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Showing posts from April, 2024

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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)

After my queries regarding the affordable housing chart, ESD says it's "performing due diligence" after conveying the developers' information.

My newsletter yesterday analyzed and critiqued the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park affordable housing chart provided by Empire State Development (ESD) after a request from the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation. See A Dive Into Affordability Prompts a Metaphysical Question , subtitled "If apartments open to middle-income households rent for well below the maximum, do they qualify as moderate-income?" A week earlier, I had pointed out one discrepancy, and shared it with ESD, the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project: the chart ignored the swap of eleven middle-income units at 535 Carlton Ave. for moderate-income ones, thus enabling big tax savings down the block at the 550 Vanderbilt condo building.  See The "Zoning Lot" Hustle , subtitled, "In 2017, eleven rental apartments got cheaper. That saved condo buyers down the block millions." Moderate- or middle-income? I then found another potential discrepancy: I initially counted 24 stu

The Brooklyn Nets report nearly 99% attendance at Barclays Center home games. However, gate count and *paid* tickets unclear.

In the past NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets dropped in attendance rank from eleventh to 21st, according to ESPN, but only saw a fractional decrease in numbers, averaging just 101 fewer fans per game than in 2022-23 . The reported attendance--which reflects tickets distributed, not sold, and does not equal gate count--was 17,568 per game, or 98.85% full. The NBA, as the league announced , set an overall attendance record, with arena's averaging 98% of capacity. What we don't know is how many Nets freebies were given out. Remember, based on anonymous sources, the New York Post  said  the 2021-22 Nets, "after giveaways, sold about 15,000 tickets a game." The Nets in 2022-23 had, at least for part of the season, a couple of superstars, and made the playoffs after a 45-37 record. From ESPN Sunny outlook? Given the team's mediocre performance this past year, with a 32-50 record ranking them 11th and thus out of playoff contention, the Nets didn't have much to promote,

Broadening the affordable housing applicant pool: when the housing lease-up extends into a new AMI calculation and new income ceilings

Last year, when the deadline for applications for below-market middle-income "affordable" units at the two-tower 595 Dean St. (B12/B13) was extended , it was clear that the extension also broadened the potential applicant pool. That's because an increase in the AMI calculation for 2023, as recently announced by the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), meant higher income limits for all applicants. Broadening the pool A related, if not exactly parallel, broadening of the applicant pool has happened over the years, notably with--but not limited to--the two previous towers, 662 Pacific St. (B15, aka Plank Road) and 18 Sixth Ave. (B4, aka Brooklyn Crossing).  As with 595 Dean, they're geared to middle-class applicants earning up to 130% of Area Median Income (AMI), usually more than six figures. And an apparent extended deadline for at least some applications meant that some units were open to applicants earning higher incomes. 662 Pacific:

Yes, Atlantic Yards Community Development Corp. meeting Thursday will address budget. Anything else?

It's a do-over, more or less. After the (purportedly) advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) meeting March 26 could not get a quorum--but did include updates on the project --the new meeting scheduled for Thursday will attempt official business: approval of the minutes of the Jan. 23 meeting, and approval of the budget for the fiscal year, which started April 1. The agenda  (also at bottom) also includes "Updates and Follow-ups," an oral report that may or may not offer new information. The meeting --RSVPs required--will be held at the Manhattan office of the parent Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project. One obvious question: is the foreclosure auction of six railyard development sites, twice postponed and rescheduled for April 30, going to happen? It would be unlikely unless other aspects of the project's future--including the successor to the 421-a tax break and the obligation to build the

Was Empire State Development informed about the foreclosure auction? Well, not in a document.

Last November we learned that development rights to six development sites within Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, used as collateral for two loans to immigrant investors, were scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure auction in January. That auction has been postponed twice, and it's unclear if it will proceed as scheduled on April 30. After all, the towers can't be built without an expensive platform over two blocks of the MTA's Vanderbilt Yard. And it's not clear whether a new developer, which would presumably take over from Greenland USA, would be liable for the $2,000/month fines for each of the 876 affordable housing units not built by May 2025. When did they know? In January, I filed a Freedom of Information Law request with Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project: I seek documents that explain how and whether ESD was informed of this foreclosure possibility by developer Greenland USA or other sources, and whether and how E

Atlantic Yards CDC set to meet again next Thursday, presumably to approve budget. No agenda yet.

Barely three weeks after the March 26 meeting ( my coverage ) of the (purportedly) advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, the AY CDC, which is supposed to meet quarterly but has rarely met that schedule, is set to meet again , at 3 pm on Thursday, April 18. Though no agenda has yet surfaced, it's likely the meeting is aimed to get the directors to approve the annual $250,000 budget for the year that began April 1. That didn't happen on March 26, because the unexpected absence of one director meant there was no quorum. That said, it's possible other information may surface and/or be discussed. (I'll post the agenda when it surfaces.) Meeting details The meeting will be held at Empire State Development, 633 Third Avenue – 37th Floor Conference Room, It also will be webcast . Due to purported building procedures, members of the public attending in-person should RSVP by 4:30 pm on Wednesday, April 17. Members of the press should call (800) 260-7313; memb

Does new Rihanna advertising signage at the Triangle Building mean Savage X Fenty will finally arrive? Not necessarily.

