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July 31, 2012

"Roof sponsorship signage" coming to Barclays Center: does Forest City's plan meet Design Guidlines?

Atlantic Yards Report

Guess what: "roof sponsorship signage" is coming to the Barclays Center, according to the latest two-week Atlantic Yards Construction Alert, released yesterday by Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) after preparation by Forest City Ratner.

Preparation for the installation of the such signage will begin this week or next, according to the document, which does not explain the nature and extent of such signage.

I've asked for more details; for example, will look like the rendering above right, released in early 2010, announcing the Barclays Center?

Either way, however, roof signage was never officially permitted. So it should be seen as a multi-million-dollar giveaway.

Raising the question in 2010

I reported 3/8/10 that rooftop Barclays Center logo that appeared in the latest arena rendering arena seemed to violate the Design Guidelines as stated in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued by the ESDC.

Asked in March 2010 the pictured rooftop signage would be allowed, ESDC spokeswoman Elizabeth Mitchell repsonded:

Images of the arena used for promotional purposes are renderings. Anything that is built out -- including final signage -- will meet the design guidelines, which we continue to review with Forest City Ratner Companies as specific elements of the design are finalized and evolve from renderings to reality.

From the FEIS and Design Guidelines

The documents approving the project in 2006 did not mention roof signage, likely because there was supposed to be a green roof. There's been no update of the Design Guidelines nor disclosure of permission for roof signage.

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NoLandGrab: ESD really should consider changing their name to Endless Stream of Doublespeak.

Posted by eric at 11:56 AM

From the latest Atlantic Yards Construction Alert: the oculus and the Haier Store become more visible

Atlantic Yards Report

There's some interesting stuff in the latest two-week Atlantic Yards Construction Alert, dated 7/30/12 (and embedded below) and released yesterday by Empire State Development after preparation by Forest City Ratner.

Not only will the oculus become ever more visible, so too will be the Haier Store at the east end of the arena, at the extension of Pacific Street.

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Posted by eric at 11:51 AM

More Undercover Park Slope: 439 Bergen Street

BK to the Fullest

A post about local real estate weighs the "arena factor."

While proximity to the new stadium has been a deal breaker for many at places this close like 414 Dean, we think that ultimately the pro's of this location outweigh the con's. We've got calls in to the urban planner at the City Council's local office for the district that Barclays Center is in, regarding the pedestrian overpasses (covered here) that we think will be necessary to allow automobiles and pedestrians to flow somewhat civilly around the stadium. Why even the new signage for Barclays Center in the Atlantic subway points people to exit at one of the furthest intersections from the stadium also disappoints and confuses us.

That feeling of disappointment and confusion is also known as "naming rights." But don't worry, it quickly goes away in the presence of, er, greatness.

However, for all our stadium worries and angst, it somehow melts away when we ran into Jay-Z last night on 15th Street and started gushing to him about his upcoming concerts at the stadium and his Nets. We're sure someone equally as star-struck by Park Slope won't mind having the stadium around the corner from them at this house.

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Posted by eric at 11:42 AM

July 30, 2012

With arena General Manager gone, more pressure on getting arena systems to work; Forest City exec once warned that "it is essential that the arena be completed by early July 2012" for testing

Atlantic Yards Report

Trouble in paradise the Fourth (and Eighth) Circles of Hell?

It's a bit of a mystery, and it has to be a troubling for Barclays Center operators. Sports Business Journal reports today on the departure of the arena General Manager and (via NetsDaily's summary):

[John] Sparks decided to "go in a different direction" and left New York a month ago, [arena CEO] Brett Yormark told SBJ. The change is not expected to affect the arena construction timetable.

Well, it won't affect the construction timetable, as the arena's supposed to reach a substantial completion date of 9/5/12, itself nudged back from 8/12/12, after three other adjustments. But they have little more than three weeks after that to get the building ready for the first Jay-Z concert.

Sparks' departure won't make it easier to make the systems work in a complicated building that, Forest City Ratner's top Atlantic Yards executive once said, had "to be completed by early July 2012" to ensure "three to four months" for testing.

In other words, it was already a very tight timetable. Now, they've lost Sparks, who Yormark once said "brings to us a wealth of best practices." So the margin for error diminishes.

It was already a good bet that, upon the official opening Sept. 28, they'd still be working out the kinks to make the building work for both guests or neighbors. Now the likelihood of kinks is greater. After all, the Barclays Center hasn't even announced the hiring of a promised community relations official.

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Posted by eric at 12:23 PM

Green Roof Crowns Atlantic Avenue Subway Entrance

Brownstoner

A reader sent in this shot of the green roof going up over the subway entrance at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues outside the Barclays Center Sunday morning. The roof is planted with sedum and will anchor a plaza that can be used for farmer’s markets and other community events.

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Photo: Brownstoner

Posted by eric at 12:18 PM

Flashback to September 2010: Forest City's Gilmartin said "we anticipate" funding for first tower by spring of 2011

Atlantic Yards Report

Less than two years ago, at a 9/29/10 public meeting on the arena plaza, Forest City Ratner Executive VP MaryAnne Gilmartin aimed to mitigate some of the bad publicity that stemmed from Bruce Ratner's comments at a press event a day earlier about how the project might take longer than ten years.

"We explained the possibility that the project might be delayed by economic conditions and be built over a longer period than ten years," she said. "That being said, Forest City's plans for the buildout are as follows. We are currently working on moving forward with the three residential buildings on the arena block. We anticipate having funding in place to start the first building at Dean and Flatbush in the spring of 2011, the second six to nine months later, and the third about the same time after that."

Note that the Development Agreement gives them a lot more time--ten years for the third tower to start--before penalties kick in. Construction on the first building has been delayed again and again, though now executives say it will start before the end of the year, though it's not clear yet whether it will be modular construction.

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Posted by eric at 12:12 PM

Zigun wants Shore Theater taken away from owner through eminent domain

The Brooklyn Paper
by Will Bredderman

The city should use its power of eminent domain to seize the Shore Theater from its disgraceful owner — who has sat on the property for nearly two decades without doing anything to it — and turn it into the palace it once was, the unofficial mayor of Coney Island decreed on Thursday.

Coney Island USA founder Dick Zigun said Horace Bullard has allowed the building where Jerry Lewis once performed to crumble, and doesn’t deserve the choice property at Surf and Stillwell avenues.

“Whether it’s through the Landmarks Commission or eminent domain, this must be done by any means necessary,” Zigun said during annual State of Coney Island Address. “The Shore Theater must be occupied.”

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NoLandGrab: Since the city was seduced by the dark side of the power of eminent domain, it's highly unlikely that they'd use it for good.

Posted by eric at 12:04 PM

Deron Williams counting a strong fan base when Brooklyn Nets host NY Knicks in NBA season opener

'When we come to the Garden there are going to be Nets fans there,' the Nets’ point guard said on Friday. 'So it's going to be different.'

NY Daily News
by Frank Isola

Since it'll be their brand new, hyper-hyped home court, one would hope so.

Deron Williams is okay if Knicks fans invade Brooklyn for the season opener for both teams on Nov. 1 for one simple reason.

“When we come to the Garden there are going to be Nets fans there,” the Nets’ point guard said on Friday. "So it's going to be different."

A Knicks-Nets game in New Jersey was essentially a home game for the Knicks considering how many of their supporters filled both the Meadowlands and most recently the Rock in Newark.

In November, the Nets will christen the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn with a game against their biggest rival and they're counting on a strong local fan base.

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Related content...

SLAM Online, Marv Albert Promotes New York Knicks vs Brooklyn Nets Season-Opener

And they're apparently counting on Marv Albert to fan the hype, too.

By now you know that the Knicks and Nets will face each other for the first NBA game in Brooklyn’s history (November 1st at 7pm), and none other than Marv Albert has a breathless promotion of the tilt already cued up. You can listen to the audio of the legendary broadcaster on the Nets’ team website, or read the transcript via the NY Daily News....

Posted by eric at 11:55 AM

Farewell Pacific St

My Blog

With the Barclays Center in Brooklyn opening soon, the stadium sponsor went ahead and purchased naming rights for the subway station adjacent to it. Actually, they announced this awhile back, but only recently are the signs in the station slowly beginning to show up and subway maps edited.

So what was once known as the "Atlantic Ave-Pacific St" station will now be called the "Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center" station. Pacific St now joins the list of street names dropped off from station names like Lawrence St (now Jay St-Metrotech), Ely Ave (now Court Sq-23 St) and Newkirk Ave (now Newkirk Plaza... still has "Newkirk" in it though!).

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NoLandGrab: Technically, Forest City Ratner purchased the naming rights to the station. But regardless, we're still calling it Atlantic Ave-Pacific St.

Posted by eric at 11:47 AM

$25 to See The King’s Men at Barclays Center on October 14 at 7 p.m. (Up to $59.15 Value)

New York Daily Deals

Looks like the "Home of Gospel" is shaping up to be something more akin to the "Subsidized Studio Apartment of Gospel," as the Barclays Center is trying to unload tickets via Groupon.

Raising your hands and singing aloud is an integral part of both enjoying a gospel concert and getting yourself dismissed from jury duty. Lift your hands to the sky with this GrouponLive deal to see The King’s Men, featuring Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Donnie McClurkin, and Israel Houghton at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. For $ 25, you get one G-Pass for reserved seating in sections 112, 114, 115, 117, 118, 120, 207, 209, 210, 222, 223, or 225 on Sunday, October 14, at 7 p.m. (up to a $ 59.15 value, including all fees).

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Posted by eric at 11:41 AM

July 29, 2012

Connecting Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement of Scott Brown, his downplaying of the Barclays/LIBOR scandal, and "corporatist privilege" (that connects to "Bankers Gone Wild")

Atlantic Yards Report

Michael D. D. White has been writing up a storm on his Noticing New York blog about Barclays, the LIBOR scandal, and the possibility of local governmental agencies gaining recompense in a lawsuit.

In his latest, he muses about Mayor Mike Bloomberg's surprising announcement that he supports incumbent Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican, against law professor (and Wall Street critic) Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat:

Come on now! No, it’s pretty clear, Brown’s gun control record is just a contrived cover for Bloomberg’s work to keep the banks unregulated and unaccountable. That probably puts the above point #3 in the lead for the reason that Bloomberg is also so eager to minimize the public’s LIBOR losses.
But maybe it doesn’t make any difference which exactly of those above three reasons explains why Bloomberg is minimizing the possibility of the public’s loses at the hands of Barclays and the other banks, because whether it's "Barclays" (Ratner/Prokhorov) arena boondoggling, Barclays bank president befriending or Barclays Bank LIBOR manipulations, all three of those explanations are probably essentially the same: Bloomberg supports a corporatist privilege for the 1% to manipulate, lie and scheme to scam the 99%.

"Bankers Gone Wild"

In this week's New Yorker, "Financial Page" columnist James Surowiecki wrote Bankers Gone Wild. It's a pretty chilling summary: manipulating LIBOR was easy; banks had much incentive to tell lies; and self-regulation doesn’t work in finance:

The Barclays traders, for instance, sent e-mails casually thanking their colleagues for lying, and sometimes talked with their supervisors about their plans, revealing a culture in which deception was simply part of how things got done. As the behavioral economist Dan Ariely writes in his new book, “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty,” cheating is contagious—when we see others succeed by cheating, it makes us more likely to cheat as well. So when institutions tolerate, and even reward, bad behavior, all that self-regulation gets you is bankers gone wild.

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Posted by steve at 10:41 PM

More On Why Sued-For LIBOR Losses May Be Substantial And More On Figuring Why Mayor Bloomberg Is Minimizing The Public's Loss

Noticing New York

Noticing New York has been covering how various branches of New York state and local government may be suing over losses the tax-paying public has suffered due to the manipulation of the LIBOR rate, how, ironically, those lawsuits may embarrassingly coincide with the opening of the Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena promotionally named “Barclays” to advertise one of the banks in the thick of the LIBOR scandal most likely to be sued, and how New York Mayor Bloomberg, though he admits he expects the city may be joining these lawsuits, has gone out on a limb to assert that the losses suffered by New Yorkers will be “de minimis,” even though fellow government officials are NOT backing Bloomberg up to assure us that losses will be minimal.– Whew, what a long sentence!– (For starters, see: Thursday, July 26, 2012, “Barclays” Center Opening Pending; Fellow Government Officials Don’t Back Bloomberg Re Minimizing NY Lawsuits Against Barclays Bank.)

...

Here is more about why New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be minimizing losses to New York and New Yorkers say (among other ways) through losses to the New York City and New York State pension funds.

Noticing New York has offered three possible theories why Bloomberg might be minimizing:

  1. Bloomberg doesn’t want the LIBOR scandal to cast a pall over the opening of the Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena promotionally named “Barclays” to advertise the centrally implicated bank whose name is becoming nearly synonymous with the scandal- Under Bloomberg New York City has directed close on to a billion dollars of NYC subsidy into the arena for a net loss in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

  2. Bloomberg is a self-proclaimed friend of Robert E. Diamond, Jr., the former chief of Barclays who recently resigned over the LIBOR scandal.

  3. Mayor Bloomberg is a friend of Wall Street, eager to ignore its excesses and let it continue in its unregulated abuses.

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Posted by steve at 10:36 PM

July 28, 2012

The modular plan versus Gehry's goal to not make it "look like a project"

Atlantic Yards Report

"How do you make a complex that doesn’t look like a project even though one architect’s doing it?" asked Frank Gehry, then the architect of Atlantic Yards, in a 10/31/05 interview, describing some of the challenges he faced.

Modular construction does not seem to be the most likely solution. (The developer is still aiming at modular, but has not reached agreement with construction unions, even though an effort to finance the first building is in process.)

But by now Forest City Ratner's goal is cutting costs--not to mention that speedier construction would avoid arena snags. So Gehryesque architecture is not the priority.

Note that the rendering, by SHoP, is from that curious hovercraft perspective that architects often favor, though it bears no relation to how pedestrians would experience the buildings. Also note the ten-story Atlantic Terrace building in the lower right, which seems very small..

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Posted by steve at 5:18 PM

July 27, 2012

Downtown Brooklyn hailed for growth in jobs, income; rezoning lost to history; Barclays Center seen as opportunity; DBP portrays itself as nonpartisan

Atlantic Yards Report

Downtown Brooklyn is booming--sort of. Yesterday, a press conference at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Borough President Marty Markowitz, and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) unveiled reports about job growth, a residential boom, and the area's future.

While two publications (Patch and the Epoch Times) did check with FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality), which expressed dismay at the lack of affordable housing, nobody pointed out that the rezoning passed in 2004 was aimed to increase office jobs for Wall Street and other large firms, which didn't happen at all.

Instead, there's been little increase in office space; the boom has been in health care/social assistance, education, leisure hospitality and tech. From 2003 to 2010, there was a growth of nearly 12,000 jobs, or 18.3%, in the Comptroller's broadly designated Downtown Brooklyn, which includes several adjacent neighborhoods, from Boerum Hill to Clinton Hill, but not Prospect Heights (though the arena gets listed).

Why's that important? Because neither legislators nor advocates focused on ensuring that property owners, newly gifted with the opportunity to build large residential towers or hotels, had reciprocal obligations. Thus the median income has boomed, but the benefits have not been broadly shared.

The DBP's report also includes a curious evasion, in which the organization claims not to be partisan.

