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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)

So, could developer market development rights at railyard and Site 5? Not right now, except perhaps B5. But stay tuned for discussions/renegotiations.

In my post yesterday about Greenland USA's challenges in the face of its parent company's financial strictures, I briefly raised a question: what else does the developer have to sell--future development rights to the railyard? to Site 5?--to fund the project going forward.

Responding to my tweet, Gib Veconi, who as a leader of the BrooklynSpeaks coalition and a member of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation is a key voice influencing local elected officials, suggested, "Development rights over railyards likely not marketable now due to looming #affordablehousing deadline and associated remedies."

Yes, but...

I think he's mostly right, but with some asterisks. As of now, given the May 2025 deadline to deliver 877 (or 876) more units of affordable housing, after which the developer--Greenland Forest City Partners (GFCP), owned 95% by Greenland USA--faces $2,000/month fines for each missing unit, no developer would want to buy development rights for all but one tower.

The first tower planned over the MTA's Vanderbilt Yard, B5 (aka 700 Atlantic Ave.), is scheduled to go vertical in 2023 and take two years to build, so it seems not unlikely Greenland USA could get a joint venture partner to contribute funds and back a construction loan, as it did with B4 (18 Sixth Ave., aka Brooklyn Crossing) and The Brodsky Organization.

It might be possible--though more complicated, given the simultaneous construction of the platform needed for B5, B6, and B7 over that first railyard block (of two)--for Greenland Forest City Partners to sell development rights outright to B5, as it did with B15 (662 Pacific St., aka Plank Road) and Brodsky, 

It similarly sold development rights to B12 & B13 (615 Dean St. & 595 Dean St.) to TF Cornerstone.

Renegotiation coming? Extension?

So until and unless the deadline and fines are renegotiated, sale of development rights beyond B5 seems unlikely.

That said, Empire State Development, the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project, seems distinctly uninterested in enforcing that deadline, as it is uninterested in enforcing the already-passed deadline to deliver the Urban Room.

It's possible the developer will ask for some kind of extension. After all, the guiding Development Agreement offers ESD a "right to refrain" from enforcing penalties, though it's unclear if that applies to the affordable housing deadline, established in 2014.

Likely some sort of renegotiation is pending, involving plans for Site 5, the parcel currently occupied by the big-box stores P.C. Richard and Modell's (which is closed), and bordering the Pacific Bear's Garden. 

The developer aims to move much of the unbuilt B1 tower (aka "Miss Brooklyn"), originally slated to loom over the arena, across Flatbush Avenue to create a much larger two-tower project at Site 5.

By offering some increased public benefit--deeper affordable housing? public space?--the developer could gain public support and unlock the value, worth several hundred million dollars, of the development parcel. 

But that process, long percolating, has not started, and it would take a year and involve public hearings and a vote from the gubernatorially-controlled ESD.

For now, though, Site 5 development rights are not marketable.