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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)

In latest Forbes Global 2000, Greenland Holdings, parent of Atlantic Yards developer, downgraded to 831, from 415. That does not suggest deep pockets.

The 2023 Forbes Global 2000 is out, ranking companies on four metrics: sales, profits, assets and market value. (The better known Fortune Global 500 only looks at revenue.) It's not looking good for Greenland Holdings Group (aka Greenland Holdings Corp.), the Shanghai-based parent of Greenland USA, the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park master developer. Forbes has downgraded Greenland to 831 on the list, a precipitous drop from the 2022 rank of 415. That itself was the reversal of a trend, since Greenland had reached 307 in 2020, then dropped to 372 in 2021. Notably, revenue has fallen some 25%, from $84.5 billion to $63.3 billion; assets have diminished from $215.8 billion to to $190.4 billion, perhaps due to sell-offs; and profits, already rather slim at $2.2 billion last year, are almost minuscule, cut to $299.4 million. No wonder the stock price is down , as is its credit rating. Market cap declines, too Also of note: though it's not in the screenshot above, Forbes' ranki

WSJ: yes, there's a market for cities, outside office buildings. That helps Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, but there are other headwinds.

American Cities Are Starting to Thrive Again. Just Not Near Office Buildings. , the Wall Street Journal reported 5/30/23: The pandemic and remote work have done little to dent the overall appeal of cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, foot-traffic and rent data show. Instead, the pandemic has shifted the urban center of gravity, moving away from often sterile office districts to neighborhoods with apartments, bars and restaurants. "We're now back to what cities really are—they're not containers for working," said Richard Florida, a specialist in city planning at the University of Toronto. "They're places for people to live and connect with others." So--and this observation isn't new--that's ultimately a vote of confidence for residential developments like Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, which offer access to urban amenities. The caveats on that are the upfront cost of the platform, needed for six approved towers; the pending fines of $2

OK, the Barclays Center is selling tickets (starting at $80) for the NBA Draft on June 22

When I wrote last week about the Barclays Center's June 2023 event calendar, as circulated to neighbors, I noted that they omitted the NBA Draft, scheduled for Thursday, June 2022 and held annually (for a while) at the arena. I also queried an arena rep about the omission, but didn't get a response. I noted that the NBA was already selling premium "experiences," with seats close in, though the past pattern was to sell upper bowl seats as well. Well, it turns out, Barclays is selling upper tickets to the (more or less) hoi polloi, at least those willing to pony up nearly $80 or more for an upper bowl seat. Ticket sales start at 10 am today. As shown in the image below, only selected sections of the arena, mostly facing the stage, are for sale.

The southeast block now has four towers. The views from the south and from the north differ greatly, and that's without the towers planned over the railyard.

The southeast block of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project has been built out, with four towers. It looks very different from the south and from the north--by design, as the project's Design Guidelines set out , among other goals, to"[r]educe building scale as the project meets Dean Street." The relatively lower-rise street walls along Dean Street, are supposed to harmonize--or, at least, not clash too much--with the lower-rise buildings across the street, which are not part of the project.  The base heights for the interior towers at 595 Dean, aka B12 & B13, range from 86' to 100', while the tower at 550 Vanderbilt, aka B11, has a base height of 86' but with a street wall of 60', leading to a small setback, and the tower at 535 Carlton, aka B14, has similar  dimensions  (though the base height is 85'4") After that, all portions of the building taller than the maximum building base height must be set back  55 to 60 feet from that base. V

At East Tower of 595 Dean, lobby-plus-canopy serves... Chelsea Piers, not residential tenants.