For the first time since news emerged in February 2022 ( link ) that a Savage X lingerie store from Rihanna would open in the long-dormant Triangle Building across from the Barclays Center, there's evidence of the brand's presence. The building, bordered by Flatbush Avenue, Fifth Avenue, and Dean Street, is now draped in advertising for Rihanna's new Signature Script collection . Photos by Norman Oder Does that mean the store might finally arrive, more than two years after WWD quoted unnamed sources about a 10-year lease for Savage x Fenty? Unlikely, though some have made that conclusion . After all, there are no longer any Department of Buildings permits affixed to the building, and no new DOB permits have been sought since October 2020. Meanwhile, there's no listing for any upcoming Brooklyn store on the Savage X Fenty website, nor any mention from the brand's Twitter account . So what's going on? My best guess is that Savage X Fenty is trying to get some v

In "50 Ideas for a Stronger and More Equitable Brooklyn," proposals include permit parking; Atlantic Ave. upgrade; housing lottery pre-qualification

A recent report (bottom) from the Center for an Urban Future and Brooklyn Org (the borough’s community-led philanthropic platform and its largest racial justice grantmaker, formerly the Brooklyn Community Foundaiton), 50 Ideas for a Stronger and More Equitable Brooklyn, has a few ideas that might be indirectly associated with Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, so it's worth a look. From the intro: Despite all the progress, Brooklyn has significant work to do to ensure all of its residents can fully participate in the borough’s growing prosperity—or even remain in a borough where rents are rising much faster than most incomes. Brooklyn is now among the nation’s top 10 counties with the greatest income disparities, and the borough’s racial wealth gap has only widened in recent years. The borough is home to a growing number of millionaires, but also more than 500,000 residents living below the poverty line—a sum larger than the total population of Atlanta. These challenges are compounded b

A return for the 421-a tax break? If so, likely no more towers with "affordable" units only at 130% of Area Median Income, aimed at six-figure earners.

The New York State budget is late--no surprise--and thus the details of housing legislation remain unclear.  The resolution, notably a successor to the 421-a tax break that expired in June 2022, should help make future rental housing development more viable, and thus enter the equation for the future Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park towers.  That doesn't resolve the future, given that rights to the six railyard sites are in foreclosure, and the cost of a platform and potential fines for missing affordable housing loom. But they help any future bidder or builder make calculations. No more 130% AMI-only buildings? One thing that's likely: the state will no longer allow developers to get the tax break and only deliver below-market, "affordable" units at 130% of Area Median Income (AMI), aimed at middle-income households mostly earning six figures. That's been the pattern for the last four Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park towers to open: 662 Pacific St. (B15), 18 Sixth Ave. (B4

Looming: the May 12, 2025 deadline to start the platform. But there's an "Unavoidable Delays" escape hatch and a penalty that might not be painful.

More than a year ago, on Feb. 21, 2023, I wrote ( link ) that the May 12, 2025 deadline to start the platform  over the Vanderbilt Yard "shouldn't be too hard to meet." After all, various plans had been announced for the first platform block, between Sixth and Carlton avenues and Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street. Filed with Department of Buildings Well, maybe it will be hard to meet, after all. The project is stalled, and it's hardly clear that developer Greenland USA is ready to move forward--as it had previously indicated--nor that any new developer yet wants to take over the six railyard development sites facing a foreclosure auction. They can't be developed without the platform. But it's unlikely anyone would bid without knowing whether they face May 2025 penalties for not delivering 876 more units of affordable housing, or what tax breaks might be available for new construction. Also, interest rates are currently high. Looking east from Sixth Avenue ne

Barclays Center releases April 2024 calendar: twelve ticketed events (WWE tonight), plus open dates for (very unlikely) Brooklyn Nets playoff games

The Barclays Center last week released its April 2024 event calendar, with twelve ticketed events: four Brooklyn Nets games, four concerts, one comedy show, one boxing card, one WWE show (tonight), and one high-school all-star basketball game. That's an improvement over April 2023, as noted below, when there were only eight events, with no boxing, WWE, or Jordan Brand Classic (which was not held last year). That all-star event was held in Brooklyn 2013-18 . That said, the arena still had to leave numerous open dates for the NBA Playoffs, which start April 16 .  However, as of now the Nets are six losses behind the 10th-seeded Atlanta Hawks, which means its highly unlikely there'd be any Brooklyn playoff basketball. April 2023 The April 2023 event calendar (despite the "March" heading in the image below), had eight announced events: four Brooklyn Nets games, three concerts, and one comedy show.  The Nets wound up playing two home playoff games, part of being swept 4-