Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2020

Featured Post

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

In win for P.C. Richard, judge orders state to refrain from condemnation while related case is pending. Judge finds ESD "not credible."

A new court ruling adds a further complication to the long-delayed plan to build a giant two-tower project at Site 5, long home to P.C. Richard and Modell's (though the latter is closing ). In a win for retailer P.C. Richard, hoping to stay at Site 5 catercorner to the Barclays Center and gain a replacement store at a future project there, a state Supreme Court judge has agreed to stay a state condemnation action while a separate, related case proceeds. In that related case, P.C. Richard last year won the initial round; a judge ordered that original developer Forest City Ratner was required to deliver replacement space in the yet-unbuilt successor building at Site 5. That case is currently on appeal. Site 5 was approved for a 250-foot single tower but, since no "Miss Brooklyn" tower was built at what's now the arena plaza, the project developer has since 2015 aimed to move that unused bulk across the street for a much larger project, nearing 800 feet tall, whic

After being shuttered and facing lease transfer, Nassau Coliseum loses naming rights partner

Given the managerial and financial gyrations of the Nassau Coliseum, as well as its murky future, it's not surprising that it lost its naming rights partner. The name NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum is no more , Newsday reported 8/27/20. (As of today, the website is still live, as shown in the screenshot below.) From the article: New York Community Bank is exiting its long-term naming rights agreement because of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the 77-acre property, with a new arena operating company taking over, NYCB officials said Thursday. Nassau County last week struck a deal with the Florida businessman who helped finance the Coliseum’s renovation to immediately take over the lease, after Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov shuttered operations in June. NYCB officials said the new leaseholder, Jupiter, Fla.-based Nick Mastroianni II, agreed to let the bank leave the naming rights agreement early. Mastroianni could not be reached immediately for comment

Next Quality of Life Meeting 6 pm, Sept. 15

A message from Empire State Development: The next Atlantic Yards Project Quality of Life Meeting will be held at 6 pm on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. Those interested may send Project related questions and suggested agenda items to --- Atlantic Yards Project – Quality of Life Meeting Tuesday, September 15, 2020 @ 6 pm Via Zoom Virtual Conferencing Dial In: +16465588656,,92119546062# Meeting ID: 921 195 46062 I'll write about some potential issues and agenda items at a later date.

NBA, players announce plan (without $) for social justice coalition, promotion of civic engagement, and voting at arenas (Barclays not yet on board)

After a dramatic, impromptu two-day strike , the NBA will return today, with a preliminary plan--albeit without a budget behind it--to go farther than #blacklivesmatter slogans on the court/jerseys and a ten-year, $300 million fund. It strikes me as a not unreasonable outcome, given the forces at hand, including a mix of owners with different political philosophies, and an imperative to not cause league/team/player losses. It's surely less than a lot of the players would have liked, but has moved the needle more than any other sports league. Indeed, Nation columnist Dave Zirin thinks its significant: And lastly, they now have remarkable leverage to use their platform, go back out on strike, do whatever they feel like they need to do. The situation is on a knife’s edge. Folks shouldn’t act like this story has been written. NFL is next.... (3/3) — Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) August 29, 2020 The statement NBA, NBPA issue joint statement on social justice and racial equality

Modell's Sporting Goods, including store across from Barclays Center, in last days, with liquidation sale

Modell's Sporting Goods has been in bankruptcy since winter and, according to its web site , all stores close Sunday, including that at Site 5 across Flatbush Avenue from the Barclays Center, also bounded by Pacific Street, Fourth Avenue, and Atlantic Avenue. Photos taking in the past week show signs indicating "up to 90% off" and "final days," with not just goods but fixtures for sale. Note that the closure may not be precisely Sunday, since a visitor was told it could be early next week. The liquidation sale that started in March was once supposed to take up to seven weeks, but obviously took longer. Modell's, operating since the early 1990s at what was officially called "The Shops at Atlantic Center" (and dubbed Site 5 because of the location in the Atlantic Terminal Urban Renewal Area) surely expected that its location across from the arena would drive purchases of sports goods and apparel. Presumably it did, but also faced competition

The NBA is back, recognizing the players' partial leverage; questions continue about owners' role

