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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)

Union Square Travel Agency, a legal cannabis business (headed by former NYS official overseeing AY), opens in Downtown Brooklyn, near Jay-Z's old stash spot.

Last July, I wrote ( link ) how former Atlantic Yards state overseer Arana Hankin (now Arana Hankin-Biggers), after "growing disillusioned with economic development efforts," had become a cannabis innovator, Co-Founder and President, Union Square Travel Agency, a licensed legal cannabis business, which partners with The Doe Fund, which works with the homeless.  Hankin-Biggers' LinkedIn describes it as "A cannabis retail company that is committed to supporting efforts to reverse the damage created by the war on drugs." Now the Union Square Travel Agency has opened its third recreational dispensary, in Downtown Brooklyn at 118-122 Flatbush Avenue.  Circling back As reported by the website Stupid Dope: The 4,800 square foot dispensary, designed by the acclaimed creative team Leong Leong, promises a visual feast representative of the brand’s fun yet sophisticated approach to cannabis culture. Located just a few doors down from Jay Z’s old stash spot and within wa

BSE Global news: Barclays (with no retail branches) becomes New York Liberty's official banking partner; new VP of Communications named.

Barclays To Become the Official Banking Partner of WNBA’s New York Liberty , BSE Global announced March 27: NEW YORK – Barclays and New York Liberty today announced a new multi-year partnership in which Barclays will become the team’s Official Banking Partner, in a deal that includes marquee jersey patch placement beginning with the 2024 WNBA season. This partnership, one of the largest injections of sponsorship capital in Liberty history, underscores a mutual commitment to advancing gender equity on and off the court. Barclays’ investment in the New York Liberty adds to the existing strong partnership with BSE Global and accompanies the bank’s existing Barclays Center naming rights and Brooklyn Nets team sponsorship. This deal reinforces Barclays’ commitment to women’s sports, a commitment underpinned by the title sponsorships of the Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship, the top two leagues of professional women’s soccer in the UK, which remains the largest

At BSE Global, Shorenstein's a well-wired Chief External Affairs Officer. Also, she was appointed by Gov. Hochul to the NYS Gaming Commission. Can't hurt, right?

Either way you look at it, the appointment last September of Marissa Shorenstein as BSE Global's Chief External Affairs Officer suggests that the company, which runs the Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center, and associated properties, wants to be a player. First, as far as I can tell, the company never previously had a Chief External Affairs Officer to oversee "communications, community and government relations," as stated in her company bio . (Previously, Mandy Gutmann rose to become  Executive VP fro Communications and Community Relations.) Second, Shorenstein comes with an extensive resume , working in both the private sector--WeWork, AT&T, SKDK--and government, including for Andrew Cuomo's and Carl McCall's gubernatorial campaigns, and Press Secretary and Deputy Director of Communications for Gov. David Paterson. From 2004-2007, she served as Senior Manager for Strategic Planning and Corporate Communications for the New York Jets (while going to Fordham Law at

As the Barclays Center now promotes the WNBA's New York Liberty, synergy next door with Glowbar serving as Liberty's "Official Facial Studio"

It's New York Liberty season now, and the WNBA team is selling more tickets than ever So it stands to reason that the Barclays Center operating company, also owned by Liberty owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, would use its available canvas--including the wall of the arena's Dean Street entrance and the loading dock doors---to promote the Liberty. Photos by Norman Oder Below is a wider view, which takes in the 461 Dean tower at left and a piece of the 38 Sixth tower at right. Welcome, Glowbar Below, the photo shows that the facial chain Glowbar has opened on the Atlantic Avenue flank of 18 Sixth Ave. tower (B4, aka Brooklyn Crossing). When I first mentioned the chain's arrival, I suggested that perhaps some arenagoers might visit. In fact, Glowbar has announced itself as the "Official Facial Studio of the New York Liberty," as shown in the photo below. What does that mean? Well, according to an interview --part of a "partnership post"--with People Brands and

With new Brooklyn office buildings struggling to fill space (even with "HUGS"), that again suggests Site 5 project would be residential, not office.