There's a prominent and impressive lobby-plus-canopy at the East Tower of the two-tower 595 Dean complex. It just happens to support the Chelsea Piers fitness center, not the building's residents. As I wrote in April, while in an alternative plan for the complex it might've been plausible to demarcate the building's entry with a canopy, in this case the interests of the commercial tenant take precedence. And that was a giveaway from the public authority, Empire State Development, that has the contradictory role of overseeing and shepherding the project. Photos by Norman Oder, June 1  

Next Saturday, "Brooklyn Dreams," an artist's walk around the Atlantic Yards footprint

An announcement for “Brooklyn Dreams," performance work by Elaine Angelopoulos : “Brooklyn Dreams” recounts the saga of how political and urban development decisions affect each individual life on multiple levels of their daily reality. Angelopoulos will emulate the appearance of a construction worker while singing song ballads and reciting accounts of the affects of urban renewal from conversations recorded 10 years ago. As a performance that roams, Flaneur Angelopoulos will be singing while guiding the audience in a walk around the Atlantic Yards foot print, now in a neighborhood identified as “Pacific Park”. Saturday, June 10th, 2023 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm (rain date: Saturday, June 17, 2023) We will gather at the Ursula Von Rydingsvard sculpture “Ona” near the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn, beginning at 3:30pm. The performance will begin at 3:45 pm. The duration is 90 minutes followed by a Q/A at the tip of the Barclay’s Stadium footprint. Performance Ro

Coming to Barclays Center (presumably) in the fall: Fini Pizza, home of the (tasty) $5 slice, at the retail space formerly occupied by Starbucks.

Photos/Norman Oder/June 1 Remember, the Starbucks Coffee located at the north end of the Barclays Center front doors, near Atlantic Avenue?  Well, it closed during the pandemic--the last Yelp review is from March 2020. So it's interesting to see that Fini Pizza , which opened in Williamsburg last year (and has since expanded to Amangansett, on Long Island's East End), will be coming to that space, as shown in the photos.  In other words, there will be more baking and venting needed. Fini gets 4 stars on Yelp. It's a new-wave place, with higher-end ingredients, so slices aren't cheap, starting at $4.75 , plus tax.  Eater's assessment was that "something quite tasty is happening here, albeit for $5 a slice." Barstool gave it a 7.9 (out of 10 ). The QR code leads to a modest sweepstakes , offering a $50 pizza gift card and t-shirt. The Sweepstakes period runs from May 19-Sept. 15, and winners will be chosen around Sept. 18. So it seems they'll open in

Barclays Center releases June 2022 event calendar: ten ticketed events, plus four graduation ceremonies (two of them today). They omitted the NBA Draft.

The Barclays Center yesterday circulated its June 2023 event calendar, with ten announced ticketed events, including six New York Liberty games and four concerts. The calendar also lists four graduation ceremonies: Brooklyn College, John Jay, City Tech, Borough of Manhattan Community College. The first two are being held today, with doors opening at 8 am and the second event ending at 6 pm. But they left out the NBA Draft, which will be held Thursday, June 22. While the Barclays Center does  not list ticket sales , the NBA offers  ticket packages , with various perks. Wow--they start at  $429  and go quickly to  $1,199 ,  $1,299 ,  $1,399 ,  $2,399 , and  $2,999 , plus one option,  Hall of Fame , where you have to call for pricing.  (In previous years, tickets were  sold for lower prices  and at higher volume, but apparently the NBA--and the arena operators--are aiming for high-rollers seeking unique experiences. Oddly enough, StubHub has four  upper bowl seats --at $347 and $363 each,

Greenland Holdings Corp., Shanghai-based parent of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park developer, sees its stock price continue to decline.

So, how is Greenland Holdings Corp. (aka Greenland Holdings or Greenland Group), the Shanghai-based conglomerate that owns nearly all of the main developer of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, doing? Not well. According to Google Finance , as excerpted below, the stock price on the Shanghai Stock Exchange is 2.83 yuan, almost two-thirds below the peak in late 2020, but not quite as low as the 2.55 yuan it hit in the last year. So the company, like other financially stressed Chinese developers, has high debts, a low credit rating, and, at least according to the Google Finance calculations--which may not be fully reliable--a price/earnings (P/E) ratio of 180.72. Note: the Wall Street Journal says  the P/E ratio is 87.62. Yahoo Finance says 94.33. Either way, that's quite high. The median P/E for the S&P 500 was 14.93 last month, according to Investopedia. Greenland last paid a dividend in July 2021, which means its retaining cash to pay its debts. Note: Greenland USA owns 95% of Gr

The clock ticks: the May 31, 2025 affordable housing deadline is two years away. The developer will try to avoid fines. Will renegotiation serve public interest?

