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Showing posts from July, 2021

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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)

The pandemic is shifting what tenants want from office space, which some say is good for Brooklyn. Though it doesn't point to the Site 5 project.

Landlord commentary can of course be self-serving, but do note Bisnow's 7/30/21 report, Brooklyn Office Market Could Benefit From Pandemic Shifts In Demand : Tenants are currently looking for shorter lease terms, coworking space in the building and something of an experience when they come into work, according to speakers on an office panel during Bisnow’s Brooklyn’s Rally To Reopen event on Thursday. “It feels like we live now in the year 2035 … working from home used to be 5%, now it’s 30%,” said Matthias Hollwich , founder of architecture firm HWKN . “The future is, we have to offer experiences to people to work for our companies … that's changing everything in the way we think about these buildings.” Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, design has shifted away from focusing primarily on efficiency to focusing on quality, amenity and location, he said. And in addition to space, tenants want events, concerts and ways to connect the public with their workplaces. That said, only

Barclays Center August 2021 calendar: five NY Liberty games, five days of auditions for dance/pep squads

The Barclays Center yesterday released the August clandar, which includes five ticketed events, all WNBA New York Liberty games, one of which, on Friday, Aug. 20, will feature amplified sound on the plaza before/around the 5 pm starting time. Other events include: a mysterious "private event" the afternoon of Aug. 7 free-admission to the atrium on Aug. 8-9, in two stretches, for a student art project inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat three days of auditions for the Brooklynettes dance squad one day of auditions for Brooklyn Nets Kids one day of auditions for the pep squad Team Hype

AY down the memory hole: No, Barclays Center wasn't built on 22 acres, and eminent domain was not pursued by NYC (it was NYS)

Like a game of telephone, facts recede and Atlantic Yards falls down the memory hole. So maybe it seems like quibbling, but it's worth getting right. From the Commercial Observer yesterday, Bill Would Require NYC to Be Notified of Certain Vacant Property Sales : Kallos added that the legislation might help the city use eminent domain to build more important public projects, like schools, rather than projects like Brooklyn’s Barclays Center , which was built on 22 acres of land taken through eminent domain , CBS reported. But, using eminent domain is a last resort, he added. “I’m hoping this legislation will remind folks that the city, though [it] can speak softly, still carries a big stick,” he said. “The City of New York used eminent domain to build Barclays Center and to basically remove an entire city neighborhood, but we don’t use eminent domain to build schools. That seems strange to me. My hope is that this legislation will really put the screws to the city and make sure that

ProPublica explains how billionaire sports team owners get tax write-offs. The same applies to arena operators (Hello, Brooklyn). A tax benefit for below-market naming rights?

ProPublica's 7/8/21 article,  The Billionaire Playbook: How Sports Owners Use Their Teams to Avoid Millions in Taxes , doesn't mention the Brooklyn Nets, but it's relevant to all major league sports teams, and should help put into perspective the seeming generosity of team owners like the Nets' Joe Tsai.  And it also should help us reframe understanding of the Barclays Center's financial results, because, even when the arena has been (somewhat) profitable, it has had significant paper losses, which help save on taxes for the owner of the arena operating company.  I have tended to ignore those losses because they don't address whether the arena was meeting its financial metrics--which are crucial to the bond rating, never quite "junk," at least not until after two rounds of financing . But those "paper" losses have a very important real world impact and should count as a major giveaway. Team values leap First, let's look at the astronishin

In "sensitive time" for Tsai, a pricey NYC condo purchase, notable new philanthropy, and more criticism for his reflexive defense of China

Joe Tsai, the billionaire Alibaba mogul, owner of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center operating company, has been in the news lately. A lot. CNBC recently reported  Billionaire Joe Tsai is the ‘mystery buyer’ behind $157 million Manhattan apartment deal , buying "two full-floor condo apartments at 220 Central Park South in two transactions totaling $157.5 million, say people close to the transaction."  It's the third most expensive home ever sold in the United States, and vaults Tsai well past former Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in terms of flashy spending. Monthly maintenance costs exceed $23,000, according to the New York Post . From CNBC: The purchase comes at a sensitive time for Tsai and Alibaba. Alibaba shares have fallen by a third since October, and Chinese authorities are cracking down on the country’s big tech companies to curb their power and data reach. Tsai’s fellow Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has largely retreated from public life after he criticized Chines