Hey, remember when, eight years ago, a representative of joint venture Greenland Forest City Partners, justifying plans to move the bulk of the unbuilt "Miss Brooklyn" tower, once slated to loom over the arena, across Flatbush Avenue to create a giant two-tower project at Site 5, stated , "We think the time is right for the borough to have an iconic office building." Well, as one of the Atlantic Yards mantras goes, "Projects change, markets change." (Thanks, Jim Stuckey.) Given the pandemic and the shift to remote work, office space is less desirable, hence articles like Office Building Losses Start to Pile Up, and More Pain Is Expected Office Building Losses Start to Pile Up, and More Pain Is Expected , from the New York Times. And the market for office space, especially in Brooklyn, seems to be receding.  That means, at least in the near term, that the still-pending project at Site 5, which requires governmental action to unlock the new development righ

Same as it ever was: “That’s how you get [casino] projects done, right? You inflate the job prospects, you inflate the revenue.”

New York Magazine's May 28, 2024 feature  New Jackpot City  is well worth the read. Note the subheading, "Eleven rivals. Countless billions. One prize: the right to build a casino in the heart of New York." Noah Shachtman writes: The Encore [Boston Harbor], which is operated by Wynn [Resorts], is considered a relatively strong performer among recent big-city casino projects, not all of which have proved profitable. A recent report by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that the site has generated nearly 10,000 jobs and is netting the state $1 billion a year in new economic activity. But Chicago’s casino experiment has been a disaster, pulling in less than half the revenue promised... In New York, Resorts World is one of three companies operating casinos upstate, and none of them have hit the revenue projections they initially promised. Several have renegotiated with the state to substantially cut their tax rates. One source with deep gaming-indust

For the fourth time, the foreclosure auction of six railyard development sites has been postponed, this time to July.

Yes, the foreclosure auction of developer Greenland USA's rights to six development sites (B5-B10) over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard has been postponed, for the fourth time, this time to July.  (I didn't get a date yet, but will update when I know more.) That's according to a spokesman for the developer, which is not in charge of the auction. Rather, a representative of the lenders, controlled by the U.S. Immigration Fund--a "regional center" that recruited immigrant investors under the EB-5 program--initiated the foreclosure, announcing auction dates in January, February, April, and June.  The development rights, which encompass about 3.5 million square feet, served as collateral for the initial $249 million and $100 million loans. I had predicted that the auction would be postponed, because there's a lot of moving parts.  After a partial repayment, Greenland owes about $286 million to the investors, who invested in two tra

Barclays Center crows, per Billboard, it was the world's top-grossing venue in April. (Thank Nicki Minaj and Bad Bunny?) In 2022, it ranked twelfth, in 2023, tenth.

From Barclays Center Twitter/X The Barclays Center had a very good April, they tell us, tweeting yesterday that the arena was the top grossing venue in the world, according to Billboard, a publication that tracks concerts, family shows, and other events--but not pro sports. I'd be curious to see the actual numbers, because it didn't look like that busy a month--unless, maybe, they added May 1 to April, thus appending one of Nicki Minaj's two huge shows. As Billboard reported. in Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday 2 World Tour Is Already the Highest Grossing Rap Tour for a Woman — and It Isn’t Over Yet , "Two nights at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on April 4 and May 1 proved the biggest [on her tour], with $4.3 million and 28,100 tickets." The April calendar The April 2024 event calendar , as seen below, also featured three Bad Bunny concerts, which reportedly sold out. I think Billboard also counted the comedy show and WWE, since pro wrestling is as much entertainment as

Will thrice-postponed foreclosure auction proceed June 5? Seems doubtful, but who knows.

After three postponement, most recently ( link ) to June 5, will the foreclosure auction of developer Greenland USA's rights to six development sites over the Vanderbilt Yard finally proceed? Well, my query to a representative of the developer didn't get an answer yet, but the track record--as well as the complexity of finding a qualified developer and resolving aspects of the deal--suggests it's unlikely. Then again, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, as I've said, is a "never say never project," which means there are always twists.

Barclays Center releases June 2024 events calendar: 13 ticketed events, including seven concerts, plus the NBA Draft. Graduation ceremonies ignored.

