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Showing posts from July, 2024

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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/coming/missing, who's responsible, + project overview/FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership claims (nah) city & state governments have already funded platform over LIRR railyard, claims $686M (!) in arena public support.

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership growth map; Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park is at right The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP), the "not-for-profit local development corporation that serves as the primary champion for Downtown Brooklyn as a world-class business, cultural, educational, residential, and retail destination," recently released DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN: 20 YEARS OF GROWTH . It's an interesting project, using maps and graphics to show the remarkable transformation of the area--not just the rezoning area--since the 2004 Downtown Brooklyn rezoning, with 32 million square feet of new development. What shocked me was the claim, discussed further below, that city and state governments have already funded the platform, which I first suspected was an inadvertent disclosure of an upcoming subsidy but turned out to be a bogus overreach.  From DBP report Also, it was surprising that the DBP, rather than trying to minimize--as is typical for boosterish business groups--the public s

Related Chief Executive Blau: talks regarding Pacific Park "have a lot of moving parts," but "could be a great opportunity."

A July 11 Wall Street Journal exclusive, Stephen Ross Is Launching His Second Act at 84: A New Florida Real-Estate Firm , describes how "Related’s founder and chairman is stepping down and taking Palm Beach properties to his new company." Related, a privately owned New York-based firm founded by Ross 52 years ago, began by building affordable housing, then took on larger projects, like Hudson Yards, built over railroad tracks on Manhattan's Far West Side. The firm, which has a whopping $60 billion worth of completed and ongoing projects, is seeking to build a casino and much more in the second half of Hudson Yards. It will be led by a triumvirate, including Chief Executive Jeff Blau. About Pacific Park The article also adds slightly to news The Real Deal broke a week earlier, about Related's interest in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park: Related also has been trying to take advantage of the increasing distress in the commercial-property market. For example, the firm is in

What happened last Sunday around Barclays Center? Arena says a fraction of "20-30 buses" for Catholic service parked nearby. Videos show 60+, many idling.

A hydrant on Flatbush Avenue Last Sunday, I heard reports of buses parked around the Barclays Center, and a neighbor shot video and shared it with me, showing dozens of buses, some of them idling illegally, with a few blocking hydrants, bus stops or (partial) crosswalks, as well as double-parking.  Oddly enough, the arena had not announced an event in its July event calendar circulated to neighbors. Nor had it sent an update. But the videos, as shown below, indicate widespread idling, which is prohibited for more than three minutes. (My source says buses were still idling on a second walk-through.) A Catholic service A search on Twitter/X turned up a post from the Diocese of Brooklyn stating, in the associated image (below left), "Brooklyn is Proud to Host Eucharist in the Barclays Center." I saved the image. (Here's  background  on that Catholic ritual and service. T he event was well-attended, with the arena's upper deck occupied if not full, from this  Instagram

Greenland lobbying update: "advocate on General Project Plan development" (which could mean a lot)

Something's going on, but who knows exactly what. Bi-monthly lobbying reports from powerhouse lobbyist Kasirer, representing Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park developer Greenland USA's vehicle Pacific Park Development LLC, indicate the same thing: "advocate on GPP [General Project Plan] development." That could encompass a lot, since the GPP , surely subject to future proposed revision, guides the overall project in terms of configuration, scope, and design, while the associated Development Agreement, a more detailed contract, sets definitions, deadlines, and more. So there could be major changes being proposed, and discussed. The reports In January-February 2024, the state's lobbying database indicates communication with Arden Sokolow, Executive VP, Real Estate Development and Planning at Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project. STATE & MUNICIPAL FOCUSES AND PARTIES LOBBIED TYPE FOCUS PARTIES COMMUNICATION MONITORIN

Former ESD Atlantic Yards Director Jaiyesimi lands at lobbying powerhouse Kasirer, which represents Pacific Park developer. But she won't lobby on Atlantic Yards.

Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise--after all, when you leave government service, there are typically only a few directions. So Tobi Jaiyesimi, who left Empire State Development (ESD) last July after eight and a half years as "Executive lead and Project Director for an interdisciplinary team of professionals managing the World Trade Center Site 5 Project in Lower Manhattan, the Atlantic Yards Project in central Brooklyn and the Queens West Development Project in Long Island City," according to her LinkedIn, is now a lobbyist. She joined ESD as both Executive Director of the (purportedly) advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC),  but eventually served as ESD's Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Project Director, thus essentially advising herself. Presumably while working at ESD she interacted with lobbyists from Kasirer, the city's busiest lobbying shop, who work for, among other clients, Greenland USA. At Kasirer According to her LinkedIn, Jaiye