On Aug. 8-9, Barclays Center opens doors for students' Basquiat-inspired art exhibit, funded by Tsai Foundation

Basquiat-inspired art show hosted by Barclays Center , the Brooklyn Daily Eagle told us yesterday, lightly revising (via "Staff") a press release (bottom) from the arena. (Update: here's coverage from BK Reader,  Brooklyn Students to Hold Basquiat Inspired Art Show at Barclays Center .) Indeed, in an unusual opening of arena doors to the public, the show, "featuring 150 pieces created by Brooklyn middle and high school students, inspired by Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat," will be open in the Geico Atrium free on Sunday, Aug. 8 and Monday, Aug. 9 from 11 a.m.-2 pm and 4-7 pm. (Of course, the atrium sponsor gets a plug, as does the arena sponsor.) Here's the website for The Basquiat Project, which contains examples of the students' impressive work, samples below.  The work comes from a two-month Basquiat educational arts program developed in partnership between the Brooklyn Nets, the New York City Department of Education, and the Fund for Publ

The Nets build their image with a smartphone donation, but have a "Kremlin-esque wall" around more dubious practices

One thing Matt Sullivan's new book, Can't Knock The Hustle , reminds us of, is how the Brooklyn Nets managed to build their image--for example, helping  spread the myth  that Jay-Z designed the logo--via smoke and mirrors. In another recent interview, as shown in the clip below, the Nets also don't share some more dubious practices, part of letting superstars like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have their way. "There's a lot of things that the Nets do that aren't kosher," Sullivan says. "There's a reason they have this kind of Kremlin-esque wall around everything they do. During the middle of Covid, they were working out half the team—well, really Kyrie, KD, and their friends on the team, out in Kobe's [Bryant] old gym in California. You weren't allowed to do that during Covid, you had to have all these strict protocols..." "But they were running like a secret camp the whole time, trying to get KD and Kyrie in shape and, fro

Author of new book on the Nets: "there's a lot of smoke and mirrors" (like claiming Jay-Z as logo designer)

As I wrote in October 2017, author Rafi Kohan pointed out, "Jay-Z has been widely credited for the team's color scheme, although Gregg Pasquarelli tells me his firm, SHoP Architects, first pushed the idea." That was plausible, as with the team logo. Remember how the Nets credited Jay-Z, but, as NetsDaily  discovered  back in April 2012, another designer did the real work. And now here's an update, from Matt Sullivan, author of the very interesting new book Can't Knock the Hustle: Inside the Season of Protest, Pandemic, and Progress with the Brooklyn Nets' Superstars of Tomorrow . (I'll have a review of the book one of these days--there's a  lot more than discussed in this post, and there are a few things I think are missing.) In the interview below, Sullivan explains how tastemaker (and micro-fractional owner) Jay-Z was brought in to convince NBA brass to accept the Nets' black-and-white color scheme, seen as perhaps not colorful enough to work o

With first of the 80 Flatbush towers starting, a new name, Alloy Block, but still no transparency about delayed timetable

Alloy Development, new rendering So, on 7/19/21, Crain's New York Business offered Exclusive: Alloy Development lands $240M to start construction on 80 Flatbush , a project that set a controversial precedent for increased density at the edges of previously rezoned Downtown Brooklyn. It's the first of the two new towers (100 Flatbush) in the project previously presented as 80 Flatbush, now renamed Alloy Block, bounded by Flatbush and Third Avenues, and Schermerhorn and State Streets. Here's the new website . (So that's a little like renaming Atlantic Yards... Ratnerville? Well, the new name pushes aside previous search results.) Actually, 100 Flatbush will now be the retail address, while the residential will be 505 State Street. (Quick, what's 560 State Street ?) Note that the new rendering, like the previous one (below), suggests that the first tower, 44 stories and 480 feet, is a bit narrower than as depicted on the project website (bottom). How do such exclusive

