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Showing posts from January, 2022

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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)

At BrooklynSpeaks housing session, general support for lower-income housing, but little discussion of the trade-offs re Site 5. Low-key re 421-a successor, which could help.

So, what's next for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park affordable housing? A discussion last Wednesday led by the BrooklynSpeaks coalition, the third of four in their Crossroads series , went over the history of the project, and the lack of units affordable to low-income residents, who are continually being priced out. The presentation is embedded below, as is the video, but comments can be posted online on the  presentation board . The coalition's effort is keyed to the  expected effort  by the developer and state to move the bulk from the unbuilt "Miss Brooklyn" tower, once slated to loom over the arena, across Flatbush Avenue to Site 5, long home to Modell's and P.C. Richard, to enable a giant two-tower project.  The 70-plus participants were generally supportive of coalition's already announced principles regarding more deeply affordable housing. Of 2,250 required affordable units (among 6,430 apartments), 876 remain to be built, though Site 5 could contribute ad

The looming question: how big should Site 5 be? Approved FAR ≈9. Developers previously sought FAR ≈23.5. That's 50% larger than 80 Flatbush.

After the BrooklynSpeaks Crossroads session on affordable housing last Wednesday--about which I'll write more shortly--I realized an essential question was missing from the discussion, and my preview : how big should the proposed tower(s) at Site 5 be? The BrooklynSpeaks coalition of neighborhood and advocacy groups has set up the four-part series to argue for changes in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park.  The leverage is the  expected effort  by the developer and state to move the bulk from the unbuilt "Miss Brooklyn" tower (aka B1), once slated to loom over the arena, across Flatbush Avenue to Site 5, long home to Modell's (now closed) and P.C. Richard--plus the  Pacific Street Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden . That would enable a giant two-tower project, far larger than the already approved, smaller but not unsubstantial, tower at the site. That requires a public process to revise the guiding General Project Plan, and though the gubernatorially controlled Empire State

Yes, big real estate is optimistic about Adams; former Forest City CEO says he was "very accessible for our company"

Commercial Real Estate and Eric Adams Build Each Other Up in New York , the Commercial Observer reported 1/25/22, leading off with an anecdote from former Forest City Ratner/Forest City New York CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin, who now runs MAG Partners: While working at Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner Companies (later acquired by Brookfield Asset Management) and building some of the most transformational projects in Kings County, Gilmartin recalls receiving great support from then-Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams . “Eric, was, from day one, a believer, a champion, and very accessible for our company, for the people in the company,” Gilmartin said. In 2016, Gilmartin was three years into her tenure as CEO of Forest City when she invited Adams — the beep until being sworn in as mayor on Jan. 1 — to the firm’s offices in Downtown Brooklyn as part of a speaker series. He spoke about his Type 2 diabetes diagnosis and how he transformed his life, long before doing so publicly. He was “inspira

What watchdogs (including me) missed: City/State Funding Agreements (2007), Development Agreement (2010) not only extended project deadlines, they defined "affordable housing" more generously

It happened in 2010, and it also happened in 2008: those journalistic and civic watchdogs paying attention were so focused on government agreements that extended deadlines for Atlantic Yards that they missed some other crucial fine print: that "affordable housing" had been redefined with much greater latitude for the developer, obviating a requirement to fulfill previous promises. And that's relevant to the efforts now--as highlighted by the BrooklynSpeaks coalition--to make sure that the income-targeted housing goes to lower-income residents, rather than middle income ones, as a May 2025 deadline to deliver 876 more affordable units looms.  (I'll have a report soon on their Jan. 26 housing session, but the presentation is here .) State language left wiggle room Atlantic Yards was approved in 2006 by Empire State Development Corporation (now Empire State Development) and re-approved in 2009, with gentler terms then incorporated in the guiding Modified General Project

CM Hudson: asked Hochul to "convene all parties" to deliver affordable units; "no formal discussions" regarding relocation of Dean Street firehouse

BrooklynSpeaks' Crossroads series, aimed at improvements in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park and the surrounding neighborhoods, last night concerned affordable housing (presentation here ), and I'll have coverage soon. One pending issue is  potential fines  for affordable units delayed past May 2025, an issue Council Member Crystal Hudson brought up during brief remarks at a previous Crossroads session , referencing a conversation with Governor Kathy Hochul and a memo. I asked for more details. The response: As for the memo CM Hudson referenced: it was a brief document handed to Governor Hochul's team after their in-person discussion earlier this month. The document outlined the same issues she brought to the Governor's attention. CM Hudson emphasized her concern that the developers would not meet the deadline to build the required affordable housing units and insisted on the need for a new agreement. She specifically asked for the Governor to convene all parties to 'fi

At meeting, no answers to big questions about project; leasing proceeds at B15, with sidewalk work coming in spring; update on loading docks at B12/B13, including for Chelsea Piers