The Barclays Center recently circulated its June 2024 event calendar, with 13 announced ticketed events, including five New York Liberty games and and seven concerts, plus the NBA Draft. That's three more concerts than in June 2023. Also, while the June 2023 calendar also listed four graduation ceremonies, none are listed in the Community Notice below. However. as I wrote a month ago, there were already two graduation ceremonies scheduled, according to other sources, and I've found another. Maybe there are more. They include: June 4, Hunter College , 3 pm ceremony but graduates arrive at Dean Street starting at 1 pm June 5: Borough of Manhattan Community College , graduates must arrive by 7:30 a.m. and enter at Dean Street June 5: New York City College of Technology (aka City Tech), line up at 2 pm and procession at 4 pm It's helpful to community members, especially those nearby, to know when there might be large crowds near the arena. June 2023 The June 2023 event calend

BSE Global, parent of the Brooklyn Nets and arena company, reports positive community impacts, with the help of sponsors

As announced in an Oct. 13, 2023 press release,  MAXSIP BECOMES PROUD COMMUNITY PARTNER OF BROOKLYN NETS : Maxsip Telecom, a New York based telecommunications company that provides affordable and accessible communications services, has been named an official partner of the Brooklyn Nets. Maxsip Telecom offers mobile and broadband internet access to families on government assistance covered by the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). By joining with the Nets, Maxsip will be able to reach even more qualified recipients through the team's numerous community engagement programs. "We are thrilled to welcome Maxsip to the Brooklyn Nets family," said Catherine Carlson, executive vice president of global partnerships at BSE Global, parent company of the Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty and Barclays Center. "Maxsip's commitment to bridge the digital divide through free and low-cost internet services aligns with our commitment to better the lives of those in our surroundi

Reports from Barclays Center operator suggest major rebound in ticket sales, which could (finally) lead to a modestly profitable year. Credit switch to Ticketmaster?

After several very lean years, the Barclays Center appears to be on a track for a modestly profitable fiscal year, thanks to a significant increase in ticket sales, surely for concerts and other events. That could obviate the need for billionaire Joe Tsai, who owns the arena operating company, to keep putting money in to backstop the operation. The arena has been struggling. As I reported in October, the arena company in Fiscal Year 2023, which ended June 30, reported $16.1 million in net operating income (NOI), or revenue over expenses. It had to put up $21.1 million to pay off construction debt, leading to a loss of $5.1 million, as I've re-interpreted, and simplified, the calculations. (On paper, thanks to factors including depreciation and amortization, ArenaCo lost far more money.)  Tsai put up $18 million to bolster the arena's finances, less than the $38 million he contributed in FY 2022 and the $52 million he contributed in the COVID-challenged previous fiscal year.

Suing Ticketmaster and Live Nation for "monopolizing" concert markets, Justice Department alleges threats to Barclays Center, which ended SeatGeek deal.

A new federal lawsuit against Ticketmaster and concert promoter Live Nation could lead to lowered ticket costs for fans at venues like the Barclays Center, as well as increased revenues for those venues. Let's back up. In early 2023, the New York Times broke the news ( link ) that Barclays, barely 15 months into a 7-year contract with ticketing partner SeatGeek, the Barclays Center would return to its original one, Ticketmaster, the industry leader. Less than two weeks later, a Senate hearing  focused on the reputed ill effects of Ticketmaster's huge market share, given its shared ownership with the concert promoter Live Nation. At the hearing, SeatGeek CEO Jack Groetzinger revealed that Barclays had sought to keep SeatGeek--an upstart company that prides itself on innovations like 3-D views from seats and a mobile-first approach--to ticket Brooklyn Nets games while returning to Ticketmaster for concerts, a strong suggestion that they believed restoring the connection was neede

After filling the Barclays Center against Caitlin Clark & the Indiana Fever, the NY Liberty will try again. Other home games are selling none/part of the Upper Deck.

Well, heralded rookie Caitlin Clark and the WNBA's Indiana Fever have already sold out the Barclays Center when they played the New York Liberty Saturday, May 18, and it's possible that will happen again, when the Fever return June 2. If so, those may be the only two regular-season sellouts, because, at least as of now, the Liberty isn't selling all 28 Upper Deck sections for any other games. Screenshot from NY Liberty/Ticketmaster However, due to perceived demand, the Liberty is making some Upper Deck sections available for some games. That means lower prices, commensurate with more distant views. Either way, it looks like Liberty management is trying harder to maximize ticket revenue, all on the way to a hoped-for eventual billion-dollar valuation . The record so far So far, the Liberty sold out the home opener against the Fever, with 17,735 tickets distributed. (That doesn't necessarily reflect gate count, or paid attendance.)  On Monday, May 20, they drew 9,381 to

Might the tax-loss gravy train for sports team owners be stymied by new IRS compliance effort?

