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Showing posts from June, 2020

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

As two Nets test positive, a "crisis" for the team and more worries for NBA's planned restart

Well, the Brooklyn Nets are on the back pages of the tabloids today, with the New York Post above the New York Daily News, at right, From the New York Post's Marc Berman last night : The Nets’ chances of missing the playoffs have increased as Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan have tested positive for COVID-19. Jordan ruled himself out of the Orlando restart while Dinwiddie left the door open. It all leaves the Nets in shambles as they look to fly to Orlando on July 7. If this sort of spread continues, it’s not too early to wonder whether the NBA’s elaborate Disney World-bubble plan will ever make it to the playoffs. From NetsDaily, under the headline NETS IN CRISIS: DEANDRE JORDAN BECOMES SECOND PLAYER TO TEST POSITIVE, OPTS OUT OF ‘BUBBLE’ : Under league rules, the Nets can add substitute players. After Wilson Chandler opted out of the “bubble” over the weekend, the Nets added Justin Anderson. Woj reported late Sunday, that sources told him the Nets plan to sign a subs

Barclays Center to host MTV Video Music Awards August 30, without audience; also, local performances in boroughs planned

Confirming a report first floated in Variety 5/28/20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his press conference yesterday, declared that the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Sunday, August 30. "The event will follow all safety guidance, including limited or no audience," a graphic stated. Later, the daily email from the Governor's office clarified, "The event will take place without an in-person audience." Still, it's unclear how many personnel will be needed to manage/operate the event, or how many performers/guests there will be. This will be the first event held at Barclays since it shuttered in March for the coronavirus pandemic. Surely, they need the money.  It will be interesting to see whether any protests will be continuing on the arena plaza. That said, it's possible that protests can proceed while the side entrance(s) and loading dock are used to make the vent go. "Extensive social

How about... the Jackie Robinson Arena at Barclays Center? Advocate Piccolo renews effort.

Screenshot from Arthur Piccolo's video What if… the Barclays Center Had Been the Jackie Robinson Arena? , I wrote June 4 for Bklyner, suggesting that we would not merely have honored the former Brooklyn Dodger as the first black man in major league baseball, but also would've had to reflect on Robinson's criticisms of American racism. Since then, longtime Brooklynite Arthur Piccolo, who years ago (as I wrote) quixotically proposed that the Brooklyn arena be named for Robinson, has renewed his cause in a new  video , embedded at bottom. It ends with a photo-shopped image of a Robinson statue with #blacklivesmatter protesters at the arena, Brooklyn's protest epicenter, invoking the gruesome police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The name Jackie Robinson Arena is appended to the arena oculus. (Screenshot at right) I had mused about a hybrid name, such as “The Jackie Robinson Center, Presented by Barclays” or even “The Barclays Center: Honoring Jackie Robi

From the latest Construction Update: excavation and foundation work expected to start at B12/B13

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, 6/29/20, was circulated Friday, 6/26/20 at 3:22 pm (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners. Judging from the text highlighted in in red in the document below, the only new work (compared with the previous update ) expected is excavation and foundation work for the B12 (615 Dean) and B13 (595 Dean) towers, as described at the recent Quality of Life meeting . That will occur after already-started fencing work is completed. Those two towers would have 798 rental units and, underground, a fitness center and fieldhouse. After-hours work--to enable social distancing, we learned--continues at both the B4 (18 Sixth) and B15 (37 Sixth) towers, until 7 pm daily and Saturdays 8 am to 5 pm. (Night and weekend work continues at the Vanderbilt Yard.) PPB Construction Alert 6 29 20 (PDF) PPB Construction Alert 6 29 2

Times on Newswalk condo: "The Atlantic Yards run behind the building, which will mean living with construction at some point." (Um...)

