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Showing posts from September, 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)

How much is Joe Tsai really worth? Big divergence between Bloomberg ($5.66B) and Forbes ($8B) estimates, neither of which explain their math.

In my essay earlier this week for CommonEdge,  In Honoring Philanthropists with the Onassis Medal, the MAS Forgets Its Crusade Against Supertalls , I suggested that the net worth of Joe Tsai--owner of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center operating company "has recently fluctuated below $6 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index , though at times before Alibaba’s stock declined, he was worth double that." Bloomberg's math--as of this morning, as shown below, it's $5.66 billion--suggests that Tsai's ownership of the Nets and the arena operating company represents more than half his wealth.  (Sportico recently  valued  those holdings at $3.61 billion; Forbes estimated $3.2 billion.) But Bloomberg's net worth estimate may not be accurate. After all, as shown in the screenshot at right, Forbes separately estimates his net worth at $8 billion. That's a pretty big divergence. It means that, while Forbes ranks Tsai #232 among the world's wealthiest

Greenland Holdings, parent of main Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park developer, sees stock price hit new low. That could make company wary of spending.

Less than two months ago, on 8/4/22, I noted that the plunging stock price for Shanghai-based Greenland Holdings Group (aka Greenland Holding Group), the parent of the main Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park developer, Greenland USA. That meant the 2019 advice to sell Greenland short was wise. As I wrote, from my search, it was 6.17 renminbi (aka yuan) as of 8/23/19, down from 7.25 a month earlier . It reached 7.24 in July 2020, but has since plunged. Two months ago, it closed at 3.02, down from 3.78 two months earlier. Today, it's at 2.73, a tick over the new low (2.72) set for the past year. Both rising interest rates and a 14-year low for the yuan against the dollar make borrowing more difficult, and Greenland already has  significant debts . So those likely influence a company to be more conservative, not more liberal, on spending for projects like Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park with a payoff many years away. Five-year trend. Screenshot via  Google Finance . One-day trend, via Google F

Eastbound Atlantic Avenue, east of Sixth Avenue, is now cleared of water main work. Does that mean fence for platform finally will go up?

Well, the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) was right about finishing water main work. "We are aiming to complete our work on the south side of Atlantic [Avenue] by Monday," the DDC said  last week, after residents complained about constricted eastbound lanes, just east of Sixth Avenue/South Portland Avenue. As shown in the photo at right, which I took yesterday, the equipment was gone, and traffic flowed smoothly.  That means--as far as I can tell--that there's no barrier, beyond an expected permit from the Long Island Rail Road, for the developers of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park to move forward with long-promised work on a platform over the first block (of two) of the MTA's Vanderbilt Yard. "We were required to hold off on erecting the construction fence on Atlantic Avenue until DDC was able to complete their work, which we're hopeful will be happening in the next few weeks," Scott Solish of Greenland USA said at a meeting 9/20/

An "extraordinary impact" on the built environment? Well, one escalator at the arena plaza is still out.

In my essay yesterday in CommonEdge,  In Honoring Philanthropists with the Onassis Medal, the MAS Forgets Its Crusade Against Supertalls , I criticized the Municipal Art Society for honoring Alibaba billionaire (and Brooklyn Nets/arena company owner) Joe Tsai and his wife Clara Wu Tsai, given that they bought apartments in the type of tower the MAS opposes. Another criticism regards the original purposes of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal,  established  to “honor individuals and organizations that have made an extraordinary impact on the quality of New York’s built environment."  Today, it's also “awarded annually to individuals who, through vision, leadership, and philanthropy, have made an extraordinary contribution to New York City.” Tsai hasn't done much regarding the built environment, but, as I pointed out, the arena company, now owned by Tsai, has a  dismal record  of providing working  escalators  and elevators to the transit entrance below. And the record is

From Common Edge: 'In Honoring Philanthropists [the Tsais, Nets owners] with the Onassis Medal, the MAS Forgets Its Crusade Against Supertalls."

Joe Tsai, the Alibaba billionaire who owns the Brooklyn Nets, the Barclays Center operating company and more, has become a heavyweight in philanthropy with his wife, Clara Wu Tsai. So the venerable Municipal Art Society (MAS) is giving them the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal, its highest honor. As I write at CommonEdge, I think that's a dubious decision, since the Tsais have invested in the kind of "supertall" tower that MAS has crusaded against:  In Honoring Philanthropists with the Onassis Medal, the MAS Forgets Its Crusade Against Supertalls . I have other arguments, so click through  to the essay . Illustration combines MAS report with excerpts from Onassis Medal announcement. The  arrow (from announcement) points to 220 CPS. I'll add some more details on the real estate below. Like an NBA team? The Tsais’ reported purchases total $345.5 million in a “supertall” that’s perhaps Manhattan’s most prestigious building. “NBA teams are not going to lose asset value,”

NYC says water main work constricting south side of Atlantic Avenue near Vanderbilt Yard could finish Monday. Does that open up platform work?

