October 13, 2011
With opening of Nets’ new arena actually on horizon, Brooklyn residents brace themselves for whatever happens next
by Katherine Dykstra
As the stadium, which will seat 18,000 during basketball games and 19,000 for concerts and contain eight clubs and restaurants, makes its bold way into Brooklyn, the neighborhoods that surround it -- Park Slope, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill -- are busy figuring out how to react.
“No one knows exactly what will change yet,” says Ofer Cohen, president of TerraCRG, a commercial realty group whose office is in the shadow of the arena. “The one aspect of development that will come earlier will be in terms of retail on Atlantic and Flatbush surrounding the arena.”
According to Cohen, landlords in the area have been patiently awaiting the opening of the stadium, allowing leases to lapse and their spaces to sit vacant in anticipation of attaining higher rents. Asking retail rents on Flatbush across from the stadium go from $85 per square foot up to $175 per square foot, the high end of Brooklyn pricing, notes Geoffrey Bailey, vice president of retail services at TerraCRG.
“Now that it’s clear that [the stadium] will be finished and finished soon, you’re going to start seeing these spaces fill up,” Cohen says.
Even on the eastern edge of the Atlantic Yards footprint, where nothing but 1,100 parking spaces are slated for the short term, there is interest.
But while retailers salivate, the state of residential development in the area is more uncertain.
“I haven’t seen developers trying to buy close to the stadium,” says Brendan Aguayo, an agent at the Aguayo and Huebener residential firm.
At Atlantic Terrace, a new mixed-income co-op building directly across the street from Barclays Center, the 59 affordable units have all been purchased, as have nine of the 20 market-rate apartments. The one-, two- and three-bedrooms are around $550 per square foot.
“We’re seeing more construction-specific fears as opposed to arena-specific fears,” says Heather Gershen, director of housing development at Fifth Avenue Committee, which developed the project. “It is a major construction project, but construction is a reality of living in New York.”
“The big question is, what will the real community benefits be? We were promised affordable housing and construction jobs. They’ve announced modular construction,” Gershen says. “Jay-Z is not an amenity.”
The New York Post today publishes a real estate article headlined Court vision: With opening of Nets’ new arena actually on horizon, Brooklyn residents brace themselves for whatever happens next.
So, while the article does take in some diverse voices, it's focused on the real estate market, not the "whatever happens next" of daily construction noise and dust faced by some project neighbors, as documented on Atlantic Yards Watch, or the burdens expected from pedestrians and drivers congesting narrow streets on their way to and from interim surface parking.
Meanwhile, the story also touches on sales at Atlantic Terrace, where the developer says prices are going for around $550 a foot. Atlantic Yards Report notes that in a 2009 report by the consulting firm KPMG to the Empire State Development Corporation, the company determined that only a “modest inflation factor” would be needed for Forest City Ratner to achieve its goal of selling units for $1,217 a foot by 2015. That means, as Atlantic Yards Report notes, that “the Atlantic Terrace price of $550/sf would have to more than double across the street” in just a few years.
...no one is quite sure how the construction will impact local residents, and by extension property values, let alone when Brooklynites can expect the construction to be complete.
"They haven't decided whether the [first residential tower at the site] is going to be prefab or not," said Daniel Goldstein, one of the founders of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn. "If they don't know [that] today, how can they break ground in the next few months?"
Posted by eric at October 13, 2011 11:27 AM