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Showing posts from 2021

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

With Harden debut, Nets dominate back pages; meanwhile, another protest outside, while LED screen (though not oculus) offers MLK quote

OK, this will be my last Brooklyn Nets post for now, but let's note that the debut of star guard James Harden, who hadn't practiced with the team, went very well, with a couple of asterisks.  As the Daily News put it, The James Harden-Kevin Durant Nets look unguardable , and the New York Post put it,  James Harden does it all in winning Nets debut . That dominated the tabloids' back pages. From the Daily News: Harden recorded the first-ever Nets debut triple double and the first-ever 30-point triple double in a team debut in NBA history. He saw players open before they did, pushed the tempo like he used to under Mike D’Antoni in Houston, was pragmatic about his shot selection, and left his mark all over the tie-dye court with 32 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds on the night. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant scored 42 points and shooter Joe Harris scored 17.  And that was without star guard Kyrie Irving, who is also unguardable, though could raise complications.  The challenges for

The business upside of the Nets' Harden trade: new placements for ads, and new rates

Yup, it's a business. As Sportico reported yesterday, in  HARDEN TRADE PROMPTS YES NETWORK, NETS TO LAUNCH VIRTUAL ADS ON COURT , the Brooklyn Nets' dramatic , not-without- risk addition of superstar James Harden may cost draft picks and higher salaries, but comes with an upside: Because of pinched budgets during the pandemic, the NBA is allowing broadcasts this season to include virtual ads on the court during games. The Nets and their TV partner, YES Network , originally decided to hold off on selling that space. On Thursday, 24 hours after the team acquired Harden in a blockbuster trade , the two sides reversed course. In a few weeks, advertising partners will have placement on the court during home and away games. The trade “definitely pushed us quicker to the table,” said Howard Levinson, YES Network’s senior vice president of ad sales. “We were trying to develop a market for it, and now we feel like with this trade, the market will be there.” As Sportico reported, adverti

OK, the Nets mortgaged the future because... it's a business, of course.

Well, the Brooklyn Nets' blockbuster trade for start shooting guard James Harden, creating a superteam at significant sacrifice, continued to generate much discussion and buzz yesterday after General Manager Sean Marks addressed the media , leaving many commentators with more optimism than not. As the New York Times distilled it:  With James Harden, the Nets now have an elite trio of ball-dominant playmakers. Yet there are key differences in how Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving thrive that could allow this grand experiment to work. The New York Post's Brian Lewis addressed an obvious question: Q: GM Sean Marks said in November he wouldn’t mortgage the future, but here we are. Why were they willing to make the deal now? A: The need was greater for both Brooklyn and Houston. While Marks can say this had nothing to do with Irving’s personal issues, Harden provides the most expensive insurance policy in NBA history against Irving getting hurt, going AWOL or being dealt. And after

Nets gain superstar guard Harden from Houston, pay heavy price; superteam may be justified only by a title, but should continue to wrest attention from Knicks

In another remarkable--albeit risky--move, the Brooklyn Nets yesterday became even more of a superteam, adding Houston Rockets superstar James Harden, who'd agitated to leave, in exchange for a heavy price: three solid young players, including budding stars Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, and a trove of draft assets: three unprotected first-round picks, plus four opportunities to swap draft positions. That lifted the Nets into the NBA's likely second slot, behind the defending champs Los Angeles Lakers, according to betting odds , though pundits said the trade would be justified only by a title.  It should further cement the Nets--who last night beat the long-struggling New York Knicks with forward Kevin Durant as their only star on the court--as the city's dominant team, thus narrowing the Knicks' long advantage in revenue, sponsorships, viewers, and value.  And if it delivers a championship to the Nets, who began playing in Brooklyn in September 2012, it's anoth

School Construction Authority update: middle-school located in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park tower due to open in September 2024 (not March). Once slated for 2018.