A day after an impromptu NBA strike --triggered by the Milwaukee Bucks after a police shooting in Kenosha, near their home site, and spreading to other leagues--players voted to resume the season, albeit with questions about the endgame. Wrote Shaun Powell on this morning: A hectic 24 hours that included, in no specific order: A Bucks walkout, Michael Jordan, heated debates, the resounding voice of Doc Rivers, political demands, the NBA Board of Governors, reform demands, Zoom calls and a conclusive desire to finish what was started, all resulted in an about-face and overnight second thoughts that put the NBA playoffs back in play . The players who pressed pause on the season didn’t get everything they wanted -- improbable, considering the justice system doesn’t move so swiftly -- but enough to convince them that returning to basketball and the platform afforded to them at the Walt Disney World campus made the most sense. And here we are, with the restart of the restart s

With teams striking for racial justice, the NBA at a crossroads, with more pressure on team owners; league's $300M pledge is $1M/team over ten years

NY Daily News front It's unprecedented, as the Nation's Dave Zirin wrote last night, in  The Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers Strike for Racial Justice : This is without precedent in the history of sports: The Milwaukee Bucks, arguably the best team in the NBA, have gone on strike, refusing to leave the locker room for game five of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic. Their decision stopped the sports world on a dime, and shortly after the news, the Milwaukee Brewers announced that the team would also skip tonight’s MLB game. The Brewers and Bucks are refusing to play in solidarity with the demand for justice for Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back seven times over the weekend by police in nearby Kenosha. That led to cancelling the other NBA games yesterday, and a ripple effect throughout professional sports. NY Post back Wrote Zirin: These are not the first athletes in history to point out the gap between how Black athletes are loved on the field and how

No, Philly Inquirer, the Barclays Center is not "about 15 acres." Not even close.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/26/20, The Sixers are targeting Penn’s Landing for a potential new basketball arena : Harris Steinberg, who led a committee 12 years ago that helped envision what is now the waterfront’s master plan, said the Sixers’ proposal could work “if it actually contributed to the urban fabric.” But Steinberg, now executive director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University, said he was skeptical the arena would leave public space around it to create an accessible, public waterfront. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., is about 15 acres, he noted. The site the Sixers are seeking has less than 8 acres available for development. If the arena took up the entire space, he said, “they need to go back to the drawing board. This is public space and it’s designed that way in perpetuity.” Hold on. The Barclays Center isn't "about 15 acres." The overall Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project, with space for 16 towers along with

The mystery persists: how many suites does the new Islanders' arena have? (and how could one-third have been sold in the "last two weeks"?)

Ticket Demand Booming for New York Islanders' Inaugural Season at UBS Arena at Belmont Park , stated a press release 8/25/20:  The New York Islanders Hockey Club has seen ticket demand skyrocket over the last month. Last week was the all-time record for Islanders season ticket sales, driven by the team's first round series win and by the recent launch of UBS Arena at Belmont Park. Only 20 percent of season tickets remain available for the inaugural 2021-22 NHL season. ...The Islanders also expect to be sold out of premium inventory by early next year. UBS Arena at Belmont Park has sold more than one-third of its suite inventory in the last two weeks. (Emphasis added) I asked the team's p.r. contact a simple question: how many suites are there? I didn't get an answer. Why such lack of candor? My guess is that the number of suites is fewer than once anticipated-- perhaps because of cost, perhaps because of the desire to maintain flexibility. So, while it sounds

For the Brooklyn Nets, next season will be the big one

A depleted Brooklyn Nets team made the playoffs in the Disney World "bubble" and competed--but couldn't overcome the superior Toronto Raptors, who swept them in four games. Now, as ESPN's Jackie MacMullen wrote 8/23/20 NBA playoffs: A new challenge awaits Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets . In other words, next season is the one that counts, when Irving returns, Durant finally plays, and significant role players are back. Some of them, like Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert, might even be franchise cornerstones elsewhere, or be traded for someone with a flashier resume. MacMullen writes: Make no mistake, KD and Kyrie are on the clock. The success or failure of this franchise, which is firmly on a championship-or-bust path, will fall squarely on their shoulders. Beyond the question of roster assemblage, another question looms: will interim coach Jacque Vaughn return, or will the Nets recruit a big name? Questions of player health and te

Was the Barclays Center "Bloomberg's biggest contribution" to the landscape? Nope.

