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Showing posts from February, 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)

Mayoral spox: Carone & Petrosyants bros are friends, "haven't been in business together." But Carone repped nightclub that twins managed (and, evidence suggests, had owned).

Drip, drip. drip. The evidence mounts regarding unseemly, if not unsavory, professional connections between Mayor Eric Adams' Chief of Staff, Frank Carone, and the felonious Petrosyants brothers, one of whom (Zhan, or Johnny), is close friends with Adams. Adams' spokesman said  on Twitter, in response to the New York Daily News, "Carone and the Petrosyants are not in business and haven't been in business together. They are friends." That's a reference to referrals to a health care business that the newspaper unearthed. From Prime Six lawsuit But they have been in business together, a fact that's gotten far too little attention--as has Adams's connection to that previous business. The Woodland case As I reported in 2019, Carone and his law firm Abrams Fensterman represented the scofflaw Park Slope bar/nightclub Woodland, eventually stripped of its liquor license by the State Liquor Authority (SLA), As stated in a lawsuit  authored by Carone on behalf

Next Quality of Life Meeting March 8, at 6 pm, on Zoom. Could changing CDC guidelines mean restoration of in-person (or hybrid) meetings?

The next Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Project Quality of Life Meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, March 8 at 6 pm, according to Empire State Development, the state authority that oversee/shepherds the project. No agenda has been circulated yet, but those agendas are typically anodyne. That said, it's always time for updates on whether, in fact, the next phase of construction at the Vanderbilt Yard is planned, and/or plans for Site 5 are expected to advance. Questions and agenda items can be sent to Meeting details: Dial In: 646-558-8656 || Passcode: 999 5088 9749# Meeting ID: 999 5088 9749 Virtual meetings on the way out? The advantage of virtual meetings is that people can participate, or follow-along, from afar. But the ESD's not-so-transparent implementation means we can't see who else is at the meeting, see the chat, or ensure that real-time follow-up questions get answered. Given changes in COVID-19 spread-

Greenland exec: COVID shutdowns hit supply chain for 800K sf of construction (surely, B4, aka Brooklyn Crossing). Other companies added off-site storage before pandemic.

An interesting Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park detail emerged in a 2/23/22 Bisnow article,  Developers, Contractors Investing In Off-Site Construction Storage To Get Ahead Of Supply Chain Issues , describing challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, during which some developers decided to avoid uncertainty around the delivery of materials by eschewing just-in-time delivery: Scott Solish , executive vice president at Greenland USA , said the coronavirus pandemic had impacted 800K SF of construction on Pacific Park in Brooklyn that the developer started working on in 2018 and was ready to start building just before the pandemic hit. But shutdowns and the immediate impact on the supply chain had immediate consequences. “You have to regroup, look and see where all your components are coming from, where are your windows coming from, your HVAC, every piece of material,” Solish said. “Then you have to try and find out: is it coming; how fast can it get here; will the bank let you pay for it upfron

Art from BIPOC artists at (mostly-unaffordable) Brooklyn Crossing tower said to "reflect the Black and brown roots of the people that originally lived in the area" (?!)

From New York Real Estate Journal, 2/22/22,  Brodsky Organization and Greenland USA feature local artists at Brooklyn Crossing , citing "artwork from eight artists, all of whom are BIPOC and either live or work in the borough." From the press release/article: The new artwork is another perk among Brooklyn Crossing’s suite of amenities, access to public transportation, culinary scene and local cultural institutions. The Brodsky Organization worked with The Art Committee, a small woman-owned business, to help identify the artists and artwork. The goal was to invest in works from local and diverse artists, putting money back into the pockets of small galleries and artists from the neighborhood. The works displayed differ from current European art typically seen in the community at public venues like the Barclays Center, and reflect the Black and brown roots of the people that originally lived in the area , giving residents a history lesson and a variety of interesting pieces to

Is the Vanderbilt Yard platform finally coming? Well, MTA reports discussions. Two-phase deck would support six development parcels.

Is development over the Vanderbilt Yard, which requires a platform over two blocks and would support six development sites, finally coming? Well, signs indicate progress on the long-delayed two-phase platform, according to responses to my queries from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA. The first block to be developed is Block 1120, bounded by Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, and Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues.  Not only are there railyard tracks, leading to the Atlantic Terminal, there are terra firma "bump" parcels at street level that jut south from Atlantic Avenue, providing space to stage construction and build cellars--and which thus do not require a platform. First tower percolating? Developer Greenland Forest City Partners (GFCP) in May 2020 filed initial permits for B5, 700 Atlantic Ave., the first tower over the railyard, just east of Sixth Avenue, and remains in dialogue with the Department of Buildings. As I wrote last month, a permit for found

Barclays Center reports barely breaking even in second half of 2021. That means they're way behind on debt payments.

