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Showing posts from March, 2023

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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)

Updated: Agenda for tomorrow's ESD board meeting posted with less than 2.5 hours before noon deadline to comment. Nothing related to Atlantic Yards.

As I wrote yesterday, the big issues facing Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park--the delayed platform, the affordable housing deadline and penalty--all deserve discussion by the board of Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project. That board meets Thursday. but requires public comment on Agenda items by noon Wednesday. Besides that inability to respond to the board's discussions, potential commenters are hampered by the fact that Agenda (which should be here ), hasn't been made public yet. When I wrote yesterday, that deadline was less than 29 hours away.  I checked at 9:30 am today. No Agenda. Sometime between then and 9:56 am, when I checked again, the Agenda and Materials was posted. There's nothing related to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park. Needless to say, less than 2.5 hours to read and comment on a 328-page document means that public comment is essentially squelched.

Typically late, official notes from Quality of Life meeting don't mention the developer's pause on platform, or ESD downplaying fines for absent affordable housing

The official notes for the most Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meetings, typically held bi-monthly until the recent hiatus from September 2022 to February 2023, typically don't arrive for more than a month, sometimes longer, from meeting host Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project. Why the delay? Unclear. (Legal review? Understaffing? Bureaucratic sloth?) The recently surfacing notes for the 2/7/23 meeting--at this  ESD link  and at bottom--come with a side of irony, given what we've learned since then. I pointed out at the time that it was curious that Scott Solish, the point man for Greenland USA, was conveniently absent, which meant the developer didn't have to answer hard questions about the stalled plans for the platform over the Vanderbilt Yard or their presumed effort to avoid $2,000/month fines for affordable units--as of now, 876 (or 877)--not delivered by May 2025. But the "scheduling conflict&quo

From The New Yorker: "New York is a city of neighborhoods, and each has its own paper." (No way. Much missing in local coverage.)

The New Yorker on 3/13/23 published  A Coup at the WestView News . an entertaining and troubling story about the succession battle at an Greenwich Village newspaper run by eccentric (at best) seniors. It's gotten much deserved praise, but what stuck in my craw was this assumption that we live in an era of good local coverage. Writes Zach Helfand: New York is a city of neighborhoods, and each has its own paper. Bowery Boogie, Rockaway Times, Norwood News, Canarsie Courier. Amid the larger forces of homogenization, the community rag remains a stubborn fixture . The city has a hundred and sixteen of them—your foreign-language Der Yid and ethnic Haitian Times and fully digital—and that doesn’t include dozens of newsletters, zines, and shoppers.... Now, as then, the papers tend to be vehicles for ads for hyper-local periodontists and shoe-repair joints, but they bestow upon the bodega browser a sense of belonging to a particular place, even as foreign investors buy u

ESD board meets Thursday, but comments required *the day before.* Will the Atlantic Yards stall be discussed? The Agenda hasn't emerged.

There's a monthly meeting this Thursday, March 23, at 9:30 am, of the Directors of the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that, among other things, oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park. It's probably wise to keep an eye on ESD meetings since that's where discussion about the murky future of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park might surface.  You'd think it would be appropriate to alert the board that developer Greenland USA has lost its Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park point man and has paused or discarded plans to start the platform--and likely wants to renegotiate the looming fines for missing the May 2025 affordable housing deadline. The meeting is hybrid--in person at ESD offices in midtown Manhattan, and viewable via webcast. Limited transparency Either way, however, they're using the pandemic to limit the ability to comment. Pre-pandemic, members of the public at the meetings could get up and

From the latest Construction Update: developer finally acknowledges reality, as crucial platform work posited as imminent since last May is now off the table.

NY Post, 9/30/19 The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning March 20, was circulated at 4:48 pm yesterday (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners (GFCP), which is dominated by Greenland USA. The big change, compared with the  previous update , is the belated acknowledgment that work on the crucial first block of the platform--teased as starting last May , with a repeat in every subsequent two-week Update suggesting potential work--has been put aside for now.  That platform, between Sixth and Carlton avenues and between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, would support three towers over the MTA's Vanderbilt Yard. A second platform block, one block east, between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, would support three more towers and help deliver the lion's share of the project's much-touted open space. That suggests that Greenland USA, having lost its Atlantic Yar

Where are the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park towers? Today, promotional copy (mostly) says Prospect Heights. But the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership still claims them.