Just a reminder that the @barclayscenter plaza was a complete accident, as I wrote for @bklyner Bloomberg admin championed #FrankGehry design, which buried #AtlanticYards arena in towers (project was approved by NYS, not NYC) — Norman Oder (@AYReport) June 29, 2020 About that crossroads Missing piece is fixing Flatbush & Atlantic. Barclays is the center & magnet because it’s the crossroads of the Bk subway system. But it’s *also* a crossroads of the streets system. We just need to convert those streets from dangerous highways to something safer & more inclusive — Adam Forman (@LeoniaBatlan) June 28, 2020 That awaits, and will become complicated not just by the existing challenges specifically at Atlantic and Flatbush, but by the potential/future construction of towers at Site 5, catercorner from the arena, bordering that crossroads. Beyond that, the ongoing construction and expected opening of the B4 tower (18 S

Dubious: a 550 Vanderbilt one-bedroom is on Craigslist for $1,380, well below market.

There's got to be a catch: a one-bedroom apartment in a luxury condo building renting for $1,380, which is well below market rate for even a creaky building in a less-than-great neighborhood?  Well, for the past week, there's been a direct-from-owner ad for a one-bedroom at 550 Vanderbilt claiming to seek rent for $1,380. And it's on Craiglist , not exactly the source of highest-quality listings. (Is it a typo? A roommate situation?) Even at $2,380 it would be well below market, since the least expensive one-bedroom available, according to StreetEasy , is $3,100 per month. The unit, purported to be 1,026 square feet, is accompanied by copy cribbed from previous promotional language for the building, for example recounting amenities--fitness center, children's playroom--that may not be available during the pandemic. Oh, and there is no attached garage, despite that claim.

From the latest Construction Update: concrete superstructure done at B15; crane removal next weekend, along with closure of Sixth Avenue and Pacific Street

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, 8/24/20, was circulated Friday, 8/21/20 at 5:25 pm (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners. B4 at right, B15 at left According to the document, the concrete superstructure program is complete at B15 (37 Sixth Avenue, 662-64 Pacific Street). The 51-story B4 (18 Sixth Avenue) is expected to top out in December. Next weekend will involve removal of the crane: Friday 8-28-20: Midnight – 6 AM: Construction Fence Relocation Saturday 8-29-20: 7 AM – 9 AM: Crane Dismantling Sunday 8-30-20: 7 AM – 5 AM: Crane Removal from Site Sunday 8-30-20: 5 PM – Midnight: Construction Fence Relocation For the full weekend from 12:01 AM Saturday through 10 PM on Sunday, Sixth Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street, as well as Pacific Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues will be closed. Work starting on southeast bl

As Greenland rises in annual rankings, its credit rating gets shakier, from investment-grade to junk

Greenland Holding Group, whose subsidiary Greenland USA is the master developer of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project. has risen steadily in the annual Fortune Global 500 ranking and Forbes Global 2000 ranking, suggesting a general wave of good news. But there's also reason for wariness about aggressively expansive Chinese real estate companies that have expended aggressively abroad, like Greenland. In August 2019, the Wall Street Journal's Mike Bird recommended selling Greenland stock. WSJ , Aug. 21 2020 He noted that, while Greenland has cut debt in half, from a stratospheric figure, it has doubled "unearned revenues," which refers to properties bought by customers but not yet delivered. As far as I can tell, the company's debt level--which Bird said "has halved to 188% of equity at the end of 2018, from an eye-watering 377% of equity in the third quarter of 2016"--has rebounded to more than 400% of equity. Note that the Wall Street

In Forbes Global 2000 ranking, Greenland Holding Group rises to 307, from 320; a ranking today would be higher, given recent jump in stock price

Greenland Holding Group (aka Greenland Holdings Group) has risen recently in Forbes magazine's Global 2000 listing, reaching 307 this year, from 320 in 2019 and 341 in 2018. The latter was a setback from  326 in 2017, and 323 in 2016. Forbes bases its ranking on four broad metrics: a composite score assessing sales (revenue), profits, assets and market value. By contrast, the better-known Fortune ranking of 176, noted yesterday , is based solely on revenue in the past fiscal year. (Neither ratings addressed issues of debt, which shadow ratings agencies' more tempered views of the company, as I'll write tomorrow.) Had Forbes ranked Greenland only by sales, it would have reached 158, higher than the Fortune designation. The difference relies, at least in part, on different time periods for calculation. Rising market value And if Forbes did its math today, given that Greenland's market value had risen significantly since the magazine's 5/12/20 calculati