The Barclays Center operating company recently disclosed, in a filing aimed at bondholders, its financial results, and though they're certainly improved from deep COVID-era losses , they're nothing to cheer about. As shown at right, in the first half of FY 2022, which is the second half of calendar year 2021, the arena company took in $38.3 million in revenue, only slightly more than $38.1 million in expenses. But that doesn't mean they're in the black, not in the slightest. The arena company needs some $37.8 million for required PILOTs, or payments in lieu of taxes , of which $26.2 million goes toward debt service on arena construction bonds. Most of the rest goes back to the arena company to be used on operations and maintenance (O&M)--but it still must be paid. Billionaire Joe Tsai, who owns the arena company, has committed to backstopping any losses. Note that these statistics do not address the bottom line for the Brooklyn Nets, also owned by Tsai, who has a hu

From the latest Construction Update: preparatory (for development?) soil work on railyard block; sewer work on southeast block

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning yesterday, Monday, Feb. 21, was circulated 2/18/22 at 5:33 pm (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners.  There's a little different from the  previous update , notably preparatory work at Block 1120 of the Vanderbilt Yard, between Sixth and Carlton avenues, which includes three future development sites. So this could be a sign that plans for B5--the first of those towers--are moving closer to reality. The developer’s contractor, Roux, will conduct soil characterization work at the “bump-area” site--terra firma jutting south from Atlantic Avenue--on or about March 1. Work is expected to be completed in four days, including mobilization and drilling. The work hours will be approximately 7 am to 3 pm. Utility work pending Also, sewer and utility work is still pending at the southeast block of the site. Metropolitan Sewers will b

Second look at oft-prescient 2006 article: CBA won over housing advocates, though it wasn't enforceable. Atlantic Yards would "radically change the scale" of appropriate development.

In August 2006. when I first read an article in Next American City, then a quarterly magazine (and now the online NextCity) headlined A New Dynamic: Atlantic Yards Challenges Brooklyn Progressive Politics , I suggested : While there's not much new for Atlantic Yards-watchers, and some information is dated or inaccurate (the project now would be 6860 apartments, not 7300, and Atlantic Avenue divides Prospect Heights and Fort Greene rather than serves as a Prospect Heights thoroughfare), the article does point out to a national audience how the project has fractured some typical community alliances, notably among progressives. Upon re-reading Michael Freedman-Schnapp's article, I think he was significantly prescient, in part, though his analysis still seems somewhat contradictory: unskeptical at one point, but skeptical in its conclusion.  (As of the publication, Freedman-Schnapp was Senior Policy Associate at the New York Industrial Retention Network. He went on to become Direct

Did Forbes cite Carone as "one of the foremost experts on business negotiating strategy" in the country? Well, his business partner did, as dubious "contributor."

According to a 12/30/21 post on Scheps' Politics NY regarding Frank Carone, Mayor Eric Adams's incoming chief of staff, "Forbes once cited him as 'one of the foremost experts on business negotiating strategy' in the country." Oh, really?  Keep in mind, as Joshua Benton recently wrote in Neiman Lab, "Forbes became known as the best way to disguise PR as news." Well, search Forbes and you can find a 10/16/18 post from former contributor Russ Alan Prince--who "consult[s] with family offices, the ultra-wealthy and select professionals"--headlined  For Great Business Negotiators It Is All About Results, Not Ego : According to Frank Carone, executive partner at Abrams, Fensterman and one of the foremost experts on business negotiating strategy, “Great business negotiators often go unnoticed. At the very least, they’re not pushing others out of the way to be in the spotlight. For them it’s not about taking victory laps or about the glory and ad

BerlinRosen, p.r. firm with many specialties (including real estate) is booming, now has private equity investment. (Agents of the city?)