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Posted by eric at 12:02 PM

“Barclays” Center Opening Pending; Fellow Government Officials Don’t Back Bloomberg Re Minimizing NY Lawsuits Against Barclays Bank

Noticing New York

Noticing New York earlier covered the fact that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has acknowledged that New York City may be suing Barclays Bank over its rate manipulation in the LIBOR scandal but minimized any possibility that the losses would be significant. Such lawsuits could be relatively contemporaneous with the grand opening of Bloomberg-supported, city-subsidized Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena that will promote the “Barclays” name. (See: Friday, July, 20, 2012, “Barclays” Center Opening Pending, Bloomberg De-Minimizes Envisioned New York City Lawsuit Against Barclays Bank. Is He Out On A Limb?)

The Noticing New York coverage suggested that Bloomberg might be going out on a limb when he stated, after being briefed on the subject by Mark Page, his budget director, that any losses for which the city might sue would be a “de minimis amount of money.”

At the moment that’s what the mayor has said but other government officials, including the office of John Liu, the city comptroller, aren’t backing Bloomberg up with any similar assessment that city losses will be “de minimis.”

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Posted by eric at 11:46 AM

Nets CEO happy his team opening its season in a big way

NYPost.com
by Tim Bontemps

Nets CEO Brett Yormark has been saying since before the Nets finished playing New Jersey that the days of seeing Knicks fans turn Nets “home” games into MSG West were going to end once the Nets began play in Brooklyn this fall.

Yormark won’t have to wait to prove he’s right, as the NBA officially unveiled the schedule Thursday night, and the Nets will open the brand new Barclays Center against the Knicks at 8 p.m.
...

“It’s no surprise that I’m a big advocate for a Nets-Knicks game opening night,” Yormark said Thursday in a phone interview. “I personally encouraged the league to go in that direction."
...

“Trust me, those are Brooklyn Nets fans buying those seats,” Yormark said. “What happened in New Jersey, for how long it happened, for however long it happened, it’s in the past. That will not happen in Brooklyn.

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NoLandGrab: If history shows one thing, it's that trusting Brett Yormark is not a profitable path.

Related coverage...

NYDailyNews.com, Brooklyn President on season opener: "Brooklyn swagger will drown out the desperate Knicks fans"

Between Markowitz and team CEO Brett Yormark – who said Thursday that he requested the Knicks as the opening opponent – there’s a lot of confidence that Knicks fans won’t overrun the arena and boo the Brooklyn’s first pre-game introduction. Even a smattering of boos against the Knicks, historically a major victory for the Nets, would now be a disappointment.

Either they know something we don’t, or they’re signing up for embarrassment on opening night.

We shall see.

Posted by eric at 11:21 AM

Sky-High, as in the Rent Check

The New York Times
by Alexei Barrionuevo

What does $60,000 a month get you in a luxury rental? If it's in the penthouse of Bruce Ratner's Beekman Tower, it gets you the need to put on a robe — plus shoddy finishes.

That isn’t true at New York by Gehry, where you can stand at the window of the master bedroom of the north penthouse, renting for $60,000, and look to your left and see part of the west penthouse. You can see into the window of the apartment below that as well.

“There is the whole vertical living thing here,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, an executive vice president of the Forest City Ratner Companies, the building’s developer (and the developer of The New York Times building). “There are a lot of social connections in the building. There are little pieces and slivers of the building where you are looking into other units.”

To each his own, but to me that seems the biggest downside of the Gehry penthouses, along with interior finishes that, while supposedly designed by Mr. Gehry himself, don’t seem quite up to the standard of the top-flight condo buildings Ms. Gilmartin says they are competing with.

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Related coverage...

The Real Deal, Rental buildings add $20,000-plus per month listings

...for the first time, Manhattan’s rental buildings are also offering super-expensive apartments to lure wealthy people who are determined renters. New York by Gehry, for example, at 8 Spruce Street, will list in September three penthouses on its 76th floor for $45,000 to $60,000 per month. The $60,000 per month north-facing penthouse is 3,800 square feet; the price represents $16 per square foot per month.

Posted by eric at 11:12 AM

Nets Ready to Pay Luxury Tax For First Time Since Ratner Bought In

NetsDaily

Just in case you had even a shred of doubt remaining about Bruce Ratner's love for basketball...

Mark Deeks of ShamSports, who regularly gets the best data on NBA salaries, has taken a long and comprehensive look at the history of the luxury tax - who's paid it and who hasn't; who's paid the most and what is the trend line. The analysis is relevant now because the Nets will be paying about $12 million in taxes this season, after not paying a dime since Bruce Ratner bought the team.

Deeks points out that the Nets paid taxes $5.7 million in 2003, their last visit to the NBA Finals, and $9.7 million in 2003-04, just before Ratner bought the team and began dismantling it. Since then, as losses mounted and the team prepared for Brooklyn, the Nets appeared to have a dictate from ownership: No luxury taxes. (There was a double benefit for non-tax payers: A team that didn't pay taxes would get as much as $3 million from those that did.)

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Posted by eric at 11:06 AM

Closing Bell: Brooklyn Film Series Explores Gentrification

Brownstoner

Yesterday Film Wax kicked off a monthly film series called “Brooklyn Reconstructed.” It explores “gentrification, eminent domain, public subsidies for luxury developments, political corruption, rising rents and neighborhood revitalization [as] underlying themes in most Brooklynites’ day-to-day lives.” The first film in the series was My Brooklyn, which will be followed by The Domino Effect, Battle for Brooklyn, The Vanishing City, Made in Brooklyn, Gut Renovation, and Last Summer in Coney Island. All films are screened at The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture at 53 Prospect Park West. See the full schedule of events here.

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NoLandGrab: If you missed Wednesday's screening of My Brooklyn, it's being shown again locally on Tuesday, July 31st, at 6:30 p.m., at Park Slope United Methodist Church, 410 6th Avenue at 8th Street.

Posted by eric at 10:51 AM

July 26, 2012

Promises, promises: how the ESDC said care would be taken at the construction site, how complaints have been documented, and what might be done about noise

Atlantic Yards Report

As I wrote yesterday, a new report validates neighbors' concerns about disruptive Atlantic Yards constructions, and documents suggest that the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and its environmental monitor have condoned a cover-up of a Forest City contractor's falsification.

Some 19 months ago, an ESDC attorney--in retrospect, not so wisely--assured board members that all commitments to mitigate neighborhood concerns would be followed.

The comment came in the wake of the ESDC's breakneck preparation (via consultant AKRF) that a 25-year Atlantic Yards buildout would not result in any community impacts not disclosed in the agency's previous study of an official ten-year buildout and a five year delay.

Such a finding, in a Technical Analysis (not to be confused with a Technical Memorandum issued in June 2009), was ordered by Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman, who ultimately ruled that it was inadequate, and that the agency had to perform a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to look at a 25-year buildout.
...

Board member's concern

After receiving the Technical Analysis (though with no evidence they'd had time to review it), the ESDC board on 12/16/10 unanimously approved the findings.

After the vote, public policy consultant Joyce Miller, as of June 2010 a new board member, offered a small olive branch to community members who'd expressed dismay and incredulity that a 25-year buildout, however attenuated, was no worse than a ten-year one.

"Having lived next to a construction site," said Miller, who lives on the Upper West Side near Riverside South, "I'm sympathetic to some of the complaints that are being made and I would like to know and be reassured that some of the complaints regard to construction hours, et cetera, noise you can't do anything about, obviously, pile drivers are pile drivers, but that care is taken to ensure that regulations and laws regarding the maintenance of the construction site, the hours of construction site, et cetera, the safety of the construction site, are all adhered to."

"Yes," came the response from ESDC attorney Robin Stout.

Actually, as the report compiled for Atlantic Yards Watch indicates, care has not been taken to follow the rules.

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Posted by eric at 11:06 AM

Brooklyn Nets will open season against NY Knicks at Barclays Center

During one of the Nets' final games of last season played in Newark — when Knicks fans again overran the Prudential Center — team CEO Brett Yormark declared that atmosphere will never happen in Brooklyn. We'll find out on Nov. 1

NY Daily News
by Stefan Bondy

If the Nets found a true home in Brooklyn — and not just an extension of Madison Square Garden — they’ll find out in the first game of the season.

A source confirmed the Brooklyn Nets will open their inaugural campaign at the Barclays Center against the Knicks on Nov. 1 in a nationally televised game. It’s a surprising move from the league, and perhaps a dangerous one for the Nets, who are trying to establish themselves as Brooklyn’s team in Knicks territory.

“If that’s the case, bring it on,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said earlier this month about opening against the Knicks.
...

The Nets have sold close to 10,000 season tickets for an arena fitting just over 18,000, prioritizing Brooklyn residents in sales phases. It’s a sign the Nets will have support on Nov. 1, and they haven’t backed down from the challenge.

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NoLandGrab: Or at least Brett Yormark claims they've sold them.

Related coverage...

Bleacher Report, Why Opening Barclays Center vs New York Knicks Is Terrible for Brooklyn Nets

New York fans embarrassed New Jersey fans the last time these teams met on the Nets’ turf at Prudential Center, and plenty of Knicks fans will find their way into Barclays Center November 1. Knicks fans will be loud and focused, while Nets fans are figuring out who they are.

The league doesn’t need to cultivate a rivalry between New York’s teams—there’s already one growing. What needs growth is the Nets fan base. Who are they? Are they quasi-basketball fans, who never took a liking to the Orange & Blue? Are they non-sports fans, looking to be part of the electric Brooklyn scene? Are they miffed Knicks fans, trying to stick it to James Dolan?

mcbrooklyn, Some People Are Excited About Knicks /Nets Season Opener in Brooklyn

A number of people are working themselves up into a state at the thought of the Nets opening the season in Brooklyn against the Knicks.

According to Newsday, the Knicks will be the Brooklyn Nets' first regular-season opponent in their new home, the Barclays Center, on Nov. 1.

It's all part of a calculated program to build the hysteria.

Posted by eric at 10:51 AM

Atlantic Yards Violations and Cover-up

Brownstoner

It appears the Nets have "discounted" their concern for Prospect Heights residents, as well.

A new report validates neighbors’ complaints about disruptive Atlantic Yards construction, writes Norman Oder in the Atlantic Yards Report. The sleep of the neighbors seems to have been sacrificed so developer Forest City Ratner could rush to finish the arena in time for the first Jay-Z concert Sept. 28. The report also suggests the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and its environmental monitor condoned a cover-up, he continues. Check out the full post here along with a Daily News article on the topic here.

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Posted by eric at 10:44 AM

Brooklyn's Barclays Center offering box seats with unlimited food and access to 40/40 club for $165 per Nets game or $29,000 for four season tickets

Promotions is steep contrast to Madison Square Garden prices where similar premium seats go for more than half a million

NY Daily News
by Lore Croghan, Mark Morales and Reuven Blau

Three reporters to rewrite a press release?

The Barclays Center is offering luxury — at a discount.

The new Brooklyn arena has created an entire loge section featuring box seats with unlimited grub, access to the exclusive 40/40 Club and a separate arena entrance for $165 per game.

That comes to $29,040 for four season tickets.

That’s a steep contrast to the Manhattan prices at Madison Square Garden, where similarly situated premium seats — without waiter service or special VIP entrance — go for up to $580,000 for the season.

And spots in top luxury boxes sell for an estimated $1 million for the Knicks season.
...

“This is a way for fans to get in at a lower price point and for them to move seats that they haven’t been able to sell,” Flaherty said.
...

Still, not everyone can afford the discounted rate.

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NoLandGrab: No sh*t, Sherlock. $29,000 for four seats is close to Brooklyn's median annual household income. "Discounted?"

Posted by eric at 10:33 AM

Top 5 Myths of Modular Construction

ModSpace
by Jeff Dusing

Modular has proven itself as a faster, greener, more versatile and high-quality building option. And yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, some misconceptions persist, including suggestions that modular buildings are cheaply made temporary structures that offer limited versatility in their applications.

Here, we’re going to dispel the top five myths of modular construction.
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Myth 5: Modular is too new of a construction process.

Fact: Modular has been used, developed and perfected over decades and across all industries. In fact, Forest City Ratner, a large residential developer, chose modular for its current high-rise housing project in Brooklyn, NY. Clearly the builder is confident in the durability and cost effectiveness of modular construction.

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NoLandGrab: Or, the builder is confident it can't make the numbers work using traditional methods.

Posted by eric at 10:27 AM

July 25, 2012

Silly Little Blog Post About Dumb Little Blog Ad: My Excoriation of Barclays Paid-For Name Building Earns More Barclays Spending To Get Its Name Out

Noticing New York

Noticing New York is published on the web via Google Blogger. It's `free' but Google sells advertising, so, for instance, yesterday a Google Blogger advertisement popped up when I published a Noticing New York post. The post (No Sparkle In Barclays’ Bob Diamond: Societal Mores Unmoored, What And Who We Honor Today- That Which We Used To Shun) extensively castigated Barclays Bank (and its former, now resigned-in-disgrace, chief executive Robert E. “Bob” Diamond) for not being inclined to do the right thing by community standards but nevertheless paying to have the 'honor' of having their names prominently appear on things like the “Barclays” Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena opening in Brooklyn and the (Bob) “Diamond Building” on Colby College’s campus.

It’s scary to think but Google Blogger knows what I am writing about! Something in its algorithms was reading what I wrote and knew I was writing about Barclays. So when I finally finished and posted my excoriation of the bank, what advertisement did Google Blogger pop up for me to see? . . . . It was an ad telling me I should “open an account today” with Barclays!

So much for the `successful publishing’ of my blog post!: Barclays’ lavish spending had done it again!

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Posted by eric at 6:43 PM

Atlantic Yards construction violations: not just neglect, but also a cover-up of "documentation falsified by the contractor"

Atlantic Yards Report

It's not the crime, it's the coverup. OK, it's the crime, too.

A new report, commissioned by the community initiative Atlantic Yards Watch, catalogs violations in depressing detail, suggesting that neighbors' interests have been sacrificed in developer Forest City Ratner's rush to get the Barclays Center finished for that first Jay-Z concert Sept. 28.

The state agency overseeing the project, Empire State Development (ESD, aka Empire State Development Corporation), has barely enforced the official mitigation protocols, nor have other agencies stepped up, according to the report. (ESD recently lost a lawsuit, and must analyze the community impact of a potential 25-year project buildout.)

Forest City Ratner's response was predictable. Spokesman Jonathan Rosen told the Daily News, “We take every complaint from our neighbors seriously and work hard to address them and meet our commitments to the community.”

A cover-up condoned

Maybe not so much. Not only has ESD neglected oversight, documents suggest the agency and its environmental monitor, Henningson, Durham & Richardson (HDR), have condoned a cover-up of a Forest City contractor's falsification.

Forest City was supposed to hire its own On-Site Environmental Monitor, meeting daily with contractors and observing site conditions. But the developer dragged its feet.

"During the second quarter of 2010, HDR expressed concerns with lack of oversight," the new report states. "Chuck Baldwin of Turner Construction was hired to handle the position until mid-July and HDR noted an improvement in on-site compliance."

However, that compliance relied on a wink and a nod, according to documents I discovered.

Each week, HDR compiles an "Atlantic Yards Field Inspection Report" for ESD. According to the non-public draft of the May 20, 2010 report, monitor Baldwin passed on to HDR sobering information: five pieces of heavy equipment lacked the required diesel particulate filter, aimed to reduce asthma-causing exhaust.

HDR "asked Chuck if FCRC has been keeping daily inspection reports for each piece of heavy machinery," according to the draft report. "He stated that while they have been maintaining this documentation, it had been falsified by the contractor." (Emphasis added.)

