zoom by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project. The  first  focused on after-hours construction. The second  concerned the big open questions about the project. The third concerned local questions raised. Barclays Center representative Mandy Gutmann said that, with the arena events on pause, "our work continues in the community," including partnering with organizations like the Food Bank of New York  and City Harvest. They've helped feed about 30,000 people since April, Gutmann said, and that continues into next week. (Updated below.) Via DT Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance, office@ Rev. Daughtry's House of the Lord Church, most active remaining signatory of #AtlanticYards Community Benefits Agreement DBNA gives out arena tix 2community groups, was supposed 2arrange low-cost arena rent for groups (didn't