BerlinRosen, big p.r. firm in New York repping Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, as well as numerous other clients and campaigns (and projects like 840 Atlantic Ave. ), has 500-plus clients, 250-plus staffers, and three offices.  And, unscathed by brushes with scandal connected to its sorta-lobbying role with Mayor Bill de Blasio, it's going gangbusters.  In November, PR Week named it the country's top agency. From BerlinRosen : With a team of 250+ strategists, the firm has significantly grown over the past years and now represents over 500 clients including Samsung, Color Of Change, Brookfield, SEIU, GLAAD, Mozilla, Singapore Airlines, UNICEF USA, Audible, Cornell Tech, Northwell Health and the Me Too Movement.  ...In a brief summary of the firm’s accomplishments over the past year, PRNews Platinum PR Awards shares: “During the pandemic, BerlinRosen and industry peers formed NY Forever to mobilize New Yorkers in charitable activities. This year, the firm also launched its Equity

At The Willoughby in Fort Greene, a middle-income studio (at 130% of AMI) is $2,523. That's $976 more than Plank Road!

The affordable housing lottery for 196 Willoughby, aka The Willoughby , launched 1/20/22. It's on Willoughby Street west of Ashland Place, on the Long Island University campus, and developed by RXR Realty. The Willoughby Among 476 apartments are 143 (30%) affordable to middle-income households earning up to 130% of Area Median Income, or AMI. I decided to compare The Willoughby with two Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park buildings similarly geared to middle-income households, Plank Road (662 Pacific St.) and Brooklyn Crossing (18 Sixth Ave.), since the affordable units at all three buildings are being marketed in partnership with MHANY, Mutual Housing Association of New York, formerly ACORN. Some significant variations something stood out. Here's the lineup of rents: studio: Plank Road, $1,547; Brooklyn Crossing, $1,905; The Willoughby, $2,523 ; guideline: $2,263) 1-BR: Plank Road, $2,273; Brooklyn Crossing, $2,390; The Willoughby, $2,700 ; guideline: $2,838) 2-BR: Plank Road, $3

No, the B12/B13 towers won't contain affordable units (or any) larger than 2-BR. Again, the original pledge gets bypassed.

Accompanying 25 (!) rhapsodic photos of ongoing construction of the B12/B13 sites (615 Dean St./595 Dean St.), which have topped out, New York YIMBY on 2/6/22 told us something unsurprising but noteworthy: Designed by Handel Architects and developed by TF Cornerstone , the complex will yield a total of 798 units between the 22-story West Tower and 27-story East Tower. Residences will come in studio, studio alcove, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom layouts , with 240 homes slated for affordable housing. (Emphasis added) In other words, as with the other two buildings that recently opened, B4 (18 Sixth Ave., aka Brooklyn Crossing) and B15 (662 Pacific St., aka Plank Road), these towers will include no units larger than two bedrooms. So these towers as well won't fulfill the non-binding pledge, in the project's 2005 Affordable Housing Memorandum of Understanding (which was incorporated into the Community Benefits Agreement), that half the affordable space, in floor area, would be dev

Applicants for 130% AMI middle-income units say they get invited to lease at several buildings, because they're hard to fill.

In recent years, as I wrote , there's been in an explosion of middle-income "affordable housing" aimed at those earning 130% of Area Median Income, with income caps in the six figures. Some applicants to such middle-income units have been discussing their options on the City-Data forum for Plank Road (662 Pacific St., or B15), across Sixth Avenue from the Barclays Center. One noted that she applied, since the "The one bedrooms are cheaper than my Alcove Studio in the Ashland but I'm defintely not moving for another studio apt even if it has in unit W/D." Another wrote that "Studio rent is quite cheap for a 130% AMI, the market units don't look tiny and are all alcove. Even though I am good where I am close by, I threw my hat in, even if they charge for amenities." Indeed, as I wrote (and as shown below), the studios at that building are notably inexpensive, especially compared to those at Brooklyn Crossing (18 Sixth Ave., or B4), which is cate

Planner Shiffman: given likely public help/bailout, time to rethink Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park in public interest (housing, open space, governance)

Last week, writing about the BrooklynSpeaks’ proposal for a new governance structure to oversee Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, I quoted veteran advocacy planner  Ron Shiffman , who co-founded the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development, who said he both supported the coalition’s efforts but thought they should be more aggressive. Shiffman, known for long involvement in community-driven projects, is a former NYC Planning Commissioner, a director of (defunct) project opponents Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, and a winner of the Rockefeller Foundation's 2012 Jane Jacobs Medal . He still teaches at the Pratt Institute. Shiffman said he sees less a planning process from BrooklynSpeaks than a "bargaining process that accepts the existing program as is. I would urge them to abandon a bargaining process and aggressively pursue the redesign of the project.” Given what he thinks is a likely bailout involving public support for the platform Greenland Fore