From 2/22/18 Forest City Realty Trust annual report : On June 27, 2014, the City of New York and State of New York entities revised certain project requirements with the goal of accelerating the construction of affordable housing. Among the requirements, affordable units are required to constitute 35% of all units for which construction has commenced until 1,050 affordable units have been started, after which the percentage drops to 25%. Failure to meet this requirement will prevent the joint venture from seeking new building permits, as well as give the State the right to seek injunctive relief. Also, temporary certificates of occupancy (“TCOs”) for a total of 2,250 affordable housing units are required to be issued by  May 31, 2025  or a $2,000 per unit per month penalty will be imposed for those affordable units which have not received TCOs by such date, until issued. (Emphasis added) That deadline won't be met, given the failure to start a platform over the Metropolitan Transp

From the latest Construction Update: continued work at the 595 Dean site. No platform work planned, but odd (sloppy?) mention of future suspension of bus service.

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, May 29 (though a holiday), has not been circulated by email yet by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation (presumably) by master developer Greenland Forest City Partners. But I did notice it yesterday--maybe it was there earlier--at ESD's Atlantic Yards page . Again there's little change, compared with the  previous update , though there is something odd. The previous document simply said, regarding Block 1120, the crucial first block of the Vanderbilt Yard, where a platform would support three towers, "There are no construction activities scheduled for the reporting period." (The block is bounded by Sixth and Carlton avenues, and Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue.) The latest update repeats that, but goes on to add phrasing that was previously part of the Updates when the platform work was teased,  starting in May 2022 : The MTA B45 bus stop at A

Bond With Brooklyn? Well, some pushback on Instagram regarding 595 Dean: "Affordable Housing, not at all!"

It's hardly a surprise that  Bond With Brooklyn , the social media platform from developer TF Cornerstone, is still recruiting applicants for the income-targeted "affordable" housing at the two-tower 595 Dean (aka B12/B13). After all, the rents are, while below market for such new construction in that location, affordable only to a relatively small swath of the population, middle-class households looking to pay $2,290 for a studio, $2,690 for a 1-BR, and $3,360 for a 2-BR.  On Instagram, where Bond With Brooklyn ads entered my feed, they couldn't avoid--as shown below--some angry comments, as in "What a joke for 'affordable housing'" or "Affordable Housing, not at all!"  Hence the developer's use of the term "rent-stabilized." From Instagram

Another sign of how Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park oversight has run aground: again, state lets bi-monthly meeting schedule slack

Oversight of and transparency regarding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has continued to slack, as there's no sight of new construction. Yes, TF Cornerstone is finishing the buildings at, and open space around, the two-tower 595 Dean Street, and Chelsea Piers will open its fitness center and fieldhouse next month--and it's unclear how that will all work.  And the School Construction Authority is still working on the middle school at Sixth Avenue between Pacific and Dean streets, at the base of the completed 662 Pacific Street tower, aka Plank Road. Otherwise, there's nothing new pending. And, for months, we haven't heard anything from master developer Greenland Forest City Partners, which is dominated by Greenland USA.  We don't even know if Greenland USA has replaced its longtime Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park point man, Scott Solish, who left in February. We don't know if Greenland has any new estimate on its ability to start the crucial platform over the Vanderbilt

If affordable housing advocates support an extension of the 421-a deadline, with more affordability, what does that signal for the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park deadline?