I reported last month that the 812-seat middle-school occupying the first six floors, plus below-ground space, at the B15 tower--just across Sixth Avenue from the Barclays Center--was as of then due in March 2024, according to the School Construction Authority (SCA).  And that suggested that I.S. 653--called by backers MS OneBrooklyn --wouldn't open until the 2024-25 school year, a year later than the previous prediction of September 2023.   Ineed, in a presentation last night to the Community Education Council of District 13, the SCA's Tamar Smith said that the school had been pushed back a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Her slide, excerpted above, indicated that the school would be occupied by September 2024. That's approximately three years after when the first residents of the rental apartment tower might move in. The completion of the school might thus be disruptive to those living above noisy construction. New address: 491 Dean Street? Smith's slides als

Layoffs (unquantified) at Barclays Center, among "Brooklyn Boxing" staff promoting a niche sport

In NYFights 1/7/21, columnist Michael Woods, wrote  Pandemic, Social Upheaval Spur Changes At Barclays Center, But Brooklyn Boxing Will Survive: On Tuesday, word dropped that layoffs hit at Barclays Center, and that included someone who rode the wave of Brooklyn Boxing from the get go, Joseph DiMitri of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. “The end of an era…Yesterday, I along with many other of my closest colleagues were let go by Barclays Center. After 8 1/2 dedicated years, I will not be able to finish…what was started,” the 37 year old sales ace shared on social. “Prior to the stoppage in March, Brooklyn Boxing was set to have another big year to host some of the biggest fights in the game. All I can say is a big ‘thank you’ to my great clients, family and friends who have loyally supported throughout the years. I hope we all can stay in contact as I seek my next venture and hope to announce it soon.” It's unclear how many workers were laid off. (DiMitri told Woods that Barclays did the rig

From the latest Construction Update: overnight track work for three nights over next two weekends means light towers "minimizing" impact on neighbors. Again, after-hours work misleadingly minimized

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, Jan. 11 (today), was circulated Friday at 2:58 pm (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners.  The news, compared to the previous Update , is that potentially disruptive track work planned for the two blocks of the Vanderbilt Yard, both this weekend and next, starting 9 pm Friday January 15 and January 22, and finishing by 4 am Monday January 18 and January 25, respectively.  The work "may require the use of portable light towers," according to the notice. "The light towers will be positioned to illuminate only the work zone in the Yard thereby minimizing impact to the surrounding community." Note that the track record for such work is that the lighting does not necessarily minimize impact but penetrates people's homes.  The reason for such work is not stated. Is this the final completion of the n

Barclays Center gets "Personal Growth Prize" from critics for hosting protests. I'd call it strategic accommodation.

The architecture critics Mark Lamster and Alexandra Lange, in their 12/28/20 round-up, Mask Up! It’s the 2020 Architecture and Design Awards , offered: Personal Growth Prize: To Barclays Center, long a symbol of everything that’s bad about the way things get built in New York City, serving as a central Brooklyn meeting spot for weeks of Black Lives Matter protests. PS: And now KD is balling. Well, that link, unsurprisingly, goes to the New York Times article that came after--but didn't mention--my more skeptical essay in Bklyner on Brooklyn's Accidental New Town Square . The Times wrote, for example: The operators of the arena have taken the protests as an opportunity to change the messaging on the screen above the plaza. Gone is the rotating menu of ads for Geico insurance and JetBlue airlines and Dumbo Moving and Storage. In its place is a quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The time is always right to do what is right.” I wrote, with more context: For days, th

Owner says pandemic will change tenant mix at Atlantic Center/Terminal malls, again touts more food and beverage across from Barclays Center

From Chain Store Age, 1/6/21,  5Qs for Ronald Dickerman on urban retail, post-pandemic , and interview with the head of Madison International Realty, which in late 2017 bought the remaining share the Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls in Brooklyn: Your company purchased Forest City’s New York retail portfolio in New York City just a few years ago. Have your strategic plans for it been altered by the pandemic? Yes and no. Stores were closed by government mandate. We couldn’t insist on tenants paying rent. There were a lot of discussions of forbearance and forgiveness. But the pandemic has also has provided us with a platform to increase our curb appeal. We’re letting some tenants leave and are creating a tenant mix that’s more exciting for our customers. Take Barclays Center. On a typical day before COVID, two million people a year passed through that site, yet across the street they barely found any food and beverage opportunities. So the pandemic has created an environment t

BSE Global, parent of Nets/arena, hires Michael Wandell as Chief Commercial Officer.

