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Showing posts from August, 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)

Atlantic Ave. Mixed-Use Plan "Community Vision & Priorities Report" avoids density question--which should be answered at City Planning meeting next Wednesday.

The Department of City Planning (DCP) and 35th District Council Member Crystal Hudson on 8/29/23 released what Hudson, in an email , called "the final community recommendations for the Atlantic Avenue Mixed Use Plan (AAMUP)," an effort to equitably pursue new housing, jobs, road safety, and open space along a contexted corridor.  The Atlantic Avenue Mixed-Use Plan (AAMUP) Community Vision and Priorities Report , which covers 13 blocks with industrial zoning at or near Atlantic between Vanderbilt and Nostrand avenues, is also at bottom. That led to summaries like  Dense Housing, Job Creation Prioritized in Community-Led Plan for Atlantic Avenue Rezoning , from Brownstoner, and  Brooklynites Push for Safer Streets, Affordable Housing in Atlantic Avenue Rezoning , from the Commercial Observer. That, however, deserves some big caveats. First, the reports punts on the key question of how dense the blocks at issue--starting just east of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project--sho

From Common Edge: Revisiting Brooklyn’s Barclays Center—a Telling Landscape

From CommonEdge,  Revisiting Brooklyn’s Barclays Center—a Telling Landscape : The lead of my article: On Sept. 25, 2012, Brooklyn writer Andrew Blum tweeted the photo above left of the new Barclays Center arena, three days before its opening, with a series of concerts by Brooklyn native son Jay-Z. In her review a few weeks later, Philadelphia Inquirer critic Inga Saffron called Barclays a “glam, gritty architectural success,” quoting tweets from Blum about “the speed with which it has been absorbed into the neighborhood.” Well, sort of. The arena didn’t cause the “carmageddon” some feared, in part because fans of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, which moved to Brooklyn, stopped following their team, and new fans took the convenient subway or even walked. But the 22-acre project dubbed Atlantic Yards when it was announced in 2003 and renamed Pacific Park in 2014, has grown haltingly and uneasily around the arena, signaling unfulfilled promises. No wonder the website HellGate recently called

Flashback, 2004: the progressive argument for Inclusionary Zoning and (before the Atlantic Yards version) Community Benefits Agreements

My post yesterday ( link ) on the book Unequal Cities and discussion surrounding it pushed me to take a look at some progressive advocacy advocacy reports aimed to influence city officials. First, let's look at a few parts of  Remaking New York City: Can Prosperity Be Shared and Sustainable?  (also below), published in November 2004 by the Pratt Institute, and written by urban planners Brad Lander, then head of Pratt Center for Community Development, and Laura Wolf-Powers, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning, School of Architecture, Pratt Institute. The report gave Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s administration a mixed assessment: The Bloomberg vision for New York City’s future is compelling in many respects: its focus on livability and public space, its high design standards, its acknowledgement that adaptation to a largely post-industrial economy is needed in land use planning, workforce development and economic development policy. But the vision also implies several assump

AY down the memory hole: In book Unequal Cities and discussion, the "borderline calamity" Community Benefits Agreement gets ignored and mangled

Last November, the Skyscraper Museum held a book talk,  Unequal Cities: Overcoming Anti-Urban Bias to Reduce Inequality in the United States .  The bottom line, for me, after reading the book and watching the video is that the author's historical analysis seems sound, but his solutions--especially related to Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) and other topics I've reported on--are based on inadequate research or explanation. In other words, his focus on criticizing progressives for not embracing the possibilities of growth is not matched by scrutiny of developers and their allies.  The summary, from the Skyscraper Museum: Cities are central to prosperity: they are hubs of innovation and growth. Yet the economic vitality of wealthy cities is marred by persistent and pervasive inequality. In his new book Unequal Cities , economist Richard McGahey argues that deeply entrenched anti-urban policies and politics limit cities' options to address inequality. Many factors – struct

Looking at the ESD's 421-a subsitute plan for Gowanus, a possible template for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park. The devil's in the details, and the timeline might be flexible.

If a Gowanus-style deal is under consideration for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, with the Empire State Development--the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project--re-creating the impact of the 421-a tax benefit (as I wrote ), what might that mean? I wrote last month quoting the press release,  Governor Hochul Announces New Executive Action on Housing Crisis to Increase Supply, Create Affordable Housing, and Promote Broader Housing Growth , in which Gov Kathy Hochul: announced a program aimed at targeting specific benefits and housing obligations in line with the former 421-a(16) program for development proposals currently vested in the expired program in the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn. Proposals would respond to a request for applications administered by Empire State Development. For eligible proposals, Empire State Development would purchase the privately owned properties for a nominal fee, lease the property back to the original owners for a long-term lease term that

From City Limits: "State Weighs Tax Deal, Plans ‘Public Engagement’ for Atlantic Yards as Housing Deadline Nears" (plus bonus material)

Yesterday City Limits published my article,  State Weighs Tax Deal, Plans ‘Public Engagement’ for Atlantic Yards as Housing Deadline Nears .  While a key outline of the potential compromise emerged two weeks ago--The Real Deal reported on the possibility of a substitute for the 421-a tax break--my new article teases out how, based on discussions at the Aug. 2 meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), state officials do not seem ready to push developer Greenland USA. As I wrote, some AY CDC directors, notably Gib Veconi and Ron Shiffman, were skeptical that ESD’s proposed “community engagement process” regarding the project’s future, including affordability of future units. could be taken seriously when the state has not enforced previous promises or pushed to ensure that the developer would meet the 2025 affordable housing deadline or be held accountable. For the rest of the article, go here , but let me add a little more below. Bonus material That prop

Former Islanders General Manager: the Barclays Center was a crucial fallback for the team, but "logistically it was a hot mess"

It's not necessarily new, but an 8/19/23 New York Post interview with former New York Islanders General Manager turns up some frustrated feelings about the team's ill-fated and temporary relocation to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “If [owner] Charles [Wang] didn’t go to Barclays Center, the Islanders wouldn’t have remained on Long Island," Garth Snow said, referring to the failure of Nassau County voters to approve a new arena project, known as Lighthouse. "But logistically it was a hot mess.” So they moved in 2015-16 and got some buzz, but saw fans alienated by the commute, the lack of parking (and tailgating) and arena managers' willingness to mess with traditions, like a goal horn and the opportunity to watch practice up close. So the team moved back to the downsized Coliseum for two seasons before the new UBS Arena was built. From the Post: “I think our winning percentage was pretty good at Barclays,” Snow said jokingly. “Maybe the opposing team was having