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

Greenland USA on BrooklynSpeaks effort: we "welcome the community's input as we continue to deliver on our commitments." Not quite. But it's all about Site 5.

Here's where we're at with local media, folks. 

The only coverage so far (outside this blog) of the new "Brooklyn Crossroads" campaign from BrooklynSpeaks came from the high-volume, limited-staff Patch, which on 1/7/22 tacked it onto a separate announcement, Leasing Opens At Pacific Park Complex As Advocates Urge Overhaul.

The subheading: "A sixth building in the massive Pacific Park development has gone online. Local groups say the project hasn't lived up to its promises." 

Well, duh. 

Patch writes that "BrooklynSpeaks contends that the housing created so far by Pacific Park has 'skewed sharply to higher income tenants.'" But that's an easily checkable, and confirmable, statistic, as I've written.

Developer defends "affordable housing"

But in the spirit of journalistic practice, Patch got a response, however, vacuous, from the developer:
Asked on Friday about the BrooklynSpeaks campaign, developers for Brooklyn Crossing told Patch they "welcome the community's input as we continue to deliver on our commitments to Brooklyn and New York City."

"We are proud that Pacific Park is building affordable housing at a scale unmatched throughout Brooklyn," a spokesperson for Greenland said. "We have delivered nearly 1,100 affordable units for New Yorkers with hundreds more units currently under construction."
Unmentioned: the housing lottery for the income-targeted units at Brooklyn Crossing (B4, 18 Sixth Ave.) has not even begun, and the developers have refused to announce (though they've confirmed) the obvious: that all the units will be aimed at middle-income households earning up to 130% of Area Median Income, which means likely most over $100,000.

That's hardly where the need is greatest.

Nor, of course, have the developers explained how they'll meet the requirement to deliver 876 more affordable units by May 2025.

What's coming

Patch did not point out the Brooklyn Crossing effort is keyed to the developer's expected effort to shift the bulk from the unbuilt "Miss Brooklyn" tower, once slated to loom over the arena, across Flatbush Avenue to create a giant two-tower project at Site 5, longtime home to Modell's and P.C. Richard.

Nor did the article point out that BrooklynSpeaks, however valuable its advocacy, misled the public in 2014, declaring victory when achieving a new 2025 timetable (plus fines) for the project's 2,250 affordable housing units, claiming that "the community finally gets the affordable housing it was promised 10 years ago"?

That wasn't so, as BrooklynSpeaks acknowledges in its new campaign. Yes, they had no influence over the affordability. But they shouldn't have claimed it was the housing "promised."

About community input

Do the developers truly welcome input? Well, they know that input is required if the guiding General Project Plan is amended to allow the transfer of bulk. That means via public hearings run by Empire State Development, the state authority that oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, and answers to the governor.

The question is what's negotiable.

If the "community" response endorses the full bulk transfer requested, as long as it translates into additional commitments for affordable housing and other public benefits, as the Brooklyn Crossing campaign (so far) suggests, well, that might be welcomed by the developers, though surely not at the level of "asks" so far presented.

What the developers don't want is input that, from the start, constrains their ability to "activate"--or market--hundreds of millions of dollars of development rights. 

What if some in the community don't think that the full bulk transfer is defensible, or tenable, and that the developers who made their investment(s) into Atlantic Yards had that investment discounted based on the risks of not building B1 or being able to move that bulk across the street? 

After all, original developer Forest City Ratner in 2014, declaring a loss, sold a 70% interest in the project going forward (minus the B2 tower and the arena company) to Greenland USA for just $200 million. That's essentially what Greenland Forest City Partners later got for leasing just three development sites. 

(Yes, Greenland also has major infrastructure costs. Yes, "affordable housing" constrains profits.) 

Surely that price tag, as well as the yet-undisclosed price tag when Greenland bought all but 5% of Forest City's stake after the joint venture built three towers, factored in those risks.

About 26 acres?

An odd line from the Patch article states that "Coalition BrooklynSpeaks, who have monitored the 26-acre project since 2006..." 

It's a 22-acre project. That figure apparently comes from a page on the BrooklynSpeaks web site that I assume will be updated and corrected. Also, the project's price tag is not $4 billion, which is from a few iterations ago--it was long $4.9 billion--but likely at least $6 billion.