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Posted by eric at 2:53 PM

Downtown evictees: The city is booting us from Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Paper
by Natalie O'Neill

Tenants at one of Downtown’s last rent-stabilized buildings say they aren’t just getting evicted — they’re getting kicked out of Brooklyn.

Low-income residents of a brick tenement on Albee Square between Willoughby and Fulton streets claim they received city-stamped letters reneging on a promise to provide nearby housing after the city made plans to demolish their home and build a small park and a parking lot in its place.

Dozens of tenants found out the city will place them into far-away areas of the Bronx and Manhattan — even though the Department of Housing Preservation and Development agreed to give them “comparable housing,” after it acquired the five-story building using eminent domain, activists and residents say.

The agency has not provided any living options in the neighborhood, let alone the borough, said Carlos Barrera, who has lived there for decades.

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Posted by eric at 2:47 PM

Gentrification Takes Top Bill in “Local” Play

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Lauretta Charlton

Real estate broker turned writer and actor, Nichole Thompson-Adams, 43, has lived in Fort Greene since 1994. She used her experiences in the neighborhood to write the one-woman show, “Black Girl You’ve Been Gentrified,” in which she also stars. The show will return to Joe’s Pub on Lafayette Street in Manhattan this Friday. We talked to Ms. Thompson-Adams about why she likes the neighborhood, what she would change and her advice to people interested in moving to Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.
...

Q. What inspired you to write a show about gentrification in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill?

A. I rented on South Portland Avenue, which was the premier block in Fort Greene in the mid-early ’90s, and by the late ’90s it had become apparent to my husband and myself that we could not afford to rent, much less buy there. The house we were renting was sold and we had to move. Michael Weller, the playwright, and I were having a conversation about this and I told him about the different people and situations and how I felt. He suggested I write it down and do something with it. So I did, and he has come to every show.
...

Q. If you could change one thing about the neighborhood, what would it be?

A. The stadium. When have you ever heard of an arena being good for a neighborhood? A city maybe, but the surrounding neighborhood, I don’t think so.

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Posted by eric at 2:11 PM

Report validates neighbors' steady complaints about Atlantic Yards construction: "continual violations and difficulty with enforcement"

Atlantic Yards Report

So, maybe the neighbors near the Atlantic Yards project, who have filed complaints and reports about a never-ending stream of construction-related violations--late-night noise causing sleepless nights, dust clouds, illegal parking, jolting vibrations, use of residential streets for truck routes--will be taken more seriously.

And, as the opening of the Barclays Center arena approaches Sept. 28, perhaps officials will recognize that careful monitoring is necessary to ensure against untoward impacts.

A new report, prepared for Atlantic Yards Watch by a veteran environmental consulting firm, concludes that the Forest City Ratner and its contractors, bent on getting a huge project finished by a tight deadline, have regularly failed to comply with mitigation protocols officially agreed to, and that other mitigations were implemented late, poorly, or unevenly.

The report, Evaluation of Construction Air Quality and Noise Commitments and Mitigations, was conducted by Sandstone Environmental Associates of Metuchen, NJ and first previewed in the Daily News.

Sandstone was paid by Atlantic Yards Watch, via a $4,000 grant from Council Member Letitia James; the company does not limit work to community groups, as it was hired by Forest City Ratner for its Ridge Hill Project.

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Posted by eric at 11:39 AM

New Bump in the Road to Calm Barclays Traffic

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Kyle Thomas McGovern


Work on a second Washington Avenue speed bump between Gates and Greene Avenues began today.

The Barclays Arena opens in two months, but the city Department of Transportation is already telling drivers to slow down.

Earlier today, the DOT constructed a second speed bump on Washington Avenue between Gates and Greene Avenues to regulate traffic patterns in the area, which are expected to change dramatically once the 18,000-seat stadium opens on Sept. 28.

“Safety is DOT’s number one priority,” a DOT spokesman wrote in an e-mail. “The agency installed a second speed hump on Washington Avenue between Gates and Greene Avenues today as part of an effort to implement additional speed humps and other traffic calming measures around the Barclays Arena prior to its opening later this year.”

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Photo: Kyle Thomas McGovern/The Local

Posted by eric at 11:34 AM

Barclays Center Arena Satellite Uplink Parking Lot

Our Streets — Our Stories
The Dean Street Block Association (6th Ave. to Vanderbilt Ave.)

26.6% of the land in New York City is made up of public streets and sidewalks. Incredible opportunity exists to envision these narrow spaces as places of engagement and not just as conveyor belts for car and people.

The proposed vision for a sidewalk design at the corner of 6th avenue and Dean street demonstrates that even small interventions can serve an important purpose while beautifying our neighborhoods. The proposal includes colorful planters with season plantings, a high-quality metal fence and some street trees.

Directly across the street from this rendering on 6th Avenue a new plaza is proposed for the Atlantic Yards Barclays Center Arena. By adding a couple of benches and some planters the street is now captured by flanking public spaces providing a social amenity to the community.

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NoLandGrab: Thank you, Bruce Ratner!

Image: Tricia Martin of WE Design

Posted by eric at 11:25 AM

Who knows what the Barclays Center will bring?

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
by Raanan Geberer

It is now only a matter of months before the Barclays Center opens, changing the face of Downtown Brooklyn forever.

We’re used to audiences pouring out of shows by modern dance companies or a symphony at BAM, but that's nothing compared to the huge crowds that will be coming to the huge 19,000-seat venue for Nets games or to see such blockbuster acts as Rush, Neil Young or The Who. And it will be even busier if the Islanders decide to relocate there.

What will the scene be outside the arena after the events? Will “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz’s transportation plan work? Will Barclays’ security plan work?

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Posted by eric at 11:15 AM

Bruce Ratner: Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Already A Success

CBS New York
by Peter Haskell

“What you see here is almost complete interior of the arena,” [Bruce] Ratner told [WCBS 880's Peter] Haskell as he looked out over over what will be the floor of Barclays Center. “You’re going to feel more like you’re on top of the action than any arena that anybody has been in.”

He said fans will also appreciate how bright it is on the inside.

“So, there’s a lot of light and a lot of glass along the concourses,” he said.

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NoLandGrab: Take that, Madison Square Garden! You may be the World's Most Famous Arena, but ours is bright on the inside.

Posted by eric at 11:08 AM

What Planet Is Andrea Peyser Living on?

Brownstoner

NY Post columnist Andrea Peyser has said some ridiculous things in her day, but her fawning column yesterday about Bruce Ratner and the Barclays Arena may take the cake. Here’s one of the gems:

When Barclays is christened this fall as home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, Ratner will have pulled off the seemingly impossible. Almost single-handedly, he’ll have brought the Borough of Kings, long neglected and overshadowed by Manhattan, back to buzzworthy health.

What planet is this woman living on? Seriously. Sure, plenty of folks are now excited about the games and concerts that will come to the area in the fall, but the arena’s riding on the coattails of a bottoms-up resurgence that’s been building for many, many years and would have been plenty strong without any help from Ratner. The land where the arena’s being built was never blighted and the borough’s been getting plenty of buzz without any help from Ratner et al. For more mockery and dissection, see Norman Oder’s take(down) on AYR.

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NoLandGrab: Is Andrea Peyser, the psycho arena lady who pens a column for the NY Post, nuts? Or maybe Peyser, the hater of neighborhood activists (and bike lanes), is just an incompetent, overpromoted, overzealous newspaper hack.

Posted by eric at 10:54 AM

Mosley launches Assembly campaign, offers mealymouthed vagueness on Atlantic Yards

Atlantic Yards Report

Thanks to the Observer's Colin Campbell, who posted Walter Mosley Hopes to Replicate Hakeem Jeffries’ Magic yesterday with video, we have the 57th Assembly District candidate (and current male District Leader), friend and presumed heir of the House of Representatives-bound Jeffries, talking about Atlantic Yards.
...

"Where do you stand on Atlantic Yards?" asked the inimitable Stephen Witt, formerly of the Courier-Life chain and now of Our Time Press.

“Y'know, I supported the Atlantic Yards arena from--at the beginning, but obviously, promises have been broken, with regards to affordable housing going forward, with regards to the full-time jobs that were going to be there, in the residential towers," Mosley replied.

Except the residential towers were not supposed to be the source of jobs beyond a handful of maintenance/support positions. There were supposed to be office towers.

"We’re going to hold them to the task," Mosley said, without mentioning any steps, such as calling for the long-past-due Independent Compliance Monitor for the CBA.

"Obviously, know, the the stadium is here. But we can't continue to carp on the past," he said. "We have to continue to move forward and hold them true to their word, as it relates to affordable housing for our growing families. Decent affordable housing for those that wish to make Brooklyn their home, while at the same making sure that the full-time jobs are going to be available to our residents right here in the 57th Assembly District."

Mosley, however, has sat out the opportunity to comment on plans for the first tower in the project, which does not do much for "our growing families.

We'll see if Olanike Labai or Martine Guerrier, Mosley's rivals in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary, have anything more to say.

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Posted by eric at 10:43 AM

July 24, 2012

No Sparkle In Barclays’ Bob Diamond: Societal Mores Unmoored, What And Who We Honor Today- That Which We Used To Shun

Noticing New York

Michael D.D. White recalls a college campus visit with his daughter as a way of making a point about naming rights — and wrongs.

In September of 2009 I found myself visiting the admissions office of Colby College up in Maine. The college representative handling the orientation was expounding to our small group about the unique attributes of a Colby College education. His adjectives and concepts were all rather vague. I wanted to lock it down with some tangible specifics. “Can you give me examples,” I asked, “of individuals graduating from Colby College in whom you can see represented the kind of traits that this kind of special Colby College education imbued them with?”

“Well, there is Doris Kearns Goodwin, the presidential historian,” (indeed, I had already noted the Doris Kearns Goodwin books, including her 2005 “Team of Rivals,” sitting on the bookshelves at the back of the room dedicated to Colby College authors- I was also quite familiar with her as a dependably tapped talking head on subjects presidential for American Experience documentaries and Charlie Rose shows), . . . “And then there’s”- the Colby College representative straightened his spine as if the individual he was about to announce outranked Ms. Goodwin in stature- “Bob Diamond the head of Barclays Bank.” . . .

. . . He smiled. I scowled.

“You know,” I said, “we come from Brooklyn and a lot of people in Brooklyn have a lot of problems with Barclays Bank and its involvement in putting its name on and money into the basketball arena boondoggle project being forced through with eminent domain abuse. We would consider Mr. Diamond’s role in all of that unethical and harmful to the community.” All of this wound up with me having more discussions afterward with the college admission’s representative and with other parents from our small discussion group about the bad things that Barclays was doing . . . The bad things Barclays was doing that were known at the time.

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Posted by eric at 10:34 PM

Atlantic Yards arena construction ignores tough regulations to reduce noise and pollution, new report claims

Complaints of "...sleepless nights...dust...(and) vibration damage" from nearby Prospect Heights residents

NY Daily News
by Reuven Blau

Construction crews racing to finish the Brooklyn Barclays Center are ignoring strict regulations to reduce noise and pollution, a new report by critics has found.

In 2006, developer Forest City Ratner agreed to keep the site safe for Prospect Heights residents, by limiting late night work; constantly washing down trucks from dangerous dust; and requiring heavy duty vehicles to use main streets in an effort to avoid residential blocks.

But the study by Sandstone Environmental Associates, an environmental consulting group, concluded that many of those strict precautions were being ignored at the arena and other related sites.

“The construction mitigation measures can be considered a failure for numerous citizens who have experienced extremely loud noise, consecutive sleepless nights due to 24/7 construction activities, clouds of fugitive dust, vibration damage, and other impacts,” the 71-page study said.

Apparently, someone needs to help the perps understand the meaning of "committed."

“As the report acknowledges, Forest City committed to strict rules governing construction noise, dust and traffic mitigation that go above and beyond New York City's own building code because we are committed to minimizing disruption to our neighbors,” Jonathan Rosen said. “We take every complaint from our neighbors seriously and work hard to address them and meet our commitments to the community.”

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Related content...

Atlantic Yards Watch, Study finds many problems remain after years of reports showing noncompliance with environmental commitments were submitted to ESDC

An analysis of documents submitted by the environmental consultant HDR retained by ESDC to monitor compliance with Atlantic Yards' noise and air quality protocols has found that the agency has been advised of significant areas of non-compliance on an ongoing basis since construction began in 2010. The analysis is contained in a report prepared for AYW by Sandstone Environmental Associates of Metuchen, NJ. Sandstone also found that some air and noise mitigations originally planned were likely inadequate, several planned mitigations were implemented late or not at all, and others that had been implemented unevenly were not being enforced either by FCRC, ESDC or City agencies.

Click through for a lengthy list of the ways Forest City Ratner is failing to meet its "commitments to the community."

Posted by eric at 10:12 PM

Brooklyn Reconstructed

Battle for Brooklyn via Kickstarter

Update #88

Battle continues to roll across the country and we are gearing up for dozens of screenings timed to the opening of the Arena. Mayor Bloomberg says at the end of the film, "No one's gonna care how long it took. They are just going to look and see that it was done." We think that the film is helping to disprove this idea, and we are working robustly to make it less true everyday.

I am also writing to let you know about a series that starts tomorrow at the ethical culture society in Brooklyn with My Brooklyn. It's called Brooklyn Reconstructed and it features at least 7 films (one a month). Battle for Brooklyn plays on Sept 26th - 2 days before the arena opens. There's a nice article in the L magazine about the series. All of the films are extremely thoughtful and well made. Before Isabel Hill made Brooklyn Matters she made "Made in Brooklyn". You'll laugh, you'll cry, you punch a politician in the eye.

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Posted by eric at 10:05 PM

MTA begins removing 'ugly' barricade around LIRR Atlantic Terminal

Agency bows to two years of local pressure in Brooklyn

NY Daily News
by Alex Robinson and Pete Donohue

The MTA, bowing to public outrage from Brownstone Brooklyn pols and aesthetes, has begun removing 15 massive granite tombs that have ringed the Long Island Rail Road’s new Atlantic Terminal since its opening two years ago.

Let's hope they don't disturb the remains.

The removal of the perimeter security — consisting of 15 four-foot-high sarcophagi that were far bulkier than they needed to be under NYPD anti-terrorism standards — is a “major victory,” said Councilwoman Letitia James.

“I’m glad the MTA has taken into consideration a lot of objections expressed by my constituents and my office,” she said.

As an alternative, the MTA will install smaller and sleeker metal bollards outside the $108-million rail station.
...

“The MTA and LIRR listened to the concerns of community leaders and local elected officials who felt the stone bollards were intrusive and perhaps out of scale with the project overall,” MTA spokesman Sal Arena [not his real name — only joking] said.

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Related coverage...

The Brooklyn Paper, Stones rolled: Atlantic Terminal bollards ripped out!

The bollards didn’t win over many fans at first — but some Brooklynites had grown accustomed to the barricades.

“Where am I going to eat my sandwich now?” asked a disappointed sandwich-toting passerby.

NoLandGrab: Unless this is your sandwich, the new bollards should be fine.

Posted by eric at 9:47 PM

Revenge of the Megaprojects

Curbed

The blind had previously been spared this affront...

First came the subway signs, then came the protesting t-shirts, now comes a new recording from the automated subway lady! The MTA is plowing forward with the name change of the Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street stop—today the subway voice told us "This is Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center." Next up: podcasts of the old recordings?

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Posted by eric at 8:12 PM

Walter Mosley Hopes to Replicate Hakeem Jeffries’ Magic

Politicker
by Colin Campbell

In the sweltering heat earlier today, District Leader Walter Mosley formally kicked off his campaign for the State Assembly seat currently held by Hakeem Jeffries. Mr. Jeffries, of course, is set to cruise into Washington D.C. after his dominating congressional primary win in the heavily Democratic area, leaving a vacant seat behind him.
...