Mayor-in-waiting Adams' Inner Circle includes power lawyer Carone and Rev. Daughtry, both with Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park connections

Well, now that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is the Democratic mayoral nominee and presumptive next mayor for at least four and likely eight years--mayors rarely lose re-election--we'll be hearing more about who he listens to. And as with Bill de Blasio's "Circle of Power"  (circa 2013!) there's something of an Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park connection. From the New York Times today,  Meet Eric Adams’s Inner Circle , we get: Frank Carone, prominent lawyer and Adams confidant Mr. Carone, a longtime counsel to the Brooklyn Democratic Party with a reputation as an old-school power broker, has been an ally of Mr. de Blasio’s. He is politically influential, though some of his dealings over the years have drawn scrutiny. He has been a key donor, adviser and friend to Mr. Adams — Mr. Adams has worked out of office space belonging to Mr. Carone’s firm, an arrangement that Mr. Adams had to account for during the campaign. Well, the Politico article linked was a bit

Middle-school still scheduled for March 2024 completion, assuming construction starts this month. Keep watch.

So, now that we know there's no news on the timing for the project's crucial platform, what about progress on I.S. 653 (aka MS One Brooklyn), the 812-seat middle-school occupying the first six floors, plus below-ground space, at the B15 tower (662 Pacific St.), with the address 491 Dean Street or 37 Sixth Avenue? I reported last December that the school was due in March 2024, according to the School Construction Authority's recently updated November 2020 Capital Plan and noted that the delay from 2023 surely related to the estimated interior construction start of July 2021, rather than January 2021, as most previously estimated. (The builders of the tower construct only the core and shell.) Indeed, the SCA's latest (February 2021)  Capital Plan  similarly states that construction was expected to start this month.   It hasn't been announced, so keep watch for any schedule creep. That said, a delay on a March 2024 completion should leave some wiggle room for a fall

Latest six-month look-ahead maintains fuzzy prediction: "Platform construction may commence." B15 tower ("Plank Road") somewhat delayed?

Well, there's no update yet regarding the next key stage of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park: whether and when the platform over the Vanderbilt Yard, to be constructed in two stages and support three towers each, will be built. That platform is crucial to the project's affordable housing obligations, as well as the future open space. The latest iteration of the required six-month look-ahead (bottom) required of master Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park developer Greenland Forest City Partners, again--as in  November 2020 --says that "Platform construction may commence during the reporting period." The workforce would average 50 to 100 workers. (I received the document, dated 5/1/21, from Empire State Development, which oversees/shepherds the project, after a Freedom of Information Law request.) In May 2020 , the document stated, with unreliable certainty, that the construction "will commence." At a public meeting 12/10/20, Greenland USA's Scott Solish said that, w

Welcome to "Brooklyn Crossing," new branding for 18 Sixth Ave., avoiding mention of Pacific Park. Yes, "affordable" = "middle-income." A 1-BR for $2,838 (or less)?

The 858-unit 18 Sixth Ave. (B4) tower has a name, and a branding effort: Brooklyn Crossing . Leasing starts this fall; as stated separately, move-ins begin in the fourth quarter (which also includes the beginning of winter). The building--the largest planned so far in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park--likely won't be finished for another year. It flanks the northeast corner of the arena block, and is at the southwest corner of Atlantic and Sixth avenues. As with Plank Road , the branding for the catercorner 662 Pacific St. (B15), the Google ads, at least, emphasize the location in Prospect Heights, not the chimerical neighborhood of Pacific Park, as noted below. The "park" relies on open space that will be, in large part, one long block away, and remain incomplete until possibly 2035.  Nor are developers of 51-story Brooklyn Crossing emphasizing, as during the run-up to approval of Atlantic Yards, the project's location in Downtown Brooklyn. Note that the black-and-white