This is the second of two articles about the Jan. 25 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, held by Empire State Development (ESD), which oversees/shepherds the project. The first concerned the unresolved whistling noise from B3. Beyond discussion of the perplexing whistling noise coming from 38 Sixth Avenue, the meeting was brief and uneventful. There were no updates about the big questions regarding the project: plans to build the first phase of the two-block platform over the Vanderbilt Yard; plans to meet the 2025 affordable housing requirement; plans to shift bulk from the unbuilt tower once planned to loom over the arena to Site 5, longtime home to Modell’s and P.C. Richard. Only 16 people attended the meeting, including state Sen. Jabari Brisport, and representatives from the offices of Rep. Yvette Clarke and Council Member Crystal Hudson. It lasted about 36 minutes. The format, in which attendees can't see each other, speak, or read the chat, also tamps down

Greenland USA exec: still waiting for replacement part to tamp down whistling sound disturbing Prospect Heights neighbors

This is the first of two articles about the Jan. 25 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, held by Empire State Development (ESD), which oversees/shepherds the project.  The second is a round-up of issues. In the brief (36 minutes) and mostly uneventful meeting, the most significant news came from Greenland USA executive Scott Solish’s effort to describe the efforts to address a perplexing whistling sound from 38 Sixth Avenue, which has disturbed neighbor s for weeks. (Greenland USA is the dominant player in Greenland Forest City Partners, which built the tower.) The sound comes from the rooftop boiler room, which provides heat and hot water to the 303 units as well as the healthcare facility run by New-York Presbyterian. Of the three boilers, two have malfunctioned. (The building opened in 2017.) For one, he said, the parts were available in stock and so it was fixed quickly. For the second, the burner replacement part is on order. (Note that Council Member Crysta

BrooklynSpeaks session tomorrow night addresses affordable housing; what's their take on 421-a revamp? will they acknowledge 2014 missteps?

Tomorrow night's session, the third in BrooklynSpeaks' four-week  Crossroads initiative  to generate a new plan for, and improvements related to, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, concerns Housing, notably the plans for more certain and more affordable income-restricted "affordable housing," of which 876 more units (of 2,250 total) are required by May 2025, a deadline that seems in doubt. It's at 7 pm; the slideshow should be posted during the presentation, with the opportunity to comment, and the video should be posted soon after.  As explained below, BrooklynSpeaks, a coalition of neighborhood and advocacy groups in 2014 helped accelerate previously delayed affordable housing. But it was misleading about the level of affordability--which it now criticizes, given the disproportionate amount of units for not-so-needy middle-income renters. (I've previously covered the session on  Urban Design , focusing on proposals for  Pacific Street  and for  Dean Street , and t

At BrooklynSpeaks session, most agree on traffic and transportation proposals, but tough questions and political fights await (permit parking? Flatbush Ave. change?)

The BrooklynSpeaks proposals regarding transportation and traffic (my preview ) got a general endorsement from the more than 60 people who attended an online session 1/19/22, even as they expressed general dismay about conditions in the area around the Barclays Center and larger Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project.. Posted below is the video of the presentation, as well as the presentation board/slideshow, but those wishing to comment on the document should go to the  posting here . Uncontroversial asks After all, who could object to calls for new subway entrances to the expected building at Site 5 across Flatbush Avenue from the arena, longtime home to P.C. Richard and Modell’s. It’s approved for a large building, 250 feet and 439,050 square feet, but the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park developers want to move bulk from the unbuilt “Miss Brooklyn” tower, once slated to loom over the arena, across the street, creating a two-tower project that could rise 80 stories and exceed 1.1 million sq

The Warriors' part-owner's gaffe: no one cares about Uyghur oppression (some do, but NBA can't care much)

Warriors Part Owner’s Uyghur Comments Fuel More NBA China Controversy , Yahoo reported 1/18/22: Warriors minority owner and billionaire venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya drew unwanted attention after saying on The All-In podcast that “nobody cares” about the genocide of Uyghur people in China ’s Xinjiang region—an ongoing human rights issue criticized by the U.S. and other countries worldwide. “Of all the things I care about, it is below my line,” Palihapitiya said on the podcast. The Human Rights Project called his comments “revolting,” while the Campaign for Uyghurs said the comments “were unacceptable and contribute towards an environment of apathy towards one of the greatest atrocities of our time.” Then he apologized, and the Warriors said his views “certainly don’t reflect those of our organization.” But this was a "gaffe" in the sense that he spoke an uncomfortable truth, that few care, and that the NBA relies on the China market. And if it came to the Brooklyn N

If Marc Benioff, "Davos Man," represents billionaire hypocrisy--giving prominent charity while working the system--what of sports team owners like the Nets' Tsai?

The New York Times Sunday Business section last week published  C.E.O.s Were Our Heroes, at Least According to Them , a surprisingly tart essay from Peter S. Goodman, which--ah, makes sense--was adapted from his new book “ Davos Man: How the Billionaires Devoured the World .” He focuses on mega-wealthy Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, who during last year's World Economic Forum--held online, rather than in the Swiss Alps village of Davos--claimed that CEOs were "the ones who stepped forward with their financial resources, their corporate resources, their employees, their factories, and pivoted rapidly — not for profit, but to save the world." Yes, acknowledges Goodman, Benioff had helped get protective gear to U.S. hospitals thanks to his connections in China. He adds: But it was also fair to ask a pertinent question: Why was the wealthiest, most powerful country on earth dependent on the charity of a profit-making software company to outfit medical personnel with basic p