Mr. Jeffries and Mr. Mosley both belong to the same Democratic club, so most expect and endorsement from Mr. Jeffries to come landing down at some point in the campaign, although it hasn’t been formally rolled out yet. Mr. Jeffries obviously won his own assembly district by a strong margin in his own race and his backing can only help as Mr. Mosley seeks to beat primary rivals Ola Alabi and Martine Guerrier.
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And on the most charged and controversial issue in the district, the construction of Atlantic Yards, Mr. Mosley took a middle-of-the-road position of acknowledging his support but demanding more action on the chief complaints of the project’s opponents.

“I supported the Atlantic Yards arena at the beginning, but obviously promises have been broken, with regards to affordable housing going forward, with regards to the full-time jobs that were going to be there,” he said in response to a reporter’s inquiry on the matter. “We’re going to hold them to the task."

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NoLandGrab: How, exactly?

Posted by eric at 8:03 PM

The Brooklyn Gentrification Film Series

The L Magazine
by Henry Stewart

Tomorrow night, with My Brooklyn, Filmwax kicks off its documentary screening series Brooklyn Reconstructed, featuring seven films about development and gentrification that will be screened one a month through January at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture in Park Slope. We spoke to Filmwax's Adam Schartoff about development in Brooklyn, and why there are so many documentaries about our borough.

Why put on a series like this now?

The films are all movies that were made over many years, and documented a changing city in ways that the "media" has been unable to. In large part I think they were inspired by a wave of "development without representation." In each case the filmmakers observed a government/business effort to push through zoning changes that brought massive revenue to developers in ways that denied any real input to those citizens most affected by the plans. Gentrification and development are nothing new. But what's taken place in neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn, to name just two, are the results of a very different phenomena. While being floated as normal change, in fact what we've seen in the past decade is not organic gentrification, but a remarkably calculated land grab designed by our mayor, the City Planning Committee and a few greedy developers. These folks are owning both sides of the argument. It's rather impressive, really.

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Posted by eric at 7:41 PM

Controversial Atlantic Avenue “Coffins” Now Being Removed in Brooklyn

Transportation Nation
by Andrea Bernstein

Surely this didn't waste too much money...

The imposing concrete bollards surrounding Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal station are coming down.

The so-called “coffins” appeared without warning in 2010, when the new terminal was opened. “More Extreme Than NYPD Counterterror Guidelines” mocked a Streetsblog headline. Urban planners decried the bollards as pedestrian-unfriendly and a backwards model of city design.

The Long Island Rail Road and nine subway lines stop at the Atlantic Terminal station, which will serve the new Barclays Center arena when it opens in September.

New York’s MTA cited unspecified security concerns in installing what the Brooklyn Paper called “sarcophagi.”

Workers there say the bollards will be replaced with “something else,” but there’s no word yet from the MTA on what’s coming.

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NoLandGrab: Actually, WE were the first to call the massive bollards sarcophagi, when we broke the story in early December, 2009.

Photo: Andrea Bernstein/WNYC

Posted by eric at 11:28 AM

A Real Estate Industry Code: The Special Interests of Forest City Ratner vs. The Rest of the Real Estate Community And New York City at Large

Noticing New York

Ratner’s mega-monopoly should be broken because he is a bad dude, and, as I later testified at the hearing, it should also be broken up because, irrespective of whether he is a bad dude, monopolies (particularly a really big one like this) are deleterious the city as a whole and therefore to all the rest of us.

Further, I told my listener, I would make the point that Ratner’s over-scale and overly dense mega-project was a subsidy hog, that it misdirects scarce subsidy that should be divided up to better benefit multiple developers, not-for-profits and minority developers more likely to be among them.

“That's great,” my listener said, “you should be able to get a lot of real estate developers to come to the hearing and testify to the same thing!”

“No,” I said, “they won't be doing that.”

“Why?” asked my listener. “That should be something they should really want.”

I offered my explanation. “They won't do it, and they don't do it,” I said, “because the real estate development community has a code. They NEVER testify against each other. It doesn’t matter how preposterously greedy another developer’s proposal may be or how deleterious that proposal is to the rest of the real estate community and to the city at large; they won’t do it.”

“It’s a club in which Forest City Ratner is one of the biggest members,” I said. I told my listener that the powerful Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) always supports Forest City Ratner’s proposals even when those proposals are specific just to Forest City Ratner (and outrageous) notwithstanding that the Ratner proposals are not generally beneficial to the real estate board's members and can actually represent sacrifice or jeopardy for them.

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Posted by eric at 10:57 AM

Names, Trains, and Corporate Deals

Why Public Transit Shouldn’t Sell Naming Rights

Boston Review
by Frank Pasquale

The never-ending budget crises of American cities are claiming another victim: public transit. Managers are cutting services and workers. There are longer waits for rides—when they still exist. From the stygian gloom of New York subways to the retro interiors of the Bay Area’s BART trains, public transit appears to be declining as rapidly as the middle class.

The problem has become so dire that even station names are on the table. Transit authorities in Boston, Chicago, and Austin have hired IMG Worldwide to sell their naming rights. (IMG gets a 12 percent cut for its services; apparently the public sector is too depleted to negotiate its own deals.) New York City already shook hands with Barclays Bank, allowing it to christen a massive transit hub in Brooklyn “Atlantic Ave.-Barclays Center.”
...

Barclays also purchased the rights to name the New York Nets’ future home, for more than $300 million. The right to name the subway station next to it cost a mere $4 million, to be paid $200,000 per year for twenty years. There is poetic justice to naming professional sports stadiums after Systemically Important Financial Institutions, to use the Dodd-Frank locution. Both mega banks and mega sports franchises have benefited from sweetheart tax deals, exemptions from antitrust regulations, and other government backing. Both feature immensely overpaid stars.
...

What Barclays now stands for—rapacious financialization and outright fraud—directly offends the values that public transit represents. Perhaps its yearly $200,000 payments can fund two or three union jobs. But if we were really serious about both raising employment and reducing inequality, we would tax our cash-hoarding corporate behemoths, not beg them for ad money.

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Photo: Adrian Kinloch

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Naming-rights deals, suggests law professor, are "transparent efforts by dubious enterprises to buy goodwill by permanently associating themselves with famous landmarks"

Norman Oder does some minor fact-checking...

Actually, Barclays did not buy naming rights to the transit hub. Forest City Ratner, the developer building the arena, did.

Why? They didn't explain publicly, but it was likely part of the renegotiations regarding the naming rights deal for the arena.

New York state (nominal owner of the arena) gave away naming rights to Forest City to sell. Forest City made a deal with Barclays for a reported $300 to $400 million. That was for an arena designed by Frank Gehry, and supposed to open in 2009. Ultimately, Gehry was dropped from the project, the arena was delayed, and the naming rights deal was reduced to $200 million (plus unspecified other payments). Forest City brought Barclays in on the arena bond deal (one carrot) and bought the station naming rights (second carrot).

Posted by eric at 10:41 AM

Clock Starts on Council Review of Barclays Center Security Plan

Letter received by City Council formally starts process of NYPD's 78th Precinct taking over policing at new Brooklyn Nets arena opening this fall.

Park Slope Patch
by Will Yakowicz and Paul Leonard

Time is ticking.

The City Council recently received a letter from Mayor Michael Bloomberg detailing the New York Police Department's Barclays Center security plan, according to Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Brooklyn.

The letter officially starts a 60-day review process, after which lawmakers are expected to vote on the proposal.

Last week, Patch reported on the contents of the letter that proposed transferring Atlantic Terminal and a portion of Barclays Center from the 88th Precinct based in Clinton Hill to the 78th Precinct covering Prospect Heights and Park Slope.

James said that she does not know when the Council will vote on the policing plan.

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Posted by eric at 10:36 AM

The little economic engine that could? Once Atlantic Yards was called an "economic engine." Now it's the arena.

Atlantic Yards Report

The Summer 2012 issue of Brooklyn!!, Borough President Marty Markowitz's promotional publication, offers an enthusiastic coverage of the new arena, with a curious claim:

Along with pumping up Brooklyn’s reputation as the place for sporting and entertainment events, Barclays Center is its own economic engine, providing 2,000 full and part-time jobs, plus a shot in the arm to the ancillary businesses around the arena.

Forest City Ratner says those 2,000 jobs add up to 1,240 FTE (full-time equivalent), but I think that's very doubtful.

Either way, it's hard to call the arena "its own economic engine," given the significant subsidies and tax breaks, and the fact that the New York City Independent Budget Office calls it a net loss to the city.

After all, sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, at least before he delivered a report for his client, Forest City Ratner, told the 2/16/04, Courier-Life, "One would not say, 'Let's move the Nets to Brooklyn to help the local economy.'"

Now one would, at least if the one is Markowitz.

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Posted by eric at 10:25 AM

Two of Our Favorite Brooklynites, Bruce Ratner and Andrea Peyser, Tour the Barclays Center

NY Observer
by Matt Chaban

We're not certain, but we think that headline might be mocking its subjects.

A lot of bombast has been spread on both sides of the great Barclays Center battle of the past decade, but Andrea Peyser manages to take the cake as she always does, along with the amazing “photo composite” the Post put together of Bruce Ratner as ring leader.
...

The buzz is back! But not without alienating the poor, project-dwelling locals. How about those $30 tickets for all! Without this, there would be nothing but needles littering the borough’s beloved brownstones.

When I toured this site in 2004, it was a disgrace. It was scarred with toxic rail yards that had squatted on this spot, like a disease, for decades. Then I spied a pile of hypodermic needles.

It was long past time to breathe air back into Brooklyn. Or shut the lights and get the hell out.

Brooklyn 2.0: We’ll leave the lights on for you.

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Image: NY Post

Posted by eric at 10:18 AM

July 23, 2012

B’klyn revival’s ringmaster

NY Post
by Andrea Peyser

Guess who's off her meds (again).

Bruce Ratner doesn’t walk. He bounces. In a hard hat, rumpled suit and never a tie, Ratner vibrates giddily amid buzzing saws and deafening drills, before leaping amid never-sat-in seats covered in dusty plastic.

We’re in the brand-new crux of the known universe, Barclays Center, now under construction, talking about the rise of Brooklyn.

“It’s incredible!’’ enthused Ratner, 67, the hyperactive developer and CEO of Forest City Ratner.
...

When Barclays is christened this fall as home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, Ratner will have pulled off the seemingly impossible. Almost single-handedly, he’ll have brought the Borough of Kings, long neglected and overshadowed by Manhattan, back to buzzworthy health.

Yes, Andrea, Brooklyn was nowhere without Bruce's basketball arena. Once it's open, real estate values should start to take off, and maybe people will want to live here.

“It was crazy. A lot of newcomers from outside New York’’ fought the arena. He tries not to be bitter.

That's right, we were busing in protesters from Wisconsin.

article

NoLandGrab: The circus motif is actually spot on.

Paul Martinka/Post Photo Composite

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Absurdist Post columnist Peyser: "Almost single-handedly, [Ratner]'’ll have brought the Borough of Kings... back to buzzworthy health"

Giddy, fact-challenged New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser, having completely forgotten the 10,000 Atlantic Yards jobs she once promoted, but maintaining her dada take from 12/1/09, writes a valentine today to Bruce Ratner, headlined B’klyn revival’s ringmaster.

So, Ratner gets credit for Brooklyn's revival? Puh-leeze.
...

Peyser writes:

When I toured this site in 2004, it was a disgrace. It was scarred with toxic rail yards that had squatted on this spot, like a disease, for decades. Then I spied a pile of hypodermic needles. It was long past time to breathe air back into Brooklyn. Or shut the lights and get the hell out.

Rail yards that "squatted," or functioned? They still "squat," by the way. As for the needles, and the weeds, well, that was a clean-up problem that neither the city nor the LIRR wanted to grapple with.

Even Roger Green, the Assemblyman who supported the project, said the neighborhood wasn't blighted.

Job fictions

Peyser writes:

The arena will pump 2,000 sorely needed jobs into the economy, putting a dent into Brooklyn’s unemployment, which stood at an unconscionable 10.3 percent in May, compared to 8.2 percent in Manhattan. Half the job applicants live in public housing. Plus, 6,400 “awesome’’ housing units are going up next year, about a third of them classified as “affordable.’’

"2,000 sorely needed jobs"? Even Forest City claims the full-time equivalent figure is 1,240, which seems vastly exaggerated. So much for the dent.

The promised 6,430 apartments aren't going up next year, just--maybe--the first tower, with 363 units.

True News, NYP Peyser Kisses Developer's Ratner Ass

NLG: That'd explain Andrea's constant prune face.

Posted by eric at 10:14 AM

Brooklyn Nets ad blitz fans fever

Team cranking up support in new home borough

NY Daily News
by Phyllis Furman

Hello, Brooklyn Nets!

Starting tomorrow, they’ll be plastered everywhere from billboards to phone kiosks as Brooklyn’s new team looks to drum up fan fever ahead of its Barclays Center fall debut.

“We want to get them excited,” said Nets Chief Marketing Officer Fred Mangione. “We want them to know we are here in Brooklyn and they have a great team to support.”

article

Photo: NY Daily News

Posted by eric at 10:01 AM

Comptroller Says Housing Lotteries Chosen Out of Trash Bags

The audit says there are flaws in New York City's current affordable housing lottery system.

Park Slope Patch
by Jamie Schuh

New York City’s affordable housing lotteries are chosen by mixing applications around on the floor, and drawing them from large garbage bags, says a shocking new audit by the office of City Comptroller John Liu.

The audit found that the selection process is vulnerable to errors and fraud.

“It’s shameful that when thousands of New York families desperately need affordable housing their hopes are pinned on the City’s embarrassingly ad hoc and sloppy process,” said Comptroller Liu.

And on Bruce Ratner.

Comptroller Liu’s audit, which focused on fiscal year 2011, determined that HPD’s garbage bag lottery was not sufficiently random and created opportunities for error or preferential treatment.

In one instance, auditors found that two out of 11 applicants who were listed as residents of the community board — and therefore offered first preference in the lottery — were not in fact residents of the community board at all.

article

NoLandGrab: We suppose having your application pulled out of a garbage bag is better than having Bertha Lewis decide who does or doesn't get a subsidized apartment.

Posted by eric at 9:54 AM

Nets, Barclays Center sign AmEx

Sports Business Journal
by Don Muret

American Express has planted a velvet rope at Barclays Center after the curtain closed on its extended run at Madison Square Garden. The financial services company has become a founding partner of the Brooklyn Nets and their new arena after signing a five-year deal.

link [Free trial registration required for full article]

Posted by eric at 9:50 AM

Advice for the New York Times's New Public Editor

The Huffington Post
by Daniel R. Schwarz

On July 16, the New York Times announced that its fifth public editor would be Margaret M. Sullivan, "the first woman to hold this position."
...

With the appointment of Ms. Sullivan, this is a good time to review what the public editor position has accomplished and where it has failed.
...

By consulting outside financial experts, the public editor must, when necessary, shine an informed light on the Times's financial relationship with both Mexican magnate Carlos Slim and with the Forest City Ratner real estate company, which now owns the entire new Times building and leases the Times's floors back to it.

article

Posted by eric at 9:44 AM

July 22, 2012

Undoing development promises, in Chelsea and in Prospect Heights: shouldn't there be a quid pro quo?