In 2014, questionable Adams advisor Winnie Greco's bombastic claim, in her email sig, to be Brooklyn's "Director, China-U.S. Affairs Department"

In Brooklyn, (l.-r.) Borough President Eric Adams,  Greenland's Xu Jing, Borough Hall Liaison Winnie Greco The June 25 New York Post scoop, Feds probing Eric Adams and top adviser’s trips to China , sent me back to the limited evidence I have about a trip that Brooklyn Borough President Adams, now Mayor, and his advisor and Chinese community liaison Winnie Greco made May 22-June 1, 2014. The current Borough President's office was unable to produce any emails regarding the trip. I have a few involving Greco, not Adams, the result of a Freedom of Information Law request I filed in 2014. Evidence, albeit inconclusive, suggests that Greco was not using an official email address from the Borough President's office. The most interesting thing I (re)discovered was Greco's bombastic email signature file, declaring herself--according to a machine translation--"Director, China-U.S. Affairs Department" of the "Brooklyn Borough Government, New York, USA." I expl

“New York street fighter”: Former Forest City CEO Gilmartin gets the Real Deal hagiography. Not so much "due diligence."

So The Real Deal on June 4 published a hagiographic profile,  “New York street fighter”: MaryAnne Gilmartin takes on $5.5B development , with the subheading "Steadfast NYC developer's MAG Partners is closing in a 900-unit Manhattan portfolio, but her bigger prize is in Baltimore." Orion Jones opens the article with Gilmartin, the former CEO of Forest City Ratner, praising her new modestly-scaled building, on a parcel in Chelsea owned by the Penn South Co-op, with Hudson Yards, which "look like something out of Shanghai." “It resembles the New York I grew up with and love,” Gilmartin told TRD. OK, the seven-story structure will have 30% affordable housing , but two-thirds of that, or 20%, will be for households at 130% of Area Median Income, meaning a one-bedroom could today rent for $3,786 , and surely more when the building opens. She "casually adds--in a bit of a dig, it seems--"that Related Companies, a major developer at Hudson Yards, was a competi

Did the new 485-x tax break make railyard development sites more viable? Site 5, too? More sunlight needed on transactions.

The new 485-x tax break may not be as lucrative as the predecessor 421-a tax break, even if limited in the extension that could apply to the B5 tower, as I wrote earlier this week ( link ). But does 485-x now make development of the six tower sites, offering nearly 3.5 million square feet of development rights over the Vanderbilt Yard, more viable? Likely, because the certainty of a tax break--even if less lucrative than its 421-a predecessor and requiring deeper affordability--offers potential developers a way to fill in their spreadsheets.  That's surely part of why Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park last week said that a new developer for the six railyard sites, offered as collateral in a foreclosure auction, was expected to emerge.  The Real Deal since reported that The Related Companies, a major firm that developed Hudson Yards, is apparently the candidate. Of course, the cost for the "land"--the

TRD: Related Companies, which built Hudson Yards, said to be developer interested in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park railyard sites

Related in talks to take over Pacific Park megaproject , the Real Deal reported last night, noting that The Related Companies, having built (the first half of) Hudson Yards, has experience decking over below-grade railyards. TRD couldn't get any more details. Related, a privately owned company, as of 2023 was the ninth-largest owner of apartments (75,023) in the country. It would presumably buy development rights--or, more precisely, the entities, in foreclosure, that can control development rights--to six towers over the Vanderbilt Yard, approved for some 3.5 million square feet of development. Questions pending What's unclear, for now, is what concessions Related would request from Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project. As I wrote on Twitter/X, it shouldn't be behind closed doors. ESD said last week it was expecting a proposal from the "lender"--actually the middleman "regional center" that recruited

While B5 tower could qualify for 421-a extension, the all middle-income "affordable" option is off the table. But Option B still looks pretty good, compared to 485-x.

In a previous version of the graphic describing plans for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, below, I assumed that the B5 tower, the first built over the railyard, would contain 30% affordable units at 130% of Area Median Income (AMI). Hence the green and red shading indicating a 70%/30% breakdown. After all, that reflected predictions from the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, as I wrote in December 2022, as the building--as with B4, B15, and B12/13--would take advantage of the 421-a tax break which, allows 130% AMI units as long as 30% of the total apartments are below-market. Outdated graphic by Ben Keel & Norman Oder That won't happen, though it's the deadline hasn't yet expired. Because the building (apparently) had foundations installed by June 15, 2022, it could qualify for the 421-a tax break as it existed then, but only if it were completed by June 15, 2026. That deadline won't be met without 24/7 construction and a miracle. Building even a piece of the platform, p