Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 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)

Re Nassau Coliseum, "Florida-based developer Nick Mastroianni II has [NOT] assumed the lease" (updated/clarified)

Lou Lamoriello says Islanders 'definitely' playing at Nassau Coliseum for 2020-21 season , Newsday reported yesterday, quoting the team's general manager, who said it may take until January 2021, rather than re-start sooner. While the under-construction UBS Arena at Belmont Park is on track for the 2021-22 season, the Islanders have faced question marks since Mikhail Prokhorov, former operator of the publicly owned Coliseum, announced he would walk away, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and, presumably, the new competition. That left the lease in the hand of the debt holders, 200 immigrant investors who put up $100 million for renovations under the federal government's EB-5 program, which offers visas in exchange for low-interest loans that purportedly create jobs. "Florida-based developer Nick Mastroianni II has assumed the lease but no new deal has been reached with a company to operate the arena long term," Newsday wrote. Lamoriello's words suggest

OK, so SHoP principals are back with a new modular manufacturing effort, invoking Barclays Center and even B2 (!)

After 18+ months of stealth mode - building a platform, designing systems, doing architecture & engineering, hiring teammates, testing & prototyping, consulting advisors, assembling a supply chain - we're finally pulling the curtain back on Assembly OSM. — Assembly OSM (@AssemblyOSM) September 28, 2020 Note that the tweet, and the "exclusive" fed to the hungry-for-innovation Fast Company, feature the Barclays Center, though the building, in the main, is not primarily an example of manufacturing-based construction. Rather, the innovative facade is what qualifies. The article, headlines  Why one architecture firm is looking at planes to construct buildings of the future , states: It’s this manufacturing-based approach that [Chris] Sharples wants to bring to the world of architecture. That’s why he and his architect brother and twin, Bill, have launched Assembly , a new company that is streamlining the development of high-rise apartment buil

Yes, there's a back story to the Resorts World Casino NYC Plaza at Barclays Center

Yes, there's a back story to the plaza where protests have coalesced . When @BarclaysCenter debuted in 2012, it was the Daily News Plaza. It became the Resorts World Casino NYC Plaza in 2015 Stay tuned4 how keeping the "public plaza" mayB used 2justify the shift of 1M sf (unbuilt tower) across Flatbush — Norman Oder (@AYReport) September 26, 2020 That plan for #AtlanticYards @pacificparkbk Site 5 (Modell's/P.C. Richard site) has been percolating since 2015-16 That said, there's no market now for a ground-up office tower, and the eminent domain effort hit a snag — Norman Oder (@AYReport) September 26, 2020

A departure from the (unsettled) Nassau Coliseum: the programming chief

It was little more than a year ago, 9/11/19, when Pollstar reported  Nick Vaerewyck P romoted At NYCB Live, Home Of The Nassau Memorial Coliseum : In the latest move among the family of BSE Global venues, Nick Vaerewyck has been named SVP of Programming and Business Operations at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the venue announced Sept. 10. In this role, Vaerewyck will oversee programming, marketing, sales, and communications for the Long Island, New York venue. Vaerewyck previously served as VP of Programming ahead of Nassau Coliseum’s reopening in 2017. Prior to that, as Senior Director of Programming, he managed the venue’s programming calendar, including concerts, sports events, family shows, and Exhibition Hall bookings. Before joining Nassau Coliseum, Vaerewyck spent a decade at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz., where he managed more than 130 sports, concert, and family events annually. Well, things change, especially since BSE Global, soon p

A January 2021 start to next NBA season? If so, would fans go to the Barclays Center?