From the New York Times Real Estate section today, On the Market , "a one-bedroom, one-bath, architect-renovated, 1,107-square-foot, loft-style apartment" at 535 Dean Street in the Newswalk building. Pros include large rooms and closets, a renovated kitchen, proximity to subways, and shopping. Cons: "The Atlantic Yards run behind the building, which will mean living with construction at some point. The unit does not have a washer-dryer, but there is a hookup in the foyer closet." Well, credit the Times with more candor than the typical real-estate agent. Still, the article repeats a common error : Atlantic Yards is (was) the name of a project, not a place. Just to be clear, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard, the largest component of the 22-acre site dubbed Atlantic Yards, and renamed Pacific Park Brooklyn, is across the street. And yes, there should be construction of three towers on the western block of the railyard, and thre

Waiting for B5 tower: initial permit filing in May was disapproved by DOB, which is not unusual

As I reported 6/10/20, in May, Greenland Forest City Partners filed permits for the B5 tower (698 Atlantic Avenue), the first over the Vanderbilt Yard. But there's no date for construction, said Scott Solish of Greenland USA, indicating that the filing of permits "starts a lengthy review." Indeed, I took a look at the Department of Buildings page for the site (aka 700 Atlantic Avenue) and saw that the submitted plan was disapproved, and is presumably being revised. That's hardly unusual, but it does mean that the simple filing of a permit deserves context. This could take a while.

In Australia, a PPE-related coronavirus controversy for Greenland; in the United States, a quiet contributor to local help, in New York and elsewhere

Half a world away, Greenland Holdings Group (aka Greenland Group), the parent company of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park developer Greenland USA, was caught up in some coronavirus controversy, sourcing medical items to send to China. And here in the United States, Greenland USA was part of a much quieter effort to contribute locally. A scoop in March As reported 3/26/20 in the Sydney Morning Herald, Chinese-backed company's mission to source Australian medical supplies : As the coronavirus took hold in Wuhan earlier this year, staff from the Chinese government-backed global property giant Greenland Group were instructed to put their normal work on hold and source bulk supplies of essential medical items to ship back to China. A whistleblower from the company has told the Herald it was a worldwide Greenland effort - and the Sydney office was no different, sourcing bulk supplies of surgical masks, thermometers, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitisers, gloves and Panadol for shippin

Overnight work tomorrow at B4 site, at Sixth and Atlantic avenues, to install Con Edison vaults

Yesterday Empire State Development sent out a Construction Update Supplemental Notice regarding overnight work tomorrow at the B4 tower, at the northeast corner of the arena block, at Sixth and Atlantic Avenues. Tomorrow, at 3 pm, weekend and overnight work will commence to install Con Edison vaults on Atlantic Avenue. That will require the temporary closure of the pedestrian walkway flanking the site. At about 10 pm tomorrow, the eastbound lanes of Atlantic Avenue will be closed, and two-way traffic will shift to the westbound lanes to accommodate the crane necessary for the installation of the vaults. The vaults will be installed in the early morning of Saturday, June 27. Atlantic Avenue vehicular traffic will be restored by late Saturday morning, and pedestrian access on Atlantic Avenue will be restored by 9 pm Saturday. Flaggers will be in place at all times to direct vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

New clouds, notably Florida's pandemic problems, over announced NBA re-start

Florida’s Virus Spike Gives N.B.A. Players One More Reason to Hesitate , the New York Times columnist Marc Stein posted 6/22/20 and published yesterday: Since Tuesday night, when the league began distributing a 113-page guide of health and safety protocols to govern its planned restart of the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World next month, the rate of confirmed coronavirus cases in Orange County, Fla., has risen dramatically. Meanwhile, some players have announced they won't play, concerned about the pandemic. Others, note Stein, are concerned about diverting "momentum from the Black Lives Matter movement" or facing a higher risk of injuries, given the gap in practicing. Yesterday, as ESPN reported,  Lakers' Avery Bradley opts out of NBA restart, cites family concerns , given that one son "has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illnesses, and it's unlikely that he would have been medically cleared to enter the Orlando bubble with his

How did the split-season work for the Isles? The smaller Nassau Coliseum outdrew Barclays