Catching up from last month, a 12/14/20 press release from the parent company of the Barclays Center,  BSE GLOBAL HIRES LONGTIME INDUSTRY VETERAN MICHAEL WANDELL AS CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER : BROOKLYN – John Abbamondi, CEO of BSE Global, which owns the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center and supports the management of the New York Liberty, has announced the hiring of Michael Wandell as Chief Commercial Officer. As Chief Commercial Officer, Wandell will lead marketing and revenue generation across all BSE Global properties, including the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. He will be responsible for the development and growth of BSE Global’s ticket sales, corporate hospitality and global marketing partnerships businesses, as well as the long-term brand strategy for the company. “I am thrilled to welcome Michael to the BSE Global family,” said Abbamondi. “I had the opportunity to work with Michael during our time together at the NBA league office, where he was instrumental in developing gro

Barclays Center messaging: as anti-Trump protest gathers on (fanless) game night, arena oculus blares "Unity," avoids MLK quote about action

With hundreds of protesters gathering last night at the Barclays Center plaza shortly before a fanless home Brooklyn Nets game to call for the removal of President Trump, arena operators faced their first test of the tension between operating a commercial venue and a privately managed but  "appropriated" public space. And they passed, sort of, though the bar was low. "Yet again, the jumbotron operator is obliged to kind of engage with history," wrote Seth Pollack on Twitter, noting the word "UNITY" in the digital signage of the oculus, instead of the typical advertising. Then again, that struck me as more cautious than reinstating the Martin Luther King Jr. quote--"The time is always right to do what is right"--that was belatedly installed last June after some ten days of #blacklivesmatter protests.  After all, the latter quote, however gnomic for the time, today implies more action--support for cabinet action via the 25th Amendment, or impea

In latest six-month look-ahead, developer hedged, telling state officials it may start first phase of platform (key to new towers) over railyard this year

Last August, I reported that Greenland USA, the almost exclusive owner of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park going forward, had three months earlier told representatives of New York State that construction of the long-awaited platform over the first block of the Vanderbilt Yard, necessary for the construction of three towers, "will commence" in the second half of the year. While that statement--in a required six-month look-ahead submitted to Empire State Development, the state authority that oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards--was far more specific than recent public comments, it wasn't necessarily a guarantee and, indeed, no such construction began. Now they're hedging. In the subsequent six-month look-ahead, dated 11/20/20, Greenland USA's Scott Solish stated that that "Platform (Block 1120) Platform construction may commence during the reporting period. (See excerpt below.) I received the document after a Freedom of Information Law request. Some three weeks later

550 Vanderbilt: no payment for "Pacific Park" open space; yes, Maisonette address was officially amended to Dean Street

A couple of amendments filed last year to the Offering Statement of the 550 Vanderbilt condominium offer some clues about the project. The "park" is stalled From notes to Financial Statements for 2019 and 2018: Conservancy/Shared Park Maintenance The Condominium was built to be a part of the Pacific Park neighborhood project, that joins a few neighboring properties. As part of the initial budget, the Condominium was asked to pay approximately $145,000 towards its share of the maintenance of Pacific Park. As of December 31, 2017, that amount was accrued as a liability in anticipation of the completion of the project. No amount has been accrued for 2018 or 2019 as the project has not been completed and the Condominium’s share of expenses has not been assessed. Indeed, "Pacific Park"--if defined as the finished open space that will straddle the demapped Pacific Street between six towers--may not arrive until 2035, if ever.  Otherwise, the fractional open space west of

B4 & B15 said to be finished in October & July, but questions remain about affordability, lease-up, impact of ongoing school construction

In  8 Major NYC Projects Set To Deliver In 2021 , Bisnow yesterday reported that 18 Sixth Ave. (B4) is "set to be complete by October" and 662 Pacific St. (B14) should be complete by July. B4, built by Greenland Forest City Partners with The Brodsky Organization, will have about 860 units, 258 of the income-linked or "affordable." B15, developed by Brodsky, will have 312 apartments, 94 of them "affordable." Both are being built by AECOM Tishman. What's unclear is the level of affordability--all middle-income, or will one third of the income-linked units be low-income? Also unclear is how long the lease-up will take--it's unlikely the larger building would fill up quickly in "normal" times, and now it's a renters' market during the pandemic. Another question: if the middle-school at B15 is not due until March 2024, as I reported last month, what's the impact of school construction on residential life at the building?