NBA commissioner Adam Silver explains when 2021 season could begin , SNY reported 9/22/2020. It won't be Christmas, previously the "earliest" estimate. His "best guess," for now, is January, and with a full 82-game season, but who knows. “And further, the goal would be to play games in home arenas in front of fans, but there’s still a lot that we need to learn in terms of rapid testing for example. Would that be a means of getting fans into our buildings, will there be other protections?” Silver told CNN's Bob Costas. For now, of course, no large gatherings are possible in New York City, but the Barclays Center has been surveying fans to see what procedures would make them feel safe. Would it be possible to let in a smaller crowd, say 25% or 30% of capacity? Stay tuned. From NetsDaily's summary : One suggestion rumbling around the league is that NBA games could start again around Martin Luther King weekend in the middle of January. MLK Day next year is J

My op-ed for City Limits: "Stop Echoing Industry City’s Bogus Math on Jobs"

From my op-ed for City Limits yesterday, Stop Echoing Industry City’s Bogus Math on Jobs :  After the proposed rezoning of the Industry City complex in Sunset Park was withdrawn, some framed it as a blow to employment. “Progressives Defeat Brooklyn Project That Promised 20,000 Jobs,”  proclaimed  a New York Times headline, distorted into “the prospect of 20,000 new jobs” in a Times  newsletter . Sure, “20,000 jobs” sounds appealing, especially in these parlous economic times. But that claim deserves scrutiny, not deference. That calculation—based on pre-COVID estimates, of course—was dubious for two big reasons, only one of which was aired at the recent City Council hearing on the proposed rezoning. First, it referred to cumulative jobs, not new ones. Second, it stretched to include purportedly related jobs off-site. Yet they called it "A Plan for 20,000 Jobs." Not 20K *new* jobs, as claimed by supporters and too often repeated in the press. — Norma

A big Breonna Taylor-related protest last night started, in large part, at the Barclays Center

From the New York Times today : Anger over Breonna Taylor’s killing and the prosecutors’ handling of the case has spread far from Louisville, with protests on Wednesday night drawing crowds in cities around the nation. Some rallies, like those in Portland, Maine , and Memphis , were small but vocal, while protests in Seattle and Portland, Ore., were effectively declared riots after demonstrators set fires and threw explosives at the police. Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of New York, including a group in Brooklyn that met outside the Barclays Center and swelled to around 2,000 people as it marched across the Manhattan Bridge and shut down traffic. Below, a sampling of tweets.  WATCH: Protesters gather outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn — The Hill (@thehill) September 24, 2020 Considering tax dollars built Barclays Center, it’s satisfying to see the people use it for demonstrations. — Uthman (Wear a mask!) (@JediMarcoNYC) Septemb

In City & State's new Brooklyn Power 50, Nets owner Tsai at #20; no one from Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park listed

Of course lists of "most powerful" people are arbitrary, but they set a general benchmark, so it's worth a look at City & State’s Brooklyn Power 50 , which "recognizes the executives, advocates, health care officials and others who are moving the borough forward." Notably, and debatably, Jed Walentas, CEO, Two Trees Management--owner of much of DUMBO and developer of the Domino complex and, likely, other Williamsburg sites--is listed as #1, far ahead of any other developer.  Doug Steiner, Chair of Steiner Studios, was #16, while Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City, was #18. (Given that the Industry City rezoning has been pulled , that ranking might look different now.) Also, Carlo Scissura, President and CEO, New York Building Congress, was #11, while David Ehrenberg, President and CEO, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., was #13. Intriguingly, the lesser-known but surely powerful Frank Carone, Executive Partner, Abrams Fensterman, counsel to the Brooklyn

From MLK to RBG: using the Barclays Center oculus for civic purposes

From the New York Times, 9/20/20, The Nation Lost a Titan. Brooklyn Lost a Native Daughter. At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the display board posted her encouragement: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” From a Chicago Tribune  Commentary: Ruth Bader Ginsburg practiced anti-cancel culture , 9/21/20, by Jonathan Zimmerman: In 2015, at a Harvard University luncheon held in her honor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked what advice she would give young women today. “Fight for things you care about,” Ginsburg replied, “but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” The quote appeared in full over the weekend on the display board of the Barclays Center, in the heart of Ginsburg’s native Brooklyn, New York, following her death on Friday . But if you go onto the internet to explore the endless array of RBG-themed tchotchkes — mugs, T-shirts and even face masks — you’ll find that many of them omit the second part of her commen