So, how did the truncated split season for the New York Islanders work out? As my analysis below shows, though the Barclays Center is larger, in only two of 11 games in Brooklyn did the attendance exceed the capacity of the Nassau Coliseum, while attendance at the latter was higher overall. In Nassau, attendance averaged 12,863, or 97.5% of the 13,917 capacity. In Brooklyn, attendance averaged 12,695, or 80.4% of the 15,795 capacity. There were 28 home games scheduled for the Coliseum, the team's historic home, and 13 for the Barclays Center. Once the coronavirus pandemic stalled the season, 24 had been played in Nassau County and 11 in Brooklyn. If the Islanders were to make the playoffs, all games would've been held  in the smaller facility, closer to the fan base and preferred by the players. A more full arena makes for a better game experience--at least before the pandemic. (This was a switch from 2019, when With the new Belmont area under construction for at lea

Forest City, Skanska end bitter lawsuits over ill-fated Brooklyn modular tower; murky settlement years after developer claimed to have “cracked the code”

After five-and-a-half years of legal jousting over the ill-fated Brooklyn tower once said to revolutionize modular construction, Forest City Ratner Companies and Skanska USA Building in April agreed to settle their three lawsuits, state court records show . B2 under construction, 2015. Photo: Norman Oder The  confidential  settlement leaves murky the degrees of fault, and financial responsibility, for tens of millions of dollars in damages and losses over 461 Dean (B2), the first tower in the 15-tower project originally called Atlantic Yards. Launched in 2012 with ambitious, ultimately unfounded, claims about saving time and money, the 363-unit tower flanking the Barclays Center suffered leaks and delays before finally opening in 2016. Skanska, which served as general contractor for the building and also ran the jointly owned modular factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, blamed Forest City for inadequate design for the world’s tallest (as of then) modular tower. Forest City

Boxing writer: "steep price discounts and ticket giveaways" at Barclays & MSG already pointed to downturn; pandemic makes it worse

Boxing maven Thomas Hauser, in a 6/21/20 essay titled  Will Boxing Fans Come Back To The Arenas? , noted that, even before the coronavirus pandemic ended public events, fights around the country weren't selling well: Arum knows of what he speaks. When Tyson Fury fought Otto Wallin at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last year, there were more comps (3,898) than tickets sold (3,577). Recent fights at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center saw steep price discounts and ticket giveaways. Canelo Alvarez (boxing's biggest draw) fought his last two fights in Las Vegas with empty seats in the arena. Note: I haven't been following boxing closely, but when boxing debuted, then arena CEO Brett Yormark gave away 1,000 tickets but claimed "we did not comp." Going forward? Hauser thinks that attending future boxing matches will be a low priority for a public facing financial pressure, especially since it lacks the narrative of team sports. Moreover, he writes, "

Whither commercial real estate? Brookfield says tenants are paying; brokers say Brooklyn may beckon

Well, there may be a market for Brooklyn office space, but not--I'd still contend--a ground-up office building at Site 5 of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, not at least until there's a vaccine. Brian Kingston, CEO of Brookfield Property Partners, in a 6/18/20  interview  with The Real Deal, was asked if they were having trouble collecting rent from non-retail tenants: No. A lot of the other public office and multifamily companies have reported their rent collections are at normal levels, and that’s consistent with ours as well. Our office collections are exactly the same as last year, and multifamily is actually slightly higher than it was in 2019, so there are no issues there. That suggests that the company's MetroTech complex, built by and bought from Forest City Ratner/Forest City Retail Trust, is doing fine. That's plausible, given that larger tenants are financial or governmental entities, but there are also numerous smaller tenants, some of which may be strugg

In City & State's 2020 Law Power 100, a few recognizable names with Atlantic Yards ties

OK, I'm catching up with City & State NY's 2020 Law Power 100, "Recognizing New York’s 100 Most Politically Powerful Lawyers," published in March. There are a few Atlantic Yards ties. At the top of the list is state Attorney General Letitia James , the first black woman in the office: Since taking office, James has already had a huge impact on the state. She has worked with other attorneys general on multistate litigation on a range of issues, including holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for deaths from opioid use and protecting access to birth control and abortion. Just last month, she began an investigation into the New York City Police Department to determine if officers discriminate against communities of color in arresting fare-beaters. She also is probing the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, even though it’s chaired by an ally, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker. A year into her tenure, she told City & State, “Fir

From Bklyner: Has Brooklyn Paramount Theatre Renovation Been Permanently Delayed?