Sports Team Owners Face New Scrutiny From IRS Over Tax Avoidance , ProPublica reported May 2, citing a new Internal Revenue Service effort generated by a previous ProPublica investigation of how sports such owners could generate tax losses from their properties, despite their growing value. (See: the amortization bonus  and ProPublica's previous coverage of  depreciation write-offs .) From ProPublica: The effort will focus on sports industry entities that are reporting “significant tax losses” to “determine if the income and deductions driving the losses” are lawful, according to the IRS announcement earlier this year. That announcement, which consisted of one sentence on a webpage devoted to compliance campaigns by the IRS division that focuses on large businesses, did not specify what kinds of abuses the agency will be looking for. ProPublica's earlier report relied on leaked tax documents, such as that of Steve Ballmer, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, who reported "

The amortization bonus: as major-league team values increase, owners deduct more. The ethereal concept also helps the Barclays Center bottom line.

It's interesting to see Andrew Zimbalist, the country's most famous--if not most respected--sports economist, wear the white hat, as the prime source in  HOW AMERICAN TAXPAYERS SUPPORT SPORTS TEAMS AND ATHLETES , as Sportico's Brendan Coffey reported on April 17, Atlantic Yards watchers would recall that Zimbalist, on contract for original developer Forest City Ratner, produced a "study" in 2004, later updated, that predicted that Atlantic Yards would be an economic engine and deliver significant city and state tax revenues. There was much wrong with his analysis. In 2006, I called it the "$6 billion lie." Today, with the project delayed and stalled, it's clear it was even more irresponsible, since it assumed a buildout as scheduled. Today, though, if you follow Zimbalist's current take on amortization, that should lead to the recognition that the rise in the Brooklyn Nets' value is not completely deserved. Some "reasonable" subsid

Was Mikhail Prokhorov's profit when selling the Brooklyn Nets & arena company "only" $600 million? Even so, he's still the big Atlantic Yards winner.

How much profit did Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov make in selling the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center operating company to Alibaba billionaire Joe Tsai, in two phases, starting in 2017 and ending in 2019? Well, we've never had firm numbers, especially since there were multiple components to the bottom line, including team and arena operations and payrolls, debt, and investment in a new training center. Slate estimated the profit at $2 billion. So did a contributor to Forbes Russia. At various points, NetsDaily estimated $1 billion  as well as $2 billion . I noted reports between $1 billion and $2 billion, but also pointed out an otherwise disregarded element of the deal, which involved Prokhorov immediately giving up $345 million, which later translated into a Tsai rebate of about $300 million. That should've diminished the total paid, variously reported as between $3 billion and $3.3 billion. Just $600 million? Over time, more details seep out, and now there's ev

Owners hope for billion-dollar New York Liberty valuation. That bolsters the case for "additional rent" paid to public sector for using the (tax-exempt) Barclays Center.

The  WNBA's New York Liberty, which until last year's playoffs were selling tickets to the Barclays Center's lower bowl, sold out  (17,735) the entire arena Saturday for their home opener, which featured the Indiana Fever and the star rookie Caitlin Clark.  (The Fever still are weak, and the Liberty won easily.) And, as NetsDaily recently reported , Clara Wu Tsai, who owns the team along with her husband Joe Tsai (and serves as its front person), recently told Harvard Business School’s New York alumni club that, as TV viewership grows, team valuations will rise over a decade, and the Liberty could become “the first billion dollar women’s sports franchise." That would be quite a leap, but consider how the valuation of the New Jersey Nets, once $300 million upon the purchase by Bruce Ratner (and others) in 2004, inflated to more than $3 billion (with the arena company) by 2017, and now could be worth far more. As NetsDaily reported, the Liberty purchase, from New York Kn

Daily News editorializes, vaguely, "Nudge forward Atlantic Yards: Brooklyn housing plan must be completed." Renegotiate fines? Pay for platform?

Nudge forward Atlantic Yards: Brooklyn housing plan must be completed , the New York Daily News editorial board wrote yesterday, offering vague support for an implied compromise, including, perhaps, a waiver of the $2,000/month fines for each of the 876 affordable housing units not completed by May 2025. In other words, the editorial--which generally praises the project while describing it misleadingly--is a not-so-incisive look at a process that's so far been a black box. Then again, at least someone's trying to discuss a complicated issue that's mostly been buried. (Here's my recent Atlantic Yards overview , for Urban Omnibus.) Should state pay? In response to the editorial, as noted below, an influential advocate, Gib Veconi, suggested that the state should pay for the platform and, implicitly, waive pending fines.  My take is such a public contribution--the platform, as of 2019, was estimated to cost $240+ million and probably now more than $300 million--must invol