Atlantic Yards Report

There's a telling passage at the end of a 7/18/12 New York Observer article, Chelsea Marketing: Expansion Fits With Beloved Building’s Past, But What About Chelsea’s Future?, about the controversial plans to build on top of the Chelsea Market building, to take advantage of the High Line:

Architect Gregg Pasquarelli knows a thing or two about additions on top of Chelsea buildings. His SHoP Architects, better known for the Barclays Center and East River Esplanade, designed the Porter House across the street from the market. It happens to be one of the firm’s first successes, the dark metal box with the vertical lights running through it, perched atop the yellow-brick Old Homestead Steakhouse.

Mr. Pasquarelli has called it home since it opened a decade ago, and he said he welcomes his new neighbor, even if it will block his view.

“What’s wrong with congestion?” he asks. “I’m all for congestion, it’s the lifeblood of the city. The neighborhood can handle the density.”

This is the way New York, Chelsea, Nabisco, has always been developing. The city, Google, needs the space, needs the money. There is nowhere else to go but up. A development promise has been undone. It is not the first time, and it will not be the last. At least this is taking place atop an already big building in an already crowded district.

“I just wish they had been a little more ambitious with their design,” Mr. Pasquarelli said. “It’s fairly suburban.”

I don't know the issue well enough to judge whether the "neighborhood can handle the density," but I'll note that that's been an argument for Atlantic Yards: sure, the neighborhood can handle more density, but, for example, the amount of open space per person would actually go down, not increase, despite the much-promised eight acres of open space.

Undoing development promises

Writer Matt Chaban's observation ("A development promise has been undone. It is not the first time, and it will not be the last.") is both true and nonjudgmental.

Should one of the lingering questions be: when development promises are undone (see: Atlantic Yards), shouldn't there be consequences? For example, when developer Forest City Ratner renegotiated the Vanderbilt Yard deal with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, saving money by paying only $20 million down (instead of $100 million), and building a smaller railyard, the MTA extracted nothing in return.

The not-so-radical Regional Plan Association recommended "granting the MTA a greater portion of future proceeds, conducting a new cost benefit analysis and creating a new ESDC subsidiary to review design elements and oversee the development process as it goes through different iterations."

Didn't happen.

link

Posted by steve at 10:00 PM

A film series, Brooklyn Reconstructed, takes on changes, including Atlantic Yards

Atlantic Yards Report

A press release about BROOKLYN RECONSTRUCTED, a film series that includes Battle for Brooklyn, not coincidentally two days before the Barclays Center opens:

Gentrification, eminent domain, public subsidies for luxury developments, political corruption, rising rents and neighborhood revitalization are underlying themes in most Brooklynites’ day-to-day lives. With that in mind, a new screening series, BROOKLYN RECONSTRUCTED, by Filmwax’s Adam Schartoff, taps into the borough’s zeitgeist, its wealth of local filmmakers and their recent output of documentaries that address these issues. Each film in the series, to be screened at The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture at 53 Prospect Park West, will deal with the themes of gentrification & development in Brooklyn. Within those themes is a conversation about race & class in a city undergoing a startling transformation. In order to cultivate a rich conversation about the above issues, a discussion led by a panel of regional activists, scholars, civic leaders and the filmmakers will accompany every screening.

...

BATTLE FOR BROOKLYN (2012) [Sept. 26], by Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley, follows the story of reluctant activist Daniel Goldstein as he struggles to save his home and community from being demolished to make way for a professional basketball arena and the densest real estate development in U.S. history. Along the way, he falls in love, gets married and starts a family while living in a vacated building located at the heart of the project site. Over the course of seven years, Daniel spearheads the movement against the development plan as he and the community fight tenaciously in the courts, the streets, and the media to stop the abuse of eminent domain and reveal the corruption at the heart of the plan.

link

Posted by steve at 9:55 PM

July 21, 2012

So, what firm is in charge of prepaid parking for Brooklyn arena-goers? ParkWhiz gets some press, while official operator Click and Park seems not quite finished with its plan

Atlantic Yards Report

There was an odd article posted yesterday on Capital New York headlined A Chicago parking company prepares to take advantage of a 'bad situation' at Barclays Arena, since it focused on what is apparently an upstart competitor to the Barclays Center's planned parking partner, with no mention of the latter.

After sketching the neighborhood demand for residential permit parking and the arena operators' emphasis on mass transit, the article states:

Meanwhile, a Chicago-based company that allows drivers to find nearby parking lots online and book spaces ahead of time, is preparing to capitalize on the chaos.

"We want to be here to help people make the best of a bad situation," said Justin Baker, the marketing manager of the company, ParkWhiz, which positions itself as the Expedia of the driving world and connects drivers with millions of parking spots via its website.

...In April, the site began marketing parking spots in two private lots within walking distance of the arena: the Prospect Heights ParkRight at 315 St. Mark's Avenue, between Underhill and Washington avenues, about 10 blocks from the stadium; and the Downtown Brooklyn ParkRight at Gold and Tillary streets, also about a 10-block hike. Six more are expected to go live before Jay-Z's opening show in September.

By the way, the lowest prices at the more distant ParkWhiz lot, at Gold and Tillary, are quite reasonable: $7.70 (with fees) for a show. It is a hike down Flatbush Avenue, perhaps worth a subway or bus ride. And it would become less attractive in colder weather.

Where's Click and Park?

The article seemed based on a press release or tip from ParkWhiz, not ongoing coverage of Atlantic Yards.

As I commented, ParkWhiz has a national competitor called Click and Park.

Since May, Barclays Center operators have said they're working with Click and Park to sign up most of the parking garages close to the arena and that arena goers will be able to reserve parking space when they buy tickets on the arena web site.

While the Click and Park website does not mention the Barclays Center connection, it does operate a website called BarclayParking, which is not quite ready for prime time, since, as shown below, the "General Information" section contains placeholder latinate.

Nor is it possible to buy parking--or "parking permits"--at this point.

However, as the map above indicates, Click and Park has signed up several garages, including at Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Center mall and at the Newswalk building at 700 Pacific Street. No pricing is yet available.

link

Posted by steve at 5:52 PM

“Barclays” Center Opening Pending, Bloomberg De-Minimizes Envisioned New York City Lawsuit Against Barclays Bank. Is He Out On A Limb?

Noticing New York

With a significant amount of New York City government hoopla about to be unleashed with respect to the opening of the “Barclays” Center (i.e. the Ratner/Prokhorov basketball arena for the Nets) Mayor Bloomberg may be going out on a limb to minimize the story about how NYC could be suing Barclays Bank at pretty much the same time. Baltimore and other municipalities are suing Barclays Bank for its rate manipulation in the LIBOR scandal, but Bloomberg is taking the position that New York, a much bigger city than Baltimore, the financial capital of country and a leader in doing government financing in terms of both scale and complexity is only likely to have “de minimus” losses because of Barclays . . . but Bloomberg is nevertheless envisioning that NYC may very well be participating in lawsuits against Barclays.

The story about the Mayor’s consultation with his budget director Mark Page was on WNYC yesterday evening. Noticing New York is providing WNYC's entire story below since it is not otherwise available on the internet:

Mayor Bloomberg says the city may have lost money due to rate tampering by large banks. But he doesn't believe the losses were large. Mark Page, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, briefed the Mayor this morning on the city's potential exposure. The city has swaps agreements on construction bonds, linked to a key interest rate that may have been manipulated.

Cut to clip of Mayor Bloomberg himself:

“If the rate went down some city debt would be adversely impacted, and some city debt would be favorably impacted. If there are class action suits, we'll join em, but it would be a de minimus amount of money.”

It's the first time the Mayor has spoken on the subject since Barclays Bank admitted it tampered with the benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR.

Is Bloomberg paying attention to Noticing New York’s inquiries about what government agencies will be suing Barclays? Bloomberg’s quick and dismissive assessment of the lawsuit situation comes just two days after the New York City Housing Development Corporation (“HDC”), a Bloomberg-controlled financing agency and one of the biggest municipal bond-issuing agencies in the country, declined to comment when Noticing New York inquired if that agency would be suing Barclays (quote: “HDC declines to comment on these issues at this time.”)

link

Posted by steve at 5:48 PM

July 20, 2012

London Fund-Raisers Put Romney in a Scandal’s Glare

The New York Times
by Michael Barbaro and Nicholas Confessore

First they helped drop an enormous white elephant in the midst of our neighborhoods. Then they grabbed the name of Brooklyn's biggest transit hub. Now they're trying to buy the presidential election.

They were envisioned as low-key, across-the-pond fund-raisers that would allow Mitt Romney to extract campaign cash from expatriates in London by night as he played statesman by day.

But the two receptions that Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, will hold for donors next week during a swing through Europe are turning into an ill-timed public relations headache for him.

Several of the events’ hosts are top executives at banks tied to the interest rate-fixing scandal that is now engulfing London’s financial and political world, linking Mr. Romney, however superficially, to a messy moment in the continuing debate over Wall Street excesses.

The British and American authorities are examining the role of more than 10 banks in the possible manipulation of key interest rates that affected how consumers and companies borrowed money around the world.

The former chief executive and a top lobbyist for Barclays, the bank at the center of the scandal, helped organize a Romney fund-raiser. The former chief executive, Robert E. Diamond Jr., has since withdrawn his name as the event’s co-host. The bank’s lobbyist, Patrick J. Durkin, remains a co-chairman: he has bundled $1.1 million for Mr. Romney from friends and business associates, more than any other lobbyist, according to federal records.
...

But Democrats may be loath to draw attention to Mr. Romney’s donations from big banks like Barclays. Employees of the bank have contributed $34,800 to Mr. Obama and his joint effort with the Democratic National Committee. (Mr. Obama does not allow registered lobbyists to bundle for his campaign.)

This month, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. attended a fund-raiser in Park City, Utah, co-hosted by Mark Gilbert, a top executive at Barclays, who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mr. Obama’s re-election bid.

article

Posted by eric at 11:39 AM

The Yormark-ization of the NBA: ads on uniforms likely coming in a year (Barclays, anyone?)

Atlantic Yards Report

We haven't read the article yet, but we have this creeping feeling that "Yormark-ization" is not a good thing.

Paul Lukas reports on UniWatch the the NBA likely will permit jersey ads beginning in 2013-14, measuring at least two inches square, though there must be an e-mail vote in September.

While uniform ads would not be required, deputy commissioner Adam Silver says, “My sense is that every team would do this in some form.” (Would Barclays, after buying arena naming rights, want a piece of the uniform--(and further criticism?)
...

What's wrong with it? Lukas writes:

I’ve never once said I’m opposed to advertising; I’m just opposed to advertising where it doesn’t belong. This content you’re reading here is available for free. To help offset my costs, I sell advertising, which is what media enterprises have been doing to offset their costs for centuries. But NBA teams already have lots of revenue streams — ticket sales, TV rights, merchandising, concessions, arena naming rights, and so on. Do they really need the revenue from uniform ads, or are they just greedy? (Yes, that question is rhetorical.)

Does Mikhail Prokhorov need the money?

Yormark in the lead

When this issue emerged earlier this year, Sporting News reported 3/5/12:

“Obviously, it’s a league decision, but as someone who spent seven years at NASCAR, I know the value of putting a brand on the playing field and the uniform, so it is certainly something I would support,” said New Jersey Nets CEO Brett Yormark. “You can monetize this in ways you can’t monetize any other kind of marketing inventory. And, of course, we’re in the No. 1 market in the country, so ...”

link

Related coverage...

Uni Watch, Hopefully I Won't Be Writing About Uniforms Anymore by Then Anyway, but Still...

This is a genuine red-alert crisis, people — even if you don’t care about the NBA (I don’t much care about it myself), this move would open the door for uniform advertising in the other Big Four leagues. The threat is real, and the time to respond to it is now: Tweet to @nba with the hashtag #NoUniAds, send an e-mail to the league, call the league office (they’re in the book: 212-407-8000). Do all of those things, and tell them in no uncertain terms, “NO UNIFORM ADS!” And if the ads will make you less likely to buy a retail jersey, be sure to tell them that too.

Remember, folks, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Your uni-verse needs you. You know what to do.

Posted by eric at 11:25 AM

As a parking lot for TV vans emerges on Dean Street and Sixth Avenue, how to make it work for neighbors? Testimony from the Dean Street Block Association suggests adjustments

Atlantic Yards Report

TV vehicles serving the Barclays Center arena will be parking in a residential neighborhood. Does that mean any adjustments in the fence, the restoration of street trees, and the monitoring of impacts? Unclear.

Yesterday, the Department of Transportation held a hearing on a "revocable consent" for Forest City Ratner to run cable conduits from the Barclays Center arena under Sixth Avenue between Dean and Pacific streets to the parking lot at the northeast corner where six vans and a truck could park.

This broadcast support area, which would complement space under the arena for TV trucks, was not mentioned in the 2006 environmental review or 2009 update, but, in December 2010, an outline of the plan emerged in a graphic ([right]).

The lot was created by combining an existing empty lot with the space created by the demolition of two townhouses purchased by Forest City Ratner.

The three adjacent houses on Dean Street, officially designated as part of the project footprint and originally supposed to be part of a larger lot used for construction staging and ultimately a 272-foot tower, remain privately owned and subject to eminent domain at a later date.

article

Posted by eric at 11:16 AM

July 19, 2012

“Barclays” Center Opening Pending, Will Empire State Development Sue Barclays Bank?: ESD Says The Question Is Being Reviewed By ESD Counsel’s Office

Noticing New York

As previously covered here, Baltimore and a number of other municipal governments are suing Barclays Bank in connection with its LIBOR benchmark interest manipulations. (See: Saturday, July 14, 2012, Will The Empire State Development Corporation (ESD), The MTA, NYC And New York State Sue Barclays Bank?) It therefore seemed logical for me to wonder whether the state’s Empire State Development agency and other state and local governments in New York would also similarly be suing Barclays.
...

ESD’s press office confirmed to me that the question is in fact “being reviewed by our counsel’s office.” In other words, in that respect they are like the MTA.

I also asked whether ESD would, alongside the MTA, confirm:

• That ESD is similarly outraged about the apparent market manipulation.

and

• That ESD is similarly committed to do everything possible to protect ESD.

The press office’s response was that ESD “cannot comment further at this time.”

article

Related content...

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, Testimony Rips Latest Ratner Request for More Atlantic Yards Subsidies

Very few people knew about yesterday's New York City Housing Development Corporation" (NYC HDC) public hearing on $92 million in tax-exempt bonds for the first Atlantic Yards tower. And even less information was available about the building the bonds would fund.

But local activist, lawyer, former state housing official, and Noticing New York blogger Michael D.D. White was at the hearing to give testimony ripping apart Ratner's request for more subsidies based on the history of the Atlantic Yards project to date....

Posted by eric at 11:02 PM

Time for a Fan to Switch Jerseys? Really?

City Room
by Michael Powell

Gotham columnist Powell lays out why he's not going to throw over the messed-up, infuriating Knicks, DodoDolan notwithstanding.

As for the Nets?

Let’s do the happily nasty recap. Bruce Ratner, a master builder as long as he’s working with government dimes, purchased this suburban nomad of a team and built a tax-subsidized arena in Brooklyn. He promised loads of affordable housing; alas, he hasn’t had the time to build that yet.

Mr. Ratner flipped the team to a Russian oligarch, Mikhail Prokhorov, who made billions in whatever fashion young Russian oligarchs make money. As for the team? I concede the point guard Deron Williams can play a lot better than Raymond Felton or the 39-year-old Jason Kidd, who is previewed as a level-headed wily vet* (* except when he dances on tables, hangs from chandeliers, and, so the police say, drives stone drunk through the Hamptons at night).

