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

Flashback to 2019 Brooklyn Speaks planning session: a preview of current efforts (but no predicted NYS/NYC oversight hearings)

Beyond my preview of tonight's Crossroads Brooklyn: Urban Design session and a look at the value (and future) of Site 5, let's look at an October 2019 session, sponsored by BrooklynSpeaks that should, in many ways, be a preview of current advocacy efforts.

As I wrote, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park seems to be at an inflection point, presenters at the forum, and that should offer leverage for improvements in public benefits and public oversight.

From BrooklynSpeaks slideshow
However, lead developer Greenland USA seems financially strained, it has not yet been pressured by the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo for such improvements.

In fact, Cuomo’s Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing and shepherding the project, recently eased the way for a Greenland lessee, TF Cornerstone, to gain below-ground space to build a field house and fitness center below two towers slated to start next year, with no reciprocal benefit. 

Will Gov. Kathy Hochul's ESD be accountable, as it works with the developer to shift bulk to Site 5? That's up to local officials. 

New oversight?

At the meeting, Assemblymembers Walter Mosley (since replaced by Phara Souffrant Forrest) and Jo Anne Simon indicated a willingness to push for state oversight hearings, thus putting ESD under scrutiny for just the second time in the project’s history. And Council Member Brad Lander (now City Comptroller) agreed that, while the project is not overseen by the city, a city oversight hearing, involving agencies working on housing and education issues, also could add sunlight.

Neither such hearing has happened. I wrote skeptically about the prospect for greater affordability, but the situation may have changed, given changes in the 421-a tax break, as well as clear evidence that the four most recent towers--two completed, two under construction--all aim their "affordable housing" at middle-income households.

From BrooklynSpeaks

BrooklynSpeaks posted its summary, After 16 years, it's time for a new plan, of the session at the Montauk Club, which attracted more than 60 people. See slideshow at bottom.

The summary noted how affordable housing and open space fall short, and concerns--amplified today--that the deadline to build the full 2,250 units of affordable housing wouldn't be met.

North Flatbush Business Improvement District President Regina Cahill described the environmental challenges, including NYPD/FDNY parking on local sidewalks and illegal parking rampant during arena events.

Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council explained how Empire State Development, the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project, gave developers additional space on the southeast block for a fitness center and field house, with no reciprocal public benefit:
The BrooklynSpeaks’ sponsors, Veconi said, demand that developers be candid about strategy and schedule for completion of the project—including affordable housing commitments—before further approvals are granted. Any increase in private value from project changes must be matched by additional public benefits. The State and the City must take responsibility for the conditions created by the project, and address impacts from construction, arena operations, and municipal services, and a meaningful dialog about further large-scale redevelopment at Brooklyn’s busiest intersection must begin.
That seems a direct preview of the current effort. The posting goes on to describe specific breakout sessions keyed to BrooklynSpeaks four principles, which I'll add separately to my previews, such as today's preview about Urban Design.