Big discounts on Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park apartments, including three months free for some "affordable" rentals, because of pandemic effect on renewals

Both market-rate and middle-income "affordable" units at Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park are being offered with deep discounts--up to three months free on a one-year lease--as operators of residential towers find it's a renters' market during the pandemic. At 461 Dean At 461 Dean Street, the first of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park towers, there are discounts to attract market-rate tenants, but not yet for the building's (50%) affordable units. According to StreetEasy , the five studio apartments are available with three months free, resulting in a net effective rent for the cheapest at $1,785 , well below the official $2,155 rent for studios citywide under the city's Affordable New York program, at 130% of Area Median Income, or AMI.  And it's well below the $1,996 rent set for the most expensive "affordable" studios when the building was leased up in in 2016. That said, surely the owners would hope for lease renewal at the official $2,380/month.

Report: Nassau Coliseum might get short-term concert bump as pandemic winds down, but (duh) future's not bright

A 12/31/20 article from Newsday , Coliseum will host more concerts in '21, but recovery may lag , study says, suggests that the beleaguered Long Island arena would see a boost in concerts after crowds return after the pandemic winds down, given backed-up bookings at larger venues. But that short-term gain likely won't be permanent, according to the consultants, Camoin Associates and RMG SportsVentures, hired by the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency to assess the county-owned Coliseum, its future deeply jeopardized by the new Belmont arena. I haven't seen the 13-page report, but the conclusion seems fairly simple--one that might have been reached in a phone call or two. (Local activist Tammie Williams made a similar point, contending that the consultant was paid "to read and summarize in a 13-page doc the lawsuit and its supplemental docs filed by the community." Newsday reported that this is the first of potentially four reports, costing $68,000.) Famil

Nets coach Steve Nash buys townhouse in Cobble Hill

New Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash must be feeling confident about his four-year contract , or maybe the market to buy houses in reasonable proximity to the Barclays Center is better than the market to rent them. The New York Post reported 12/15/20,  Nets coach Steve Nash dunks $5M into Brooklyn townhouse , identified as Amity Street in Cobble Hill, That's about a mile away from the arena: a brisk walk or a short ride. (Note: Nash, a Hall of Fame point guard, wasn't much of a dunker.) According to the article, he paid $4.99 million for a house--five-bedroom, 4½-bathroom, 4,200 square feet--that in 2019 was asking $6.49 million. Brownstoner reported that Nash "scoops up"--a better verb--the townhouse for $4.995 million, a testament to renovation work and a booming market:  It was one of several row houses owned by Long Island College Hospital and used for medical offices that developer Fortis offloaded as part of its controversial development of the LICH medical compl

Next (virtual) Quality of Life meeting set for Jan. 26; meeting schedule set for 2021

This past week, Empire State Development sent a message announcing that the next Atlantic Yards Project Quality of Life Meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, at 6 pm. (The meetings are typically bi-monthly; the most recent meeting was on 11/17/20.) Project-related questions and suggested agenda items may be sent to . I'll have a preview article shortly before the meeting. Among the issues, surely, will be those lingering from last year : the plans for the platform and next towers; any movement on Site 5; the impact of disruptive and after-hours construction. Like the other such bi-monthly meetings during the pandemic, it will be held virtually. So far, it's been particularly nontransparent, with only the presenters visible, and a one-way chat from attendees to presenters, which limits follow-up questions. Dial In: +16465588656,,94576141104# Meeting ID: 945 7614 1104 The 2021 meeting schedule Meetings in 2021 a

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park in 2021: question marks (still) regarding project timeline, Site 5, affordability, accountability (plus arena re-opening)

So much of what I wrote in my 2020 preview , published a year ago, holds true today, albeit in slightly different context. (Here's my 2020 retrospective , published yesterday.) Yes, there should be continued progress in construction--the B4 (18 Sixth) and B15 (662-664 Pacific) towers will be finished, in stages, with perhaps some residents moving in, though the school at the latter tower has been delayed until March 2024, at least. The B12/B13 (615 Dean & 595 Dean) towers have started, and the most burdensome construction--noisy digging--is supposed to end early this year. The developers' desire to complete all of those buildings has led to after-hours work, disrupting people who work from home and have their kids attend school from home. It's another sign that overseers prioritize project progress. But question marks still persist about the project's overall contours and fate, given a delayed plan--albeit closer than before, it seems--to start the crucial platform