As for the rest? Joe Johnson, star shooter, will shoot a lot. Center Brook Lopez is Gandhian about rebounding. Kris Humphries used to date Kim Kardashian and seems to get booed a lot.

Whatever. May suburban refugee hipsters find comfort in a suburban team washed ashore on Flatbush Avenue.

I’m sticking with my ancestral loyalties, even if they edge perilously close to prima facie evidence of mental illness. Sound the bagpipes, wave the flags.

I’m a Knicks dead-Ender.

article

Posted by eric at 10:50 PM

A confounding HDC hearing on first Atlantic Yards tower: public testimony without clarity about financing; Forest City denounced, supported; FCR’s housing partner says first building falls short but should proceed

Atlantic Yards Report

There was something dismaying, but not so surprising, about the public hearing yesterday held by the New York City Housing Development Corporation (NYC HDC) regarding up to $92 million in tax-exempt bonds for the first Atlantic Yards tower, a 32-story, 363-unit building at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street, adjoining the Barclays Center arena.

It wasn’t simply that no board members were present for the hearing in Lower Manhattan, just three agency lawyers, plus an intern, observed by fewer than three dozen people, some of whom warned the agency about going forward, while others said, however flawed, it was a good start.

It was that no official presentation went beyond the contents of a developer-created handout (bottom) provided a day earlier, describing 150 studios (41%), 165 1-BR (46%) and 48 2-BR (13%), 50% of them subsidized, over five income bands.

Then again, the project does not have a transparent history.


We know developer Forest City Ratner seeks nearly $92 million in tax-exempt bonds, which offers crucial savings over taxable financing. We don’t know the full cost of the building nor the full mix of financing. We don’t know whether the tower, known as B2, would be built using modular construction, which is Forest City Ratner’s goal.

We don’t know how the subsidies compare to other projects in the so-called 50/30/20 program, with 50% market, 20% low-income, and 30% moderate- and middle-income units. We don’t even know the rents, at least beyond my unofficial calculations, which suggest that the top subsidized rungs easily track the market.

We weren't told the size of the units, though NYC HDC's Mixed-Income Program term sheet indicates they could be small, with the subsidized studios at 400 square feet minimum, 1-BR units at 575 sf, and 2-BR apartments at 775 sf.

We didn't learn the NYC HDC’s criteria for decisionmaking, though the building's skew toward smaller units actually goes against agency preference.

Also, there was no mention of modular plans. Would construction of what would be the tallest modular apartment building in the world be welcomed as a cost-saving tactic, or does the agency, and those who might insure the bonds, have any wariness about an experiment?

article

Posted by eric at 7:45 AM

Boiling Brains Over Easy

The Free School Apparent

The other afternoon I stood at a Park Slope bus stop near to the start of 5th Avenue. I have known this neighborhood for a long time. I have watched it’s slow and steady development over the past 30 years. Sections that would have been considered dangerous to stroll in, now sport cafes and high end restaurants, clothing stores, bike stores and many other signs of gentrification. And looming at the end of 5th Avenue is the growing creature known as the Barclay Center. A structure so out of place, it is shocking to see it there. Kind of like Gamera, the fire breathing Japanese turtle monster who battles Godzilla.

The Barclay Center is the future home of the Jersey Nets. The project has had problems from the beginning. (for more info on the impact of this project can be found at the blog Brooklyn Speaks) The major concern of the community is the blight it was about to bring to Brooklyn. Where neighborhoods have been going through steady improvements over the past few decades, Bruce Ratner’s plan is trying to make an instantaneous change to the area, which he is doing. The traffic is a disaster. And all of this was known right from the start. Studies have shown that stadiums of all kinds have never done ANYTHING for the communities around them. (see Jim Bouton’s comments, former NY Yankees pitcher) On the contrary, they tend to invite poverty and indigent characters. Stadiums are not patronized by the people who live near the stadium. Folks tend to drive in, watch the game, and then leave. Everywhere I have seen a stadium, whether here or abroad, the areas around them are always impoverished. This includes Madison Square Garden, which if you should visit at the wee hours of the morning, you will find a city of homeless people living on the streets around the arena. This with a sprinkle of drunken white people left over from the previous night’s event peeing and puking on the streets.

article

Posted by eric at 7:23 AM

Confimed: 78th Precinct in Park Slope to Police Barclays Center

Boundaries between the NYPD's 78th Precinct and 88th Precinct in Fort Greene-Clinton Hill to be redrawn, according to sources.

Park Slope Patch
by Will Yakowicz

The New York Police Department's strategy for keeping visitors and residents safe in and around the soon-to-be-opened Barclays Center just took a major step forward.

An elected official with knowledge of the proposal confirmed that the 78th Precinct in Park Slope will take over policing Barclays Center and Atlantic Terminal.
...

"It came as a surprise to everyone," said Robert Perris, district manager of Community Board 2, regarding Kelly's letter, which was highly anticipated by residents looking for a hint at NYPD's final plan on policing the 17,000-seat arena.

Perris confirmed word of a change in the boundaries of the 78th and 88th precincts, saying that plans would not involve a change of boundaries between Community Board 6 and Community Board 2.

An NYPD spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

The City Council must vote to approve the changes after a 60-day review period.

article

Posted by eric at 7:17 AM

Hello Brooklyn! Goodbye Knicks. (Is it Okay to Switch?)

Culture VI Experience

Listen, I’ve been a Knicks fan for a long time. I had hair past my shoulders and had to shave it off on a bet when Reggie dropped 11 in 8 on us. Believe me, I’ve bled with this team. I’ve emulated Mason’s hairstyles. I’ve drafted or traded for Starks in every basketball fantasy league I was ever in. I watched the NBA change their hand-checking rules because they were tired of watching Knick playoff games finish with football-type scores.

This isn’t just Jay-Z or Bruce Ratner’s fault. It’s true, I’d pretty much let Jay-Z have babies with my wife if he asked me to. I’m as big a fan of him as I am of my son. I’m such a fan, that I ever listen to Kingdom Come on a semi-regular basis. But if Jay would’ve bought the Mets or Jets or anyone else and moved them to Brooklyn? I wouldn’t have changed. See, I like being proud of the teams that I support. I have a Yankees tattoo, a NY Giants (football) tattoo. I’ve bled for this Knicks team. And how have they repaid me? By letting Isiah Thomas run the blue and orange into ground. By giving Marbury a 400 year contract. By firing any coach or GM who ever had any success and by extending the contracts of whoever could embarrass us most. If they would’ve given me a product to be proud of over the past decade? I’d stay true. But I really believe that James Dolan is a Brooklyn Nets fan.

article

Posted by eric at 7:12 AM

July 18, 2012

Bob Dylan releasing 'Tempest,' announces 2012 tour w/ Mark Knopfler, playing the Barclays Center (dates)

BrooklynVegan

Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see [how that arena got built]?

Bob Dylan will release his 35th studio album, Tempest, this year on September 11 on his label home of 50 years (!) Columbia Records. He produced the album himself under his producer pseudonym Jack Frost, which he's used on other past releases. The album is his first new release of original material since 2009's Together Through Life. That's the cover art above, and the tracklist is below.

Dylan will support the album on a tour with Mark Knopfler which culminates in a Brooklyn show at the new Barclays Center on November 21.

NoLandGrab: The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Related content...

The Hollywood Reporter, The Who Head Back on the Road to Perform ‘Quadrophenia’

The Who have announced plans to embark on their first North American tour in four years, where they will perform their iconic 1973 double album Quadrophenia in its entirety in a mix of arenas and smaller venues.
...

Other tour dates include Nov. 14 at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn; Dec. 2 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville; Dec. 5 at Madison Square Garden in New York; Dec. 9 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.; Jan. 30 at Staples Center in Los Angeles; Feb. 8 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas; and Feb. 22 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

NLG: Won't get fooled again?

Posted by eric at 11:15 PM

Noticing New York's Hearing Testimony Re New York City Housing Development Corporation's Subsidization of Ratner's Atlantic Yards Mega-Monopopoly

Noticing New York

The New York City Housing Development Corporation held an important hearing today on its proposed very substantial subsidization of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards mega-monopoly. Here is Noticing New York's testimony.
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Delivery of scarce-resource subsidy to Forest City Ratner for out-of-scale development hogs and misdirects subsidy that could and should be better used elsewhere, including smaller developers and not-for-profits with a better chance of it benefitting minority developers.

HDC needs to pay attention to the unhappy saga of abuse. None of us has amnesia about Ratner’s misdeeds and we are not about to get it.

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Related coverage...

Raulism via YouTube, Noticing New York's Hearing Testimony Re New York City Housing Development Corporation's Subsidization of Ratner's Real Estate Megamonopoly

Posted by eric at 7:18 PM

Consultant's monthly report: arena "slightly ahead of schedule" (not quite), Transit Connection behind (but not a problem); 550 workers (plus those at railyard)

Atlantic Yards Report

The latest Site Observation Report, issued yesterday by Merritt & Harris, the consultant that reports to the arena bond trustee, Empire State Development Corporation, and Forest City Ratner, declares "the Arena is slightly ahead of schedule, while the Transit Connection is currently 4 months behind its original schedule."

Of course, as the charts indicate, the arena is "slightly ahead of schedule" because they tweaked the schedule earlier this year.

The report, while issued yesterday is dated 7/9/12 and based on a 5/23/12 visit and documents dated 6/22/12.

Manpower

The report states, "According to the General Contractor and the Manpower Log, 550 persons have been on the job for the Arena and 48 persons for the Transit Connection this month." That's an increase from 490 and 48 in the previous report and is "attributed to the roofing, carpentry, and finish trades."

On 6/28/12, Patch quoted Forest City Ratner as having 1,079 employees on site, a number I couldn't get verified as full-time equivalent.

Even with a large crew at the railyard, which is not covered in the Merritt & Harris report (which examined documents dated less than a week before the Patch article), the total seems very doubtful.

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Posted by eric at 11:52 AM

Long-Awaited Housing at Atlantic Yards Moves Forward

WNYC
by Cindy Rodriguez

The plan to build affordable housing at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn appears to be moving forward after the slumping economy caused major delays. The city's Housing Development Corporation will hold a public hearing Wednesday on the sale of about $92 million in tax exempt bonds that will be used to finance more than 360 apartments.

Forest City Ratner, the project’s developer, said half the units in the new building will be below market rates and while preliminary work has begun, formal construction is scheduled for late 2012.The development plan calls for 6,430 apartments to eventually be built at the site. The bonds would help pay for the first building to go up.

According to a 2009 plan issued by Forest City Ratner, the housing should've started shortly after construction on Barclays Center began. But city Councilwoman Letitia James said that never happened. "And so now here we find ourselves in 2012 planning on building this affordable housing which will probably not be built until 2013 some time," she said. James, a vocal critic of the large development project, said nevertheless she is happy the housing was moving forward.

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Posted by eric at 11:33 AM

As Knicks let Lin leave for Houston, the defections to the Nets mount; does anybody care about the taint behind Atlantic Yards and the Nets' new arena?

Atlantic Yards Report

Now if Jim Dolan will just put Isiah Thomas back in charge, the total retrogression of the Knicks will be complete.

In June 2010, new (New Jersey) Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov made a hubristic boast: "We're going to turn Knicks fans into Nets fans."

As of last April, when Knicks fans invaded the Prudential Center in Newark, the Daily News reported,

Mikhail Prokhorov once said he’d turn Knicks fans into Nets fans. It’s safe to say none of the thousands were swayed Wednesday night in Newark.

Now the struggling Nets — 22-41 after the 104-95 defeat — are clearly facing an uphill battle for New York fan support ahead of their move to Brooklyn.

Now, thanks to Prokorov's (over)spending to assemble a strong if not championship-ready roster, and the New York Knicks' drawn-out and debatable decision to let potential star point guard Jeremy Lin (costly, but with huge upside, and not out of line with previous overspending) go to the (over)spending Houston Rockets, Knick fans are defecting.

Credit the moves by Prokhorov and his team, coupled with Knicks owner James Dolan's continued ability to confound fans (not that the Knicks won't sell out).

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NoLandGrab: While some Knick fans are understandably angry (heck, even we got caught up in the Linsanity last spring), the kneejerk "defections" are unlikely to last — especially if the prodigal Raymond Felton plays well and especially especially if this sets the table for the Knicks' acquisition of highly coveted PG Chris Paul.

Posted by eric at 11:14 AM

The Brains Behind Brooklyn’s Boom

Next American City
by Brian Browdie

When Jay-Z takes the stage to open the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn this September, the show will be more than a homecoming for the hip-hop superstar from the borough’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

The christening of the arena, part of the Atlantic Yards complex under construction between Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, will mark a milestone in a transformation of downtown that began eight years ago, when the Bloomberg administration instituted a series of zoning changes with the goal of spurring development. The city also invested nearly $300 million in local streetscapes and other improvements, including teaming with the state to build Brooklyn Bridge Park, a necklace of green along the East River that opened two years ago.
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But while Brooklyn’s boom has everything to do with national trends (including those pertaining to a certain h-word that will not be used here) and changing economic realities, there is another less-visible force that for the past nearly seven years has helped guide everything from which stores get new awnings to how many gleaming new towers rise in the once-desolate area surrounding the Manhattan Bridge.

Its name? The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

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NoLandGrab: That praise seems a bit overstated, no?

Posted by eric at 10:59 AM

Decoding first Atlantic Yards tower: "affordable" 2-BR rents from $726 to $3,112, murky financing plan, 20K square feet of "arena storage"

Atlantic Yards Report

HDC does its part to keep Atlantic Yards as opaque as ever.

The New York City Housing Development Corporation (NYC HDC) has passed along some cursory information regarding plans for the first Atlantic Yards residential tower, aka B2, the 32-story, 363-unit subject of a public hearing [today] at 1 pm.

There's no information on the agency web site. I was told I would have to file a Freedom of Information Law request for underlying documents, which will not be available for perusal [today].

However, the agency did send a two-page fact sheet, which bears significant similarity to two previous fact sheets (below) prepared by consultants for Forest City Ratner, but don't necessarily provide useful information to those who may wish to comment publicly [today].

The agency may provide up to $92 million in bonds, part of a financing plan that includes Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HDC Second Mortgage & Developer Equity. But it's not clear what the mix would be.

Here are the highlights:

  • There's no mention if the building will be modular.
  • A subsidized 2-BR unit in the lowest range of affordability should rent for $726,25.
  • A subsidized 2-BR unit in the midrange of affordability should rent for $1,660/mo.
  • A subsidized 2-BR unit in the highest range of affordability should rent for $3,112.50/mo.
  • Of the affordable units, 20% will be 2-BR units, though developer Forest City Ratner's agreement with ACORN pledged 50% (in floor space) devoted to family-size units.
  • The building is heavily weighted to smaller units, perhaps because more transient singles/couples would agree the location trumps living over an arena.
  • The building will offer 20,000 square feet of "arena storage."

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Posted by eric at 10:42 AM

Daffy’s Failure Means a Vacancy at Atlantic Terminal Mall

Brownstoner

The news that discount retailer Daffy’s is closing its doors after more than five decades may not bring a tear to many readers’ eyes but it does mean something for the Downtown Brooklyn real estate market: One of the the Secaucus, N.J.-based chain’s 19 locations is at the Atlantic Terminal Mall. While that might seem like bad news for landlord Forest City Ratner at first blush, given rising rental rates for retail in recent months in the area around Barclays Center, it might actually be a boon to the developer. After all, it’s 20,000 square feet right across the street from the arena.