From the latest Construction Update: incremental changes at construction sites

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, 9/21/20, was circulated Friday, 9/18/20 at 12:46 pm (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners. There's virtually no change from the previous update , including after-hours work at the B4 (18 Sixth Ave.) and B15 (37 Sixth Ave., 662-664 Pacific St.) sites until 7 pm on weekdays and Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm. In fact, there is nothing in red to indicate new work. A few small changes However, there are a few small changes, not marked. At the Long Island Rail Road yard, not only has site demobilization been completed, but also punch-list closeout will continue (which indicates it apparently had started). At the B4 tower, it no longer says that utility work is ongoing. At the B12 and B13 sites (615 Dean St., 595 Dean St.), along with continued excavation and foundation work, soil removal work, and delivery of oversized equi

TRD interviews pioneering real-estate reporter Charles Bagli (but not about Atlantic Yards)

It's worth reading a couple of Real Deal interviews, by Hiten Samtani, with the now-retired real estate reporter Charles Bagli, who made his bones at the "no sacred cows" New York Observer, then went to the New York Times. Bagli has not been replaced, which means the Times has lost institutional memory. Also, his coverage of Atlantic Yards, I'd note, was highly inconsistent, sometimes with scoops , too often channeling the developer's narrative , yet also belatedly tough on developer Bruce Ranter. (That didn't come up in the interviews.) There's lots of good stuff in the interviews, but I'll point to only a few excerpts. Part 1: Setting the frame From  Scoundrels of the skyline: Charles Bagli on the most colorful characters in the real estate biz , published 8/12/20: “As a former Catholic boy, I make a distinction between sins of omission and sins of commission,” he would tell the likes of Harry Helmsley, Donald Trump and Harry Macklowe, de

Given examples elsewhere, might Barclays Center suites and private spaces get used while the arena's not open?

With a community proposal to use the Barclays Center for public school uses and an agreed-on NBA plan to use arenas, including Barclays , for voting-- the atrium , at least--it's worth a look at an 8/24/20 Sportico article, SOFI STADIUM BUSINESS SUITES HINT AT THE FUTURE OF MULTI-USE BUILDINGS : As teams get more creative selling access to their increasingly expensive stadiums, SoFi Stadium [in Los Angeles] is uniquely promoting a benefit for its suite owners: year-round access to their luxury boxes. In a rare if not unprecedented offer for a major American sporting venue, mentions holding business meetings and private parties as potential off-day uses for their boxes, which can come with “365-day access to SoFi Stadium.”  Perhaps more on point is access at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoneix, where "Suns global partner PayPal has special access to its corner box even when the building is empty, where it has created a so-called 'innovation center.'&qu

The presentation from the Sept. 15 Quality of Life Meeting

Following up on my coverage of the 9/15/20 Quality of Life meeting, there's not too much to add from this presentation. It does show current photos of the two rising towers, B4 (18 Sixth Avenue) and B15 (37 Sixth Avenue, 662-664 Pacific Street), and, as I noted, an outdated map of the project.  I have the presentation opening to page 6-7 of 10, showing the map and the B4 tower. Quality of Life Meeting Presentation Sept 15, 2020 (PDF) Quality of Life Meeting Presentation Sept 15, 2020 (Text)

Belmont arena principals: Coliseum "past expiration date" before renovation; nearly 200 events expected; NHL-quality ice-making