Atlantic Yards, some long-timers might remember, was once promoted by original developer Forest City Ratner as "A Vision For Downtown Brooklyn," as in the 2006 brochure at right and the project web site from that year. That's changed, mostly, likely because the developers and operators recognize reality--mostly--as well the evolving relationship between Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park and the neighborhoods it abuts. The Downtown Brooklyn strategy As of the project's announcement in December 2003 and for maybe the next half-decade, there was some strategy to contending that the project was an extension of Downtown Brooklyn. After all, this border zone in Prospect Heights, near--or in one case replacing some--row houses, couldn't be seen as a natural extension of that generally low-rise neighborhood, or neighboring Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, or Boreum Hill. (That said, across broad Atlantic Avenue, on the north side, there are some high-rises.) After, only Downtown Br

Final sponsor unit at 550 Vanderbilt, Penthouse East, now listed for $4.75M, 5% below previous price, 18% below offering price.

As I wrote last May, with all but one of the 278 units (which include a super's apartment)  finally sold , the developers of 17-story 550 Vanderbilt (B11), the only condo building so far in the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project, finally put Penthouse East back up for sale. From StreetEasy The price then was $4,995,000, for 7 rooms, including 3 beds and 3.5 baths. That represented a tiny, marketing change from the 2019 listing of $5,000,000, but a 14% cut from the original price of $5,805,000. Last month, as shown in the screenshot at right, the price was lowered to $4,750,000, a 4.9% cut from the previous listing and an 18.2% reduction from the original price. The unit was built by Greenland Forest City Partners, with Greenland USA having a 70% share in the building. Later, after the joint venture built three towers, Greenland bought out all but 5% of original developer Forest City Ratner's interest in the remaining project going forward.  Looking at the number A sale for $4

Developer proposes 13-story building to replace Atlantic Ave. strip mall in eastern Crown Heights, well beyond Nostrand Ave. boundary of current rezoning study.

A proposed 13-story residential building would jump-start the transformation of a border zone in Eastern Crown Heights known for auto-related businesses and lower-cost retail, adjacent to the elevated Long Island Rail Road tracks.  And that proposal suggests that developers are, perhaps unsurprisingly, ahead of city planners, just as the rezonings around Atlantic Avenue east of Vanderbilt Avenue and the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park site outpaced city policy. Last year, only after several one-off rezonings in the so-called M-CROWN district, which enabled larger buildings with affordable housing but no overall city investment to accommodate growth, did the city finally agree  to an area-wide rezoning, the Atlantic Avenue Mixed-Use Plan . But now an ambitious project has surfaced well beyond the Nostrand Avenue eastern boundary of that plan, opposite the elevated Long Island Rail Road tracks, which rise from underground shortly before the LIRR's Nostrand Avenue stop. Community Board 8

At 595 Dean, initial units marketed with one month free. Move-ins May 1, not March/April as previously projected. No word yet on lottery for "affordable" units.

While at a meeting last month, a representative of developer TF Cornerstone said they expected to have market-rate renters move into the two-tower 595 Dean complex (aka B12/B13) by the end of March or early April, listings on StreetEasy project availabilities as of May 1. (The complex doesn't yet have a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy .) Those listings come with the carrot of one month free on 12-month leases, lowering the net effective rent for at least that first year. Even with the delay until May, it seems certain that market-rate residents will occupy the building well before those gaining middle-income "affordable" units, given that the city's housing lottery hasn't launched--it will be on HousingConnect . "So the marketing [for affordable units] will open sometime in March or April and then hopefully we'll have people moving in this May," TF Cornerstone's Amir Stein said at the meeting.  That struck me as unrealistic. Such lotteries s

As new-look Nets show staying power, the enduring enigma of the Kyrie Irving years. From NY Magazine, a provisional explanation.

It's been little more than a month since the Brooklyn Nets  traded  star guard Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks after they couldn't agree on a contract, leading to the  trade  of fellow star Kevin Durant and the dismantling of a one-time superteam that, in a 6/2/21 New York Times Magazine, in a profile of Durant,  called  "(Possibly) the Greatest Basketball Team of All Time" and, as of this past December, before Durant's injury, looked like they could blow through the league. The new-look Brooklyn Nets stumbled, with a new starting lineup learning to play together, but have rebounded. Yesterday, they beat the NBA's Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets in a squeaker. From  The Athletic  yesterday: The Nets have gone from treading water to being the wave. A month ago they self-detonated a title contender and now find themselves as a team with all the things they couldn’t have with stars: regular availability, no drama and chemistry. Though they’ve weath