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NoLandGrab: Given the mall's persistent crime problem and Bruce Ratner's propensity for attracting public entities as tenants, may they can put a police precinct in the Daffy's space, or better yet, a Department of Corrections facility.

Posted by eric at 10:26 AM

Kris Humphries Stays With Nets, Glad Jay-Z Didn’t “Drop Him From The Team”

The Urban Daily
by Jerry L. Barrow

NBA player Kris Humphries finally got some good news. The forward has been embroiled in a bitter divorce from socialite Kim Kardashian that has included on-record jabs from her new boyfriend Kanye West.

On the track “Way Too Cold” Mr. West confessed his love for Kim K and threw a dig at her ex, “he’s lucky I didn’t’ have Jay drop him from the team.” Kanye’s partner in The Throne is part owner of the team Humphries plays for, The Brooklyn Nets.

Well Humphries may have the last laugh as he has re-signed with The Nets for a cool $24 Million dollars over the next two years, according to ESPN.

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Posted by eric at 10:20 AM

Brute bashes man on the head

The Brooklyn Paper
by Eli Rosenberg

The "Pocketbook Protector" continues to be AWOL from Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Terminal Target.

Another target

A crook stole a wallet containing more than $500 from a shopper at the Atlantic Terminal Mall on July 12.

The 34-year-old victim told cops she was in the Target near Flatbush Avenue at 7:30 pm when she left her bag in her shopping cart, returning 15 minutes later to find her wallet — and the cash — gone.

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Posted by eric at 10:10 AM

July 17, 2012

Tomorrow! HDC hearing on $92 mln in bonds for Brooklyn Atlantic Yards

Good Jobs New York Subsidy Alert

Sorry for so many updates to the July subsidy alert. But, in addition to the new information released by the Industrial Development Agency last week, we recently learned of a hearing related to Brooklyn Atlantic Yards.

The New York City Housing Development Corporation is holding a hearing tomorrow, July 18 at 1:00 pm at 110 William Street, 4th Floor conference room regarding a proposed $92 million bond offering for the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards project. Because the website of the New York City Housing Development Corporation has no details of the proposal, much less a mention of the hearing (now that's an "F" for transparency!) the only details available are on Norman Oder's "Atlantic Yards Report" website and below. Unfortunately, the lack of transparency means we don't have materials to share with you. GJNY will attend the hearing tomorrow and post on our website any materials that are made available.

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Posted by eric at 11:36 PM

From the latest Construction Alert: progress on multiple fronts, but also the need for late-night and weekend work

Atlantic Yards Report

There's not much dramatic in the latest two-week Atlantic Yards Construction Alert, dated 7/16/12 (and embedded below) and released yesterday by Empire State Development after preparation by Forest City Ratner.

According to the document, there's progress on numerous fronts, including testing of an escalator in the new subway entrance, erection of steel for the Carlton Avenue Bridge, and access to the Flatbush Avenue sidewalk.

Then again, as stated in recent documents, "overall schedule maintenance" (aka finishing the arena in September for a Sept. 28 opening, and getting the Carlton Avenue Bridge done by then) requires two and even three shifts, and weekend work, such as for pile drilling at the site for the first tower.

Note that "trenches for the power and broadcast cable are being installed [at the broadcast lot at dean street and Sixth Avenue] and will be encased in concrete," though Department of Transportation approval has not yet been granted and a Forest City executive last week said they'd stopped work pending approval.

Also, several passages that indicate work being completed or about to be completed are repeated verbatim from the previous alert, which indicates delays, bad editing, or both.

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Posted by eric at 12:56 PM

Will The MTA Sue Barclays Bank Over LIBOR Rate Manipulation Scandal? MTA Says It Will “Vigorously Pursue All Available Legal Actions”

Noticing New York

In follow-up to my story about which state and city agencies and governments will possibly be suing Barclays Bank in connection with the LIBOR interest rate manipulation scandal and mentioning a long list that are possibilities it is interesting to note that, when contacted, the MTA being on the ball had already given some thought to this subject, enough to have a statement prepared and ready in advance.

Here is the MTA’s comment from MTA Media Liaison Aaron Donovan:

“The MTA has asked its legal counsel to review its options in relation to the LIBOR scandal, and will vigorously pursue all available legal actions. We are outraged about the apparent market manipulation, and will always do everything possible to protect the MTA.”

I have asked the MTA a series of follow-up questions, mostly susceptible to simple YES/NO responses. I will supply readers with the MTA’s response as soon as appropriate.
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I have also made similar inquiries to other government agencies which probably have reason to sue Barclays (there are quite a few) and am in the process of putting these inquiries to still more. One agency that has yet to provide any response is the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) which, tomorrow, Wednesday at 1:00 PM, is holding a hearing on the first issuance of bonds for the Atlantic Yards mega-monopoly since the issuance of bonds for the Ratner/Prokhorov (“Barclays”) basketball arena. A prompt response from HDC would surely be relevant to that hearing. The Hearing is at 110 William Street. For more information click on the link.

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Posted by eric at 12:49 PM

New York Islanders Game at Barclays Center Will Be a Failure

Bleacher Report
by Christopher Benini

A bucketful of cold water for the "Brooklyn Islanders" dreamers.

As I'm sure you are well aware of at this point, the New York Islanders are hoping to have a preseason game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in October. The team has already sold tickets for the game. The only reason I say hoping is because it seems like a 2012-13 season is an aberration at this point with a strike looming.

If by some miracle the NHL and its players do come to an agreement, what are the Islanders hoping to accomplish with this? What this really seems like to me is a money-making ploy.
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If they are attempting to use this is a gauge to see if hockey would be a success in a more urban area of New York, such as Queens or Brooklyn, it is a waste.
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It surely isn't to test the waters for a future move to the Barclays Center because (I've said it once and I'll say it again) the Barclays Center is too small.

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Posted by eric at 12:39 PM

Long Island's arena reluctance could lead to Brooklyn Islanders

Sports Business Journal via The Sporting News
by Christopher Botta

By all accounts, Chris Botta is a smart guy who knows hockey. Which makes his propagating the nonsense that the Islanders might remotely consider playing anything but exhibition games in the Barclays Center all the more mind-boggling. As the seating chart below shows, playing hockey in the Nets' arena would be like playing the World Series in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

With only three years left on a lease that team officials insist they will not extend, and no deal for a new arena in sight, the New York Islanders' best option to continue playing in New York in 2015 might be in Brooklyn, at the soon-to-open Barclays Center.
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Asked whether his arena would welcome the Islanders when the lease in Nassau runs out, Barclays Center developer Bruce Ratner said, "I would hope that's possible."

Bruce would hope he isn't loathed in the neighborhoods around Atlantic Yards, too, but his hoping doesn't make it so.

Here, though, is the clincher:

Asked last week about the possibility of the Islanders moving into his building in 2015, Barclays Center and Nets CEO Brett Yorkmark said, "We are interested in bringing NHL hockey to Brooklyn. We feel very strongly about Brooklyn as a hockey market and know we can accommodate it from a building perspective."

Anyone remotely familiar with the Nets Chief Exaggeration Officer knows that when Brett Yormark says "we can accommodate it from a building perspective," there's absolutely NO WAY the Barclays Center can physically accommodate hockey.

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More magical thinking...

Puck Daddy [Yahoo! Sports], Brooklyn Islanders? New arena says it’s ready for NHL tenant

Yormark also said he looks forward to "continued dialogue" about the Islanders' playing more games at Barclays Center.

NoLandGrab: Of course Yormark looks forward to more of this nonsense — it keeps his arena in the headlines.

ProHockeyTalk [NBCSports.com], Brooklyn gains steam as possible Islanders destination

Perhaps the Islanders could alleviate the smaller seating concerns by charging more for tickets in a fairly wealthy area?

NLG: Yes, great idea. Charge more for terrible sightlines. Genius.

The Hockey Writers, Five Reasons Why the NY Islanders Future is in Brooklyn

The Islanders play an exhibition game in the Barclays center on October 2nd, giving everyone a chance to see how the arena will play to a hockey crowd. After seeing how that goes everyone can get a better idea of how the arena will work for hockey.

NLG: Promise? Then we can be done with all this "Brooklyn Islanders" fantasy.

SNYRangersBlog.com, Read: The Brooklyn Option For The Islanders

The Barclays Center only holds 14,500 for hockey and it has been said in the past that the building developers were against a hockey team playing there when the arena was being constructed.

In terms of seating, Botta tweets, “Charles Wang does things differently. Doubt he’s worried much about the current U-shaped seat plan for hockey at Barclays.”

Posted by eric at 12:01 PM

UPDATE: Sunday Best - Battle For Brooklyn

ABC TV Blog

Did you watch tonight's Sunday Best documentary, Battle For Brooklyn. As promised, we have an update on Daniel Goldstein and the Atlantic Yards project.

Filmmaker Michael Galinsky recently sent us this update:

'It is now July 2012. The main character of the film, Daniel Goldstein is getting ready to move his family to a new home in the neighbourhood after renting steps from his old home for the past 2.5 years. The arena is nearing completion and the realities of how the project came to be are starting to become better known. We like to think the film has helped with that a great deal. At the end of the film, Mayor Bloomberg, who supported the project and is a central figure in pushing it forward, states, "No one is going to care how long it took. They're just gonna see that it was done." This is simply not the case.'
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If you missed the documentary, we're rescreening it this coming Wednesday at 11.25pm (ABC2) or you can catch-up on iview from tomorrow.

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Photo: Rumur.com

Posted by eric at 11:49 AM

The Inbounds: The new Brooklyn Empire and the Crown of Relevance

ProBasketballTalk [NBCSports.com]
by Matt Moore

There are questions about how the Nets went about clearing out the populace for the Barclays Center, questions about Dolan’s price gouging, questions about Billy King’s decision making, about how CAA runs the Knicks, are the Nets a real superstar team, is Carmelo Anthony a player you can win with. It’s a whole Baz Luhrmann flick on hardwood.
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The Nets, more so than even during their stretch of Finals contention, are relevant. They matter. They aren’t dominant enough for us to just accept, they aren’t mediocre enough for us to ignore. They’re just a really good basketball team looking to rewrite history.

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NoLandGrab: Yeah, they're a great story so long as you don't dwell to much on "questions about how the Nets went about clearing out the populace."

Posted by eric at 11:41 AM

City: No on-street parking permits for arena neighbors

The Brooklyn Paper
by Natalie O'Neill

The folly of driving to the Barclays Center would be even more obvious if the city would implement Residential Parking Permits.

The city is putting the brakes on a parking plan that would give neighbors of the soon-to-open Barclays Center an edge over car-driving hoops fans heading to the arena for games and concerts.

The Department of Transportation rejected a proposal to sell residential parking permits near the new arena, saying the stadium’s great public transit access and the abundance of available on-street parking mean there are enough spots to go around — and there would be little support for a pay-for-permit plan that doesn’t guarantee anyone a space.
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The city’s decision frustrates some politicians who say the permits are needed as a preventative measure.

“[The city] does not feel it’s needed to protect our community — I disagree,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene).

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Posted by eric at 11:22 AM

Initial Feelings About the Barclays Center

Broad And Pennsylvania

No one should take my opinions on the Barclays Center too serious- yet. None of us have been inside. With that said, on Saturday I decided to take a ride into Brooklyn to see the new home of the Nets. I have a few very quick, basic observations about the arena, from the outside.

1. The neighborhood is very nice, and not what a lot of outsiders will think they are going to. There's lots to do there. Atlantic Avenue will prosper from this.
2. It's really hard to get to the place. You can get off of 278 and go on Atlantic Avenue, but that will be a nightmare. That requires taking 278 far into Brooklyn, and it requires going down a normal street. The other option is to come in from Manhattan on Flatbush. Good luck with that.

Or leave the car at home? Fortunately, Rich is a quick learner.

3. I would suggest mass transit. The subway will literally stop there.

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Posted by eric at 11:14 AM

A Modest Political Proposal

Leslie Gerber

Romney’s campaign is accepting big donations from rich corporations and individuals who stand to gain something from favorable attention. But Obama has something to sell that will in itself assure that favorable attention: naming rights!
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Likewise, a huge new arena being built in Brooklyn will be known as the Barclays Center. People going to see Barbra Streisand or the Harlem Globetrotters may feel a moment of gratitude to this huge international bank for making the facility possible. But how much more, and more appropriate, attention Barclays would get if it were mentioned as sponsor of the Barclays Department of the Treasury!

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NoLandGrab: Leslie, it's a pretty safe bet that no one is going to "feel a moment of gratitude" for Barclays.

Posted by eric at 11:05 AM

July 16, 2012

New Nets Arena Proves a Magnet

The Wall Street Journal
by Laura Kusisto and Alexander Heffner

When the Nets win a game at the new Barclays Center, where will the after-party be held?

That's a question on the minds of numerous bar and restaurant owners as they invest in locations around the arena that's scheduled to open this fall in Brooklyn. New places are opening and old ones are expanding with the expectation that basketball fans and others attending events at the up-to-19,000-seat arena will be hungry and thirsty and looking for a good time afterward.

But the arena's neighbors—many of whom have greeted the project skeptically all along—are pushing back, saying the new establishments threaten to transform charming side streets into destinations for late-night revelers. They're concerned that big sports bars will create nuisances and change the character of an area that was already becoming upscale when the arena broke ground.
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Some residents fear that bars, which pay higher rents, are coming at the expense of services for residents. "I'm concerned that it's becoming booze alley. I'm concerned that other corridors are becoming burger heaven," says Letitia James, the city councilwoman for the area. "Once the arena is dark, you have a community that remains, and a community with a lot of children and young families."

Retail rents are skyrocketing, driving out retailers who pre-dated gentrification. Mr. King, of CPEX, some landlords are charging as much as $100 a square foot, up from about $60 a few years ago. A space at Fourth and Atlantic avenues could fetch "a nosebleed number north of $180 a foot," he says.

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Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Wall Street Journal reports on arena-area changes, with some curious omissions about Kemistry and the arena liquor license

In New Nets Arena Proves a Magnet, the Wall Street Journal reports on the efforts by bar/restaurant owners to serve both transient and local crowds, and on the tension between good ol' businesspeople and stuffy people who live there:

This opposition has been slowing leasing efforts for a big space kitty-corner to Barclays Center on Atlantic Avenue, according to Bob Hebron, a principal of Ingram & Hebron Realty that has the brokerage assignment. The community is "beginning to dig in its heels" to prevent sports bars or "Hooters-type places" from opening there, he says, referring to the restaurant chain known for its scantily clad waitresses.

Nearby on Flatbush Avenue, a restaurant entrepreneur's attempts to open a bar named Kemistry that would operate until 3:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays ran afoul of the local community board. In May, the board voted overwhelmingly to oppose its liquor license application, though the resolution doesn't block Kemistry from trying to get a license.

While the article lower down delicately mentions that Kemistry "was planning to offer customers the ability to buy bottles of hard liquor and make drinks at tables," some context is missing.

Kemisty would be only the second club in Brooklyn with bottle service, and would be far closer to a residential district than most (all?) bottle service clubs.

And while Kemistry operator James Brown says he's moving ahead, the article doesn't mention that the business is being sued by its landlord for nonpayment of rent.

Posted by eric at 11:25 AM

Getting huger

A Daily Photo

The Barclays Center is taking shape, getting larger and more filled in. There are still many un-rented stores nearby, but you get the feeling it’s all going to start coming together in a few months.

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Photo: brooklynpix

Posted by eric at 11:07 AM

A-Yards Backers Lose Their Appeal

Civic News
by David Herman

Honestly, they never had much appeal to start with.

