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Showing posts from November, 2020

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

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

College basketball tournaments planned for Barclays Center have been relocated

Well, NBA basketball is expected to start in December at the Barclays Center, without fans, but the three college tournaments scheduled have been relocated, saving teams from extensive travel. . @NCAA Proactively Alters Men’s Basketball Tournament Sites. The change affects the A-10 (East Regional) and @DaytonFlyers (First Four) — both were set to host in 2021 — Atlantic10Conference (@atlantic10) November 16, 2020 🚨 #MarchMadness Update 🚨 The 2021 NCAA Tournament will be held in one geographic area. 👉 — NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) November 16, 2020

Local questions at community meeting: street trees, bike racks, building management, MWBE count

This is the third 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 fourth concerned the Barclays Center. Attendees raised several specific questions, and got answers. There are two damaged street trees outside 535 Carlton Avenue and "a few" at 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, according to Greenland USA's Scott Solish, which co-developed the buildings. "Yes we are aware of them," he said. "Those are in the process of being replaced… you want to plant them at the right time." As to the messy condition of Atlantic Avenue outside the Vanderbilt Yard, he said "we discussed it with LIRR," which owns the railyard. "We have our building staff on the lookout… We are working, along with LIRR, to keep ev

No answers on timetable, affordability, platform timing, Site 5. But Greenland has not requested an extension of the 2025 affordable housing deadline.

This is the second 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 third concerned local questions. The fourth concerned the Barclays Center. Some of the big-picture questions about the project got, unsurprisingly, no real answers, though one additional clue emerged. We got no update on the plan to meet the requirement of 2,250 affordable housing units by May 31, 2025, which involves 877 units in at least three new buildings. However, Scott Solish of Greenland USA said the developer--which owns nearly all of Greenland Forest City Partners--has not raised the possibility of an extension or exemption with ESD. (I'd written that I wouldn't bet against such a move.) The platform and its towers   Regarding the platform over the first block of the Vanderbilt Yard, Solish said there was n

As neighbors express dismay about construction, developer claims hours are set by DOB. But builders gained after-hours variances, from 5 am-10 pm (exceeding what's been disclosed).

This is the first 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 second concerned the big open questions about the project. The third concerned local questions. The fourth concerned the Barclays Center. Unsurprisingly, there were few answers to the big questions around the project's fate, but there was solicitousness and evasiveness toward neighbors--working from home--experiencing construction noise and vibrations over very long days. "So we know that the construction noise is disruptive," said executive Amir Stein of TF Cornerstone, which is developing the B12 and B13 towers on Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, which are creating a very deep below-ground space to accommodate a fitness center and field house. No community resident was allowed to communicate with the attendees at large in these less-than

On Dean and Bergen streets, photos and videos suggest shifting context for proposed city housing; neighbors' group seeks "holistic review," as HPD offers new images

My annotation of HPD image What's the context in North Prospect Heights? Well, it varies considerably, depending where you look, and from what angle.  Four stories seems the plurality among older buildings, but some are underbuilt, at two stories, and others are outliers, rising nine stories.  Meanwhile, the nearby Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project, changes the scale completely. That, depending on your perspective, suggests that there's no reason to conserve context--or, alternatively, that this section of Prospect Heights has already absorbed its fair share.  Note that this section is not necessarily representative of the full neighborhood, which includes low-rise historic blocks to the southeast, as well as clusters of large apartment buildings near Grant Army Plaza and on Eastern Parkway. HPD's new plans North from Sixth Ave./Bergen St., 38 Sixth and (rising) 18 Sixth The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)  plans  two new permanently affordable ho