I have an article today in Bklyner,  Has Brooklyn Paramount Theatre Renovation Been Permanently Delayed?  Here's the start: Nassau Coliseum, owned by the county and operated by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s company Onexim, is closing indefinitely in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Onexim is seeking new investors to take over operations and pay off the building’s renovation debt, New York Post reported earlier this week . The decision signals another retreat by Prokhorov, who once operated the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, from his one-time goal of becoming a venue magnate. It also raises questions about Prokhorov’s renovation of Long Island University’s Brooklyn Paramount Theatre in Downtown Brooklyn, which was announced in 2015 but has been delayed multiple times since. For the rest of the article, go to Bklyner .

More doubt about the Nassau Coliseum's future; the Islanders look forward

Newsday last night clarified that, beyond paying at least $4.4 million in rent, the operator of the Nassau Coliseum last year paid a total of $6.32 million, including utilities and entertainment taxes. Onexim Sports and Entertainment, according to the article, is expected to ultimately pay the county unpaid rent from February, March and April. It's perplexing to me: yes, the Coliseum doesn't have revenues, but Onexim, owned by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, has the money. Building on his previous quote , Republican County Legislator Richard Nicolello, the legislature's  presiding officer, expressed doubt about the future of the Coliseum, given the expected compltion of the new Belmont arena, with the New York Islanders as anchor tenant. "You’re going to have a competing arena 15 miles away … ," Nicolello said. "Hopefully, they’ll find somebody to run it, but it’s kind of questionable at this point." More on the Isles When the current season re

Will 2020-21 NBA season have fans in the seats? Despite doubts from players, Nets seek ticket renewals, ask fans about potential protocols

Leaders of the NBA Players Association, as reported by CBS Sports 6/13/20, believe "no fans will be permitted into games for the entire 2020-21 season." That, of course, could change if a vaccine or treatment or more authoritative venue protocols arrive. Note that the Brooklyn Nets--surely along with other teams--are proceeding as if they do expect fans. Joe Tsai offering season ticket holders an incentive to renew for next season , NetsDaily reported 6/11/20: According to an email sent out last week, the Nets will offer a full refund on the remaining nine games of the 2019-20 season or an opportunity to roll over the value of the lost games into next season. To make the second option more attractive, Tsai has agreed to provide a 20 percent bonus on the cost of the rollover. That season--with the injured stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving finally playing together for the first time--wouldn't start until December at best. As NetsDaily noted, a poll of more than 1

Prokhorov decides to shutter Nassau Coliseum, leaves Islanders in limbo (back to Brooklyn next season?)

Upending the future of the New York Islanders (and Long Island Nets ), the Nassau Coliseum, already mothballed because of the coronavirus pandemic, will close indefinitely as arena operator Onexim Sports and Entertainment, which leases the building from Nassau County, has decided to get out of the business. Onexim--owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who formerly owned the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center operating company--is seeking new investors to operate the arena and assume the $100 million debt left over from the $180 million  (or $165 million ) renovation launched by Barclays developer Bruce Ratner and Prokhorov. The EB-5 promotion Note that $100 million in debt  [update: originally reported as $90 million] is owed to EB-5 investors , who offered low-interest loans in exchange for green cards, and that total investment was once said to cost $260 million. Note that there's often a five-year term before repayment is required, and no announcement

The Times covers the Barclays Center as protest epicenter

How a Once-Loathed Brooklyn Arena Became a Protest Epicenter , the New York Times's Andy Newman offers today. Though it covers some of the same ground as my article for Bklyner last week, it's not a ripoff, but I wish that some of my skepticism would've gotten translated to the Times. Notably, it gives Joe Tsai, who owns the arena operating company, more slack than he deserves, given his very calibrated performance, and quotes Bruce Ratner, the arena developer, as saying “I’m very happy that it has been a place where people can congregate and hopefully going forward a place where people feel comfortable and safe." That's total b.s., given that the arena security guards easily ejected peaceful people from the plaza, like, um, my tour . "The operators of @barclayscenter have taken the protests as an opportunity to change the messaging on the screen above the plaza." Only after they faced criticism for the discordant ads. My somewhat more skeptic