From meeting presentation I wrote 9/21/22 that, according to developer Greenland USA, city water main work on Atlantic Avenue between Sixth and Carlton avenues had delayed long-promised work on the platform over the first of two blocks of the MTA's Vanderbilt Yard, "We were required to hold off on erecting the construction fence on Atlantic Avenue until [Department of Design and Construction] was able to complete their work, which we're hopeful will be happening in the next few weeks," said Solish. As I wrote, that seemed like a lapse not to notice--and not to tell the public about the delay. A "traffic mess" One resident tweeted  the next day about "a complete traffic mess" asked how long it would take. At right is a photo showing the constricted avenue, taken Sept. 22, looking east from Sixth Avenue. "We are aiming to complete our work on the south side of Atlantic by Monday," the DDC responded on Twitter. "However, there may be

At 535 Carlton, an alarming discovery--and, so far, an unresponsive landlord regarding building security

More than a week ago, residents noticed debris in a little-used top-floor stairwell at 535 Carlton Ave.--the "100% affordable' building that opened in 2017 in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park--that suggested that someone had been living there for at least several days. As shown in the tweet excerpted at right, resident Laurie Schoeman, noting that homelessness was at a "crisis point," aimed to alert local media as well as Council Member Crystal Hudson. Schoeman told me that Hudson contacted the Department of Homeless Services, but it was apparently out of their jurisdiction. (I queried Hudson's office yesterday, and will update with any response.) Distressing to Schoeman and neighbors, she said, is that Avanath Capital, which bought the building in May, has not made a public statement regarding what happened nor responded to the tenants' association. She said neighbors in the 298-unit tower still worry that aspects of the building's perimeter are not fully s

Outside Barclays Center, arena operators hope to refresh plaza and fully reopen by October 19, for Nets' first regular-season game. Escalators still out.

This is the third of three articles about the 9/20/22 Quality of Life meeting. The first concerned the delayed platform. The second concerned updates at two tower sites. Revamp incomplete in area near Atlantic Avenue and behind transit entrance The Brooklyn Nets play pre-season home games on Monday, Oct. 3 against the Philadelphia 76ers and Thursday, Oct. 6 against the Miami Heat. Both are key Eastern Division rivals, and if coaches play their first-string rosters, should attract solid crowds. For now, though, the owners of the Nets and the Barclays Center operating company have another date in mind: the season opener Wednesday, Oct. 19, against the New Orleans Pelicans.  Given the new-look Nets, with the expected debut of enigmatic star Ben Simmons coupled with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, and the appearance of the surprisingly strong Pelicans, with budding superstar Zion Williamson, that should draw a big crowd. Plus: free t-shirt. Oct. 19 target So no wonder that, as arena spok

Developer: sidewalk outside B4 tower reopened; B12/B13 on schedule for first tenants early next year

This is the second of three articles about the 9/20/22 Quality of Life meeting. The  first  concerned the delayed platform. Screenshots from meeting presentation Scott Solish of Greenland USA, which owns nearly all of master developer Greenland Forest City Partners (GFCP), said the sidewalk on Atlantic Avenue outside of B4 (18 Sixth Ave., aka Brooklyn Crossing) had been restored. "The last piece of work," he said, "is the restoration of a full size median in Atlantic Avenue to free up the east and west travel lanes. And that work should happen over the next several weeks." That said, assuming a fence is built at Atlantic Avenue between Sixth and Carlton avenues for the platform work, that means traffic will be constricted for three years. Solish said all the work on the residential units is substantially complete, except for some punch list work. The tower has 858 apartments, 600 of them market-rate, and 258 "affordable." Have the tenants in the latter mid

Now they tell us: construction of crucial platform delayed because of city water main work; fencing, announced for June, might go up next month

This is the first of three articles about the 9/20/22 Quality of Life meeting. At community meetings in May , Scott Solish of Greenland USA--which dominates project master developer Greenland Forest City Partners--indicated that work around the Vanderbilt Yard was expected to start in weeks, pending permits, and those fences would be a precursor to construction of the long-awaited platform over the first railyard block. Two months later, at another bi-monthly Quality of Life meeting 7/12/22, Solish again indicated that such work was expected to start in the next few business days. The block is bounded by Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, and by Sixth and Carlton avenues. That never happened, though GFCP--via Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park--dutifully circulates Construction Updates every two weeks indicating that such work is pending permits.  And that, as I explain below, further delays the possibility the de

Barclays Center updates Sept. 2022 event calendar, with private event Thursday (M/WBE Procurement Fair)

Today, the Barclays Center updated its previously released September 2022 event calendar with the below graphic, which indicates a new private event during the day Thursday, Sept. 22, and the postponement of the September 30 concert with Ozuna. What's the private event, from 10 am to 4 pm?  They couldn't bother to tell us, but a little Googling leads to an invite for the Citywide M/WBE Procurement Fair, hosted by the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). So it's more of a trade show and likely not comparable to a graduation or similar private event that draws significant crowds.