A few choice quotes/details in the 9/16/20 Long Island Herald article,  Construction continues on Belmont arena, one year after groundbreaking : “We’re taking the best features of Nassau Coliseum” while improving on the aspects that fans didn’t like about the “old Barn,” Jon Ledecky, co-owner of the team, said in an interview with the Herald after the second period of Sunday’s NHL playoff game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, adding that the Coliseum was “past its expiration date” by the mid-1990s. The implication: even after the Coliseum renovation, it wasn't good enough. The design includes more  lower bowl seats, more women’s restrooms, and bars facing the ice.  How many events? Also: The arena will also host more than 150 events a year, and Irving Azoff, chairman of the Azoff Company, which represents recording artists, said in July that he expected it to draw musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Billie Eilish and Billy Joel.  That implies a total of some 195 events a year, inc

Quality of Life meeting: no news on platform timing, B5 start, affordability; incremental updates otherwise, including tower progress

The  big question marks  over the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project remain unanswered, after last night’s low-key bi-monthly Quality of Life (virtual) meeting, which lasted little more than a half hour and attracted just 25 participants at its peak. B15, at left, is topped out; B4 should reach the height of the crane Scott Solish, representing master developer Greenland Forest City Partners, said they had no updates on plans for B5, the first tower to be built over the railyard. A permit application was sought in May but not approved by the Department of Buildings (DOB). “We continue to work on the design of the building” and review it with DOB, Solish said. Asked about whether the platform over the first of two railyard blocks would start in 2020, as once promised , and whether a contractor has been signed, Solish said they had no “formal news” on the contractor. That choice of language could mean they have gotten closer to a contract, or just could just have been cagey. Progress a

Does underinformed de Blasio really want MSG, Barclays Center to pay more in taxes? Who knows, but he's right that sports franchises in NYC have "gained incredible value"

De Blasio wants Madison Square Garden, other sports venues to pay more taxes , the New York Post reported yesterday, as did FoxBusiness, in De Blasio says Madison Square Garden, other NYC sports venues should pay more taxes . However, as WBAI producer Jillian Jonas, who raised the question during the mayor's press conference yesterday, commented when she circulated the exchange via email, "Pretty certain the answer is no." After all, the famously underinformed mayor said that, since he hadn't seen the 9/3/20 letter circulated by nine Council Members raising the issue, he was speaking "broadly," without knowledge of the legal specifics. Still, de Blasio's surely right that sports franchises have "gained incredible value," and part of that relates to their location in the world's media capital, so there's a good case--as was made by Slate after Mikhail Prokhorov sold the Brooklyn Nets to Joe Tsai--that some of that value increase

Study: Brooklyn Nets' fanbase (slightly) more diverse than any other in major league sports; Islanders (and hockey), not so much

"[T]he Brooklyn Nets have the most racially diverse fan base of any major U.S. sports team" and the NBA overall has the most diverse fan base, the data analysis company Morning Consult reported 9/10/20, in  Demographic Data Shows Which Major Sports Fan Bases Are Most Likely to Support or Reject Social Justice Advocacy  ( h/t  NetsDaily) The study focused on those with a “very favorable” view of a team: The NBA has by far the most racially diverse and left-leaning U.S. fan base of the four top team sports, according to the Brand Intelligence data: 54 percent of fans of the average NBA team are nonwhite and 42 percent identify as Democratic. The league is also widely regarded as a leader in leadership-backed athlete advocacy, and has leaned further into the fight against racial inequality than the other three leagues — actions that are largely supported by its fan base. Interestingly, while "NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum said fan demographics are not a facto

Barclays Center, "an epicenter" of action, "was totally appropriated for the protests"

There's a long and interesting essay-plus-photos in the 9/10/20 Urban Omnibus, You’re Not Going to Tell Me When to Go Home , with an interview by urban designer Oscar Oliver-Didier. The summary: What happened on the ground during the June 2020 protests in New York City? Below, John Xavier Acosta [JXA], an anti-racist movement and protest leader, and architect and protest photographer Gabriel Hernández Solano [GHS] document the month’s events verbally and visually. Gabriel created diagrams that not only help explain how these protests and occupations unfolded in place, but also serve as a visual record of police brutality, and as a catalogue of the diverse and evolving roles of protesters to claim public space. We have also included some of the photographs taken at the events he attended. GHS observed that "During the first week, the protests were fueled purely by emotion. Everything was running organically on this rage." and that "The knee on George Floyd’s neck was