I wrote 3/6/23 how, according to the Real Deal, some legislators support extending the construction completion deadline for projects supported by the 421-a tax abatement for four years--from June 15, 2026 to June 15, 2030--but not for all projects, as Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed. Rather, they'd offer that carrot only to buildings that contain more than the required minimum under the tax break provisions, which is 30% at 130% of Area Median Income (AMI), middle-income units aimed at those earning six figures. If so, that could be extended to projects along Atlantic Avenue, just east of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park site, that were approved in spot rezonings in recent years, but perhaps not B5, 700 Atlantic Avenue, the first Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park tower over the railyard. A renewed argument In a 5/23/23 essay in City Limits,  Opinion: 421-a Deadline Threatens the Promise of Gowanus Rezoning , Michelle de la Uz, executive director of Fifth Avenue Committee, and Rachel Fee,

If the New York Liberty is one of two WBNA "Super Squads," that helps give a halo to the owners, right?

So the sports website The Athletic, owned by the New York Times, recently debuted a series called Super Squads , following the top WNBA teams Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty. The pitch : The Athletic’s Super Squads series will document these teams’ quests for a championship as we dive into WNBA trends and issues; share snapshots of the lives of star players like Breanna Stewart , A’ja Wilson and Candace Parker ; and talk to team owners and front-office executives to explain how the WNBA has entered a new era of player empowerment. The creation of the Liberty’s impressive roster through free-agency moves — Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot moving to New York — and adding Jonquel Jones in a blockbuster trade , as well as the Aces adding another All-Star in Parker to their defending championship roster, sparked conversations about the way teams can be assembled; salary caps for WNBA teams and pay disparity for women’s basketball players; travel accommodations; overseas play and much

Scenes from outside the New York Liberty season opener: plaza truncated; new players to promote; snags on Dean Street

The New York Liberty, the anchor tenant of the Barclays Center for the next months, are a WNBA superteam and, based at least on the home debut May 21, have a better chance of selling out the arena's lower bowl. drawing an announced 8,575 . As I wrote, the team, owned by Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, drew  5,327 last year, a significant improvement over the previous year but still below the midpoint of the league. The Athletic reported that the Liberty tout a 200% increase in season-ticket sales.   When I walked by, shortly before the 2 pm game time, I saw the arena plaza cordoned off with fencing (as shown in the photo at right), limiting access to ticketholders, including a basketball court, various souvenir booths, and photo opportunities. That's par for the course with other major events, so it's not surprising; it's just another reminder that the "public" plaza is not so public when the arena operators need it for business reasons. New players to promote

WNBA's New York Liberty start their season tomorrow; while SeatGeek's logo appears on Barclays Center website, tickets link goes to Ticketmaster

The WNBA's New York Liberty "superteam" makes their home debut tomorrow at the Barclays Center.  Note, as shown below in the screenshots, that the team, not surprisingly, charges higher prices for the first game compared to the second. It's a little hard to compare the platforms, the cheapest tickets all cost more than $32, which, while perhaps a bargain compared to the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, can be challenging for families. Also note that, while in neither game is the team selling tickets in the Upper Bowl, surely based on past demand, for the first game a few more sections in the arena's midsection are open. Despite the website claim that events are presented by (on the way out) ticketing partner SeatGeek, the arena's official link takes you to (incoming) partner Ticketmaster. Which may not be where the best-value seats are located, given that, as far as I can tell, Ticketmaster charges more fees than some rivals. Consider, Tickemaster acknowledges that t

In corporate history of Forest City (from new enterprise launched by another Ratner branch), Bruce Ratner's triumphs and failures are ignored or downplayed

I wrote yesterday about how Bruce Ratner's cousins had formed two separate real-estate ventures, The Max Collaborative and Uplands, organized on familial lines, after their nationally traded, family-controlled company, Forest City Realty Trust (originally Forest City Enterprises), was absorbed in 2018 by the conglomerate Brookfield Asset Management. It's notable how the history of Forest City Enterprises, as told  by The Max Collaborative (TMC), diminishes and obscures Bruce Ratner's role as head of the New York subsidiary, Forest City Ratner Companies (later Forest City New York), responsible for some of the nationally-traded company's signature achievements, in its largest market.. As shown in the screenshot at right, TMC makes just one mention of Bruce--his departure from the corporate board. He's almost disappeared. The dis seems deliberate. I can only speculate why. Partly it may be to emphasize the collective achievements of those currently running TMC, thus