No agenda for tonight's meeting, or promised notes from past one. New renderings of southeast block towers (B12/B13), but caginess on affordability.

A week after I first wrote this , no change: There's no agenda (however typically limited) for the bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting (on  Zoom at 6 pm  tonight), nor notes from the previous meeting, despite a goal to deliver them within three weeks, as I  wrote . That's the responsibility of Empire State Development (ESD), the gubernatorially-controlled state authority that oversees/shepherds the project. The biggest question, among several, the reason for the  delayed start  of the platform over the first block of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard, crucial to the development of three towers and future income-targeted ("affordable") housing.  We had been told in May--by master developer Greenland Forest City Partners, dominated by Greenland USA--that the start was coming up, with announced MPT (maintenance and preservation of traffic) pending, constricting local streets. Since then, we've been told that th

AY down the memory hole: recapping the Barclays Center naming rights saga

As Barclays Center prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary, having opened 9/28/12, it's soliciting people to "Submit your favorite photos of you from an event at Barclays Center and you could be a part of a very special mosaic inside our arena." Meanwhile, there will likely be a series of articles reflecting on that anniversary, and it's not unlikely some will contain myths and/or errors. A book cites naming rights On 9/12/22, Sports Business Journal tried to recap the Barclays Center naming rights saga, anticipating the arena's ten-year anniversary, in  Closing Shot: Cashing In On A Cold Call , relying significantly on David J. Halberstam's book The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts . "It was the ultimate cold call," writes SBJ, transposing Halberstam's line about "Sports' richest real cold call." It was 2006, and CEO Brett Yormark of the New Jersey Nets, eventually to be the Brooklyn N

At Brooklyn Commons, some (but not all) buildings lose MetroTech moniker. Will the MTA take notice?

According to Brooklyn Community Board 2's newsletter , the Parks & Recreation Committee Monthly Meeting, tomorrow at 6 pm, will include: a presentation and public Q&A with Brookfield Properties regarding updates to Brooklyn Commons (formerly MetroTech), for recommendation to the Public Design Commission . Brooklyn Commons is a 5-acre public plaza built in the late 1980s. Over the last 15 years, downtown Brooklyn has seen a shift in uses and users from a predominantly office, academic, and retail environment to surroundings that are now active 24/7, inclusive of residential buildings, more students, and growing live-work-play communities. While the plaza’s use is shifting along with the neighborhood, Brooklyn Commons still serves downtown Brooklyn, and reconfirms its value as a much-needed urban open space. This application is to create a simple unified wayfinding and signage system to guide visitors and help tenants better engage and discover while rebranding and reactiv

From the latest Construction Update: still waiting for announced platform work to start; some progress on southeast block

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, Sept. 19, was circulated at 5:13 pm yesterday (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners (GFCP), which is dominated by Greenland USA.  Again, it didn't tell us much. I saw little new compared to the previous update , and the document again excludes the most dramatic change around the project footprint--the work at the arena plaza for revamping of the pavement and other features.  Six weeks ago, new work was announced on the southeast block, at the B12/B13 (615 Dean St./595 Dean St.) sites: the removal of the West Courtyard Sidewalk Shed and the installation of new courtyard fencing. That was delayed but has been completed. Also, in red, indicatiung new work on that southeast block: courtyard fencing between the East tower and 550 Vanderbilt Ave. as well as the West tower and 535 Carlton Ave. will be completed during thi

Proving the Parks investment; yes, document shows that Forest City (initial developer) put $1M into the Dean Street Playground

We'd already been told, but it is worth seeing proof that the developer of Atlantic Yards--before it was renamed Pacific Park--did in fact fulfill a small but not unimportant part of the project requirements. I raised the issue in July, noting that, as I  wrote  in March 2018, the project Development Agreement with Empire State Development, the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project, states that "prior to the Substantial Completion of Phase II," which is  May 12, 2035 , the developer (now Greenland Forest City Partners) "shall collectively invest (or shall cause to be invested)" a total of $3 million in the aggregate, for the improvement of existing parks near and around the project site. Within that total, $1 million must be invested before the "Outside Phase I Substantial Completion Date," which is 5/12/22, 12 years after the Project Effective Date, again subject to Unavoidable Delays. As I wrote, if the $1.25 million-plus earlier pledge