A dispute over infrastructure costs halts (for now) Long Island City project; city may have less leverage with developers

De Blasio recedes from development agenda as pandemic response consumes City Hall , Politico's Sally Goldenberg reported yesterday, highlighting a project in Long Island City for the former Amazon campus dubbed (a bit disingenuously, to me) YourLIC : Negotiations with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s team were inching along, and the developers had hoped to begin a public review process after the summer. But tensions flared when City Hall demanded they cover all infrastructure costs, including off-site investments developers contended were not their responsibility. After administration officials informed the group on a Zoom call in June that they would have to pay $75 million to relocate a municipal building on the site, talks fell apart, according to several sources involved in the negotiations. On Thursday the administration officially announced its opposition to the proposal . Deputy Mayor Vicki Been had a different take: As for the recent Long Island City dispute, she said the develo

Nassau Coliseum pitched to be downsized into "Radio City" for Nassau; Belmont arena developers disclose "roughly" 50 suites

Last month, as reported  in Newsday, Tim Leiweke of the Oak View Group--operator of the UBS Arena--suggested that the Nassau Coliseum could be, in the paper's paraphrase, "a Long Island version of Manhattan’s Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall or the Beacon Theatre." Those are all accessible by subway, with capacity below 6,000. The NYCB Live  website  states, "The Coliseum offers 14,500 seats for basketball, MMA and boxing, 13,900 for hockey, up to 15,000 for concerts, and 4,500 seats for its theater configuration." So that's essentially writing off the Coliseum--which was recently renovated and downsized--as a large venue, and emphasizing its curtained-off version. This week that proposal solidified, as Newsday reported 9/8/2020,  Nassau Coliseum would become music venue under new partnership : The owners of the Islanders are partnering with Oak View Group on its proposal to downsize the Nassau Coliseum into a music theate

So the Brooklyn Nets' new coach, Steve Nash, "won" his press conference, but the pressure will build

Well, the Brooklyn Nets this week introduced new coach Steve Nash, a Hall of Fame point guard, and he got mostly high marks, but the pressure will be on for him to deliver wins and advance toward a championship. Why the Nets wanted Steve Nash to coach Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving , wrote ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski: Most of all, [GM Sean] Marks hired Nash because he believed he could construct genuine relationships away from the gym, construct a culture. Everyone talks about it, but few do it. The Nets built one culture with Marks and Kenny Atkinson, the young draft picks and spare-part veterans who elevated the franchise to profound respectability around the NBA. This is a different owner and different stars and a different burden. There is extraordinary talent on these Nets, and extraordinary challenges to harness it. Nash has a reputation as one of the gatherers of people. That will be tested here.  ...As immortal talents go, Nash's story is unique. In the sport's h

With vague agenda for Tuesday's Quality of Life meeting, will we learn more about platform plans, affordability levels?

Empire State Development this week circulated the (typically vague) agenda for the next virtual Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life Meeting, set for 6 pm on Tuesday, September 15. The agenda indicates presentations from/regarding: Empire State Development (ESD) Atlantic Yards Community Development Corp. Barclays Center Greenland Forest City Partners (GLFC) As noted, attendees will be able to submit questions and comments to presenters via the virtual platform’s chat feature or via email to Issues and updates Presumably we'll learn about progress at the construction sites for B4 (18 Sixth Ave.) and B15 (37 Sixth Ave.), as well as the belated start (when, exactly?) at the B12/B13 sites (615 Dean St. and 595 Dean St.). When will we learn about the expected affordability of the units? After all, "affordable" does not mean low-cost, especially if most of the units are geared for households at 130% of Area Median Inco