In a final defeat for Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation, the New York State Court of Appeals has upheld an earlier ruling that requires a supplemental environmental impact study (SEIS) for the Atlantic Yards megaproject.

The court denied the appeal by the developer and the agency to overturn State Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman’s 2011 decision ordering a new study of the effects of construction on surrounding communities over a 25-year period.

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Posted by eric at 11:01 AM

DOT Study Rejects Residential Parking Permits For Stadium Neighborhoods

Streetsblog
by Noah Kazis

The Department of Transportation has rejected neighborhood demands to implement residential parking permits around the Barclays Center and Yankee Stadium, according to a DOT report released last Friday. DOT cited the availability of on-street parking spaces during Yankee games, the large number of non-residents parking on the street for purposes other than visiting the stadium, and the heavy costs of administering and enforcing an RPP program.
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At last year’s [RPP] hearing, DOT representatives allowed that if residential parking permits belonged anywhere, they belonged around stadiums, and announced that the agency was in the process of studying RPP around Yankee Stadium and the Barclays Center. Now complete, that study has led DOT to believe that parking permits don’t belong there, either [PDF]. Another parking management tool is still on the table: DOT is considering modifying the parking meters near the Barclays Center to charge more or extend later into the evening, according to Norman Oder at Atlantic Yards Report.

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Related coverage...

The Epoch Times, Parking Permits Around Stadiums Unneeded, Report Says

Posted by eric at 10:50 AM

Joe Johnson says Nets ‘definitely’ the best team in New York as Brooklyn declares all-out hoops war on Manhattan

Standing in front of about 1,000 fans who’d come to cheer on recently re-signed guard Deron Williams ($98 million over five years) and new acquisition Joe Johnson (four years, $89 million), Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz got down to business - and insults.

NY Daily News
by Stefan Bondy

More coverage of Friday's silliness.

The Brooklyn Nets rolled out their first basketball stars Friday — a duo that GM Billy King dubbed “the best backcourt in the NBA” — and it didn’t take long for an all-out hoops war to be declared on the Knicks.

Standing in front of about 1,000 fans who showed up to celebrate Deron Williams and Joe Johnson at a pep rally outside of Borough Hall, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz got down to business — and insults.

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Related coverage...

The New York Times, Tough Talk From Nets at Brooklyn Rally

On a stage of marble, between Roman columns that stretched toward the sky, the Nets declared an identity and made an audacious claim: New York is officially a two-team town.

The Post gets a little carried away with its crowd estimate.

NY Post, 2,000 screaming fans pack plaza outside B'klyn Borough Hall for Nets

“This is sick, and it’s all about Brooklyn pride,” Max Kiss said. “Many of our friends are slowly switching from Knicks fans to Nets fans. “ But Robert Hall, a 31-year-old teacher from Park Slope, said he'd never turn his back on the Knicks.

NoLandGrab: Sick indeed, but not the way Mr. Kiss meant it.

Bed-Stuy Patch, A Brooklyn Nets Pep Rally

NY1, Brooklyn Nets Introduce Players At Pep Rally

Photo: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Posted by eric at 10:22 AM

July 15, 2012

Flashback to the groundbreaking: Bloomberg on arena amnesia; Markowitz hyping (now-imprisoned) Kruger; Barclays' (now-departed) Diamond says arena events fit "with the ethos and the values of Barclays"

Atlantic Yards Report

In the wake of a troubling week for Barclays (and a big week for the Nets), Battle for Brooklyn filmmaker Michael Galinsky pulled together a few clips from the March 2010 arena groundbreaking, which have a special resonance.

The first is from Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a supercilious prediction of amnesia: "And for those that say it took a long time to get here, yes it did. But nobody's going to remember how long it took. They're only going to look and see that it was done."

Then, in his mugging manner, Borough President Marty Markowitz hammed it up, introducing "[one of] the most important elected officials ever coming out of Brooklyn, the chairman of the finance committee, Sen. Carl Kruger. Right Carl? The power returned to Brooklyn because of you."

Kruger, of course, was indicted on corruption charges and is now in federal prison.

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Posted by steve at 7:05 PM

Sen. Squadron: city DOT's rejection of residential parking permits is "troubling"

Atlantic Yards Report

State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn) called the New York City Department of Transportation's rejection of residential parking permits (RPP ) near the Barclays Center and Yankee Stadium "troubling," pointing to the "overcrowded streets surrounding New York City's stadiums and major business districts." (Also see coverage in Patch.)

He noted that the Downtown Brooklyn Council found that more than 40 percent of on-street parked vehicles in Downtown Brooklyn are commuter cars.

The problem is that Squadron's legislation, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Velmanette Montgomery in the Senate and sponsored by Assemblymember Joan Millman in the Assembly, as run up against Brooklyn Sen. Marty Golden, who has vowed to oppose it.

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Posted by steve at 7:00 PM

Will The Empire State Development Corporation (ESD), The MTA, NYC And New York State Sue Barclays Bank?

Noticing New York

Baltimore is suing Barclays Bank!* The Barclays LIBOR lying scandal is big stuff. The LIBOR rate that Barclays was manipulating (LIBOR stands for”London interbank offered rate”) is such a critically important universally resorted to benchmark rate that there is scarcely a man, woman or entity in the world that was unaffected by the rates that Barclays manipulated. For some people it might be good when interest rates go down (or are manipulated in that direction) but there is always someone on the other side of any such equation (pensioners for example) for whom it is correspondingly bad. And if rates get manipulated up instead the same thing is true vice versa.

(* See also: Baltimore city is among many suing big banks over allegations of rate-rigging For small investors, this could be the scandal that finally breaks their trust, July 09, 2012, By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun.)

So here is a tantalizing irony to mull over: Will New York’s Empire State Development agency ("ESD," formerly the Empire State Development Corporation- its name keeps changing to protect the. . .? ) choose to get in line behind the city of Baltimore to sue Barclays? ESD should have a legal cause of action against Barclays given that the ESD is a state finance agency involved in a great volume of complicated financial transactions in which the LIBOR rates must have been key. If ESDC sues Barclays it will be suing the bank whose name has been plastered on the ESD-sponsored Ratner/Prokhorov Nets basketball arena effected by ESD through eminent domain abuse and false-fact environmental reviews. “EMPIRE STATE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY SUES BARCLAYS!”: What a headline!

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Posted by steve at 6:56 PM

Is the Barclays Center area like the Bronx around Yankee Stadium? Poking holes in the city's rejection of residential permit parking

Atlantic Yards Report

Credit Streetsblog and its commenters for following up on the city's curious rejection of residential permit parking for the areas around Yankee Stadium and the Barclays Center arena, and a demolition of the city's implicit comparison between the two venues.

I'd already pointed out that Yankee Stadium is a warmer weather venue, while the arena is the opposite (at least for Nets games). The most cogent comments, to my mind, regard other points of difference: the Barclays Center would be used more than twice as much; drivers can reach the stadium via non-local streets; and a higher crime rate in the Bronx.

Beyond that, one commenter noted that a good number of people in the Bronx simply park on sidewalks, with impunity.

Comments Jonathan:

  1. The study has a narrow scope, which is "to better understand the parking conditions around Yankee Stadium and Atlantic Yards", but infers from that scope that "a Residential Parking Permit (RPP) Program would be problematic for residents, drivers, and city government", an opinion that is not supported by the work in the study.
  2. The study identifies that Yankee Stadium is used on about 100 days a year, but does not mention or address the fact that Barclays Center is planned for more than double that.
  3. The study identifies that both areas have significant off-street parking available, but does not identify that most drivers arriving at Yankee Stadium are directed to the off-street parking without passing residential neighborhoods, while at Barclay's Center virtually all drivers will be arriving on the residential and mixed-use study streets.
  4. The study assumes that "the objective" of an RPP program would be to prevent event attendees from using on-street parking spaces, whereas in fact a more important objective would be to prevent attendees from trolling for parking spots on narrow residential streets.
  5. The report presents findings from parking studies conducted around Yankee Stadium and Atlantic Yards, but does not evaluate the successful RPP programs that exist in virtually every other large North American city, including but not limited to: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Berkeley, Boston, Calgary, Cleveland, Columbus, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Edmonton, Evanston, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Louisville, Madison, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Montreal, Nashville, New Orleans, Oakland, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle, San Jose, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Toronto, Tucson, Vancouver BC, and Washington DC.
  6. The study does not compare or address crime rates in the two neighborhoods identified, which may act as a deterrent to on-street parking.
  7. The study does not address the fact that in the neighborhoods closest to Barclays Center, on-street availability is significantly less than at Yankee Stadium, casting doubt on the applicability of finding #3 ("Fans parking on-street do not necessarily prevent residents and others from finding on-street spaces").
  8. The study collected data on the percentage of "resident" vs. "non-resident" parkers, but does not provide a fine enough grain to identify the significant differences found. Even a brief qualitative analysis could have addressed the potential origins and destinations of the non-residents and drawn obvious conclusions.
  9. The study only assesses the need for RPP due to game days. In fact, there is already a need for RPP, due to drivers parking here to use the subway, and this additional load merely acerbates the problem.
  10. The study opines that "Given the city's population and vehicular density, RPP would be little more than a "hunting license", continuing to allow residents to compete with one another for parking but without guaranteeing availability". The study states that while "some" may be willing to pay for RPP, "many" of us living on the blocks close to the arena are likely to question it. How about asking us?

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Posted by steve at 6:50 PM

Bellowing Markowitz welcomes "Brooklyn's Backcourt" at pep rally, hypes rivalry with "Manhattan Knicks", goes out on weird anti-temperance limb

Atlantic Yards Report

Funny how these things go. When the arena developer gets an extra $105 million in subsidies, loses a major lawsuit, and squeezes the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for a sweeter deal, the news is presented parenthetically, at best.

But when Borough President Marty Markowitz holds a pep rally at Borough Hall for "Brooklyn's Backcourt"--one of whom (Deron Williams) was halfway out the door less than two weeks ago, and the other (Joe Johnson) with an albatross contract in Atlanta--he and the team pull out all the stops, with cheerleaders and posters, and the Nets' Experience van, and the cameras and scribes come out in force.

...

Actually, the video doesn't quite capture all of Markowitz's frenzy or exactly how far he went out on an anti-temperance limb, not the wisest choice, given the scads of schoolkids.

Starting at about 2:00, he made a strained 1986ish effort to "tell you the difference between Brooklyn and Manhattan," the latter "prim, proper, classy," drinking a string of high-end wines and liquors, such as Dom Perignon.

"But lemme tell ya about Brooklyn," the Borough President bellowed, rousing the crowd with that identifier. "We love our Brooklyn liquor," he said listing several more presumably down-to-earth libations, including Hennessy Black and Courvoisier.

"We're scrappy. We're in your face," Markowitz continued. "We wear our hearts on our sleeves and we're not afraid to speak our minds. If we love you, you'll know it. And if we don't, you'll know it even more."

No wonder Nets beat writer Tim Bontemps of the Post tweeted:

Marty Markowitz is about to explode as he's rattling off reasons to like Brooklyn and the Nets. Joe Johnson seems baffled by him.

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Posted by steve at 6:43 PM

City Rejects Call For Barclays Area Parking Permits

New York Times via The Local
By Matthew J. Perlman

Mayor Bloomberg to car owners in the Atlantic Yards area: You’re on your own.

The city has rejected local calls for a residential parking permit system that would deny outsiders the ability to park, while selling locals something city residents have never before needed to pay for: parking on residential streets.

The rejection of the so-called RPP plan came after the Department of Transportation compared the parking situation at the soon-to-open 18,000-seat Barclays Center to the 50,000-plus seat Yankee Stadium.

Both abut residential neighborhoods — but that’s where the similarities end, local supporters of a permit plan say.

“I seriously question the analysis,” said Councilwoman Letitia James. “Factors on the ground are totally different.”

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Related coverage...

Prospect Heights Patch, Residential Parking Permits Not Needed Near Barclays, City Says

A new study by the city Department of Transportation says there’s plenty of parking around the soon-to-be-opened Barclays Center, and that residential parking permits won’t be needed.

...

Tom Boast, vice president of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, an organization that has long supported residential parking permits, said the point was not to guarantee parking for residents, but to discourage people from driving to the arena.

"We still don’t see any disincentives to drive," he said. "At every turn, there’s more incentives to drive. ... When you read the study that’s your conclusion: 'Oh, there’s free parking there.'"

Posted by steve at 6:24 PM

An Additional Heaping Helping of Sports Glummery: Penn State Scandal Investigative Report- Power of College Football Out Of Control

Noticing New York

This blog post begins by observing the lack of whistle-blowers who might have prevented the Penn State football scandal, and moves to a similar lack in the ESDC and the Atlantic Yards development.

ESD is the state agency that was co-opted by developer Forest City Ratner to sponsor its mega-monopoly-enhancing Atlantic Yards megadevelopment. ESD’s designed-to-fail whistleblowing policies and practices did fail. ESD was the state agency that participated in scamming Justice Marcy Friedman’s state Supreme Court with false representations that the agency had a legitimate expectation that the Atlantic Yards megadevelopment would be completed within ten years (instead of twenty-five, very possibly forty+) which was the basis for the environmental review done for it. No whistleblowing state employee came forward from ESDC to inform Justice Friedman of the scam.

...

With no state employee coming forward to reveal the state’s misrepresentations, those misrepresentations were temporarily accepted by Justice Friedman as veracious. Had that not been the case it would have been incumbent upon Justice Friedman to rule, as she eventually did, based on the actual facts, that the mega-project had never been the subject of a proper environmental review. Had she made such a timely ruling the issuance of ESD bonds for the Ratner/Prokhorov (“Barclays”) sports arena oughtn’t to have proceeded. Since the issuance of those bonds were subject to an IRS deadline (the ending of a special exemption from the law against tax-exempt financing of private arenas and stadia) the developer’s private arena would never have been built and the entire megadevelopment would have fallen apart, probably being taken away from Ratner and distributed amongst multiple developers in the process.

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Posted by steve at 6:17 PM

July 13, 2012

From the District Service Cabinet meeting: "Day Two” task force; report on hiring; construction timing; plans for parking for TV trucks

Atlantic Yards Report

The big news at yesterday’s Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting concerned the city’s preliminary rejection of residential permit parking and the still unresolved plans for the first residential tower, B2.

But several other issues came up at the Borough Hall meeting, including a “Day Two” task force, a progress report on hiring for part-time jobs, plans for parking to serve TV trucks, and updates on ongoing issues.

Unresolved issues

For example a final Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan is due in early August, said Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for Empire State Development, the agency overseeing the project. “We received a number of great comments” and are “trying to figure out the best way to tweak the plan.” Comments and responses are should be posted with the final plan.

Also, a plan to re-order police precinct boundaries--the arena likely will be policed by a supplement to the 78th Precinct (nearby) or 88th Precinct--is in the works. A letter from the Police Commissioner has been sent to the mayor, who then must get it approved by the City Council within 60 days, which is a close deadline, given that the arena opens on Sept. 28.

The State Liquor Authority’s final hearing on the Barclays Center liquor license is still not scheduled; a report from the administrative law judge who heard testimony is not expected until July 25. (That’s also a hearing day; I’m not sure if the report could be delivered on the day of the hearing.)

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Posted by eric at 12:04 PM

DOT study claims residential-permit parking isn't needed for Barclays Center, Yankee Stadium

The Brooklyn Blog [NYPost.com]
by Rich Calder

A new city study has put the breaks on efforts to bring residential-permit parking to neighborhoods closest to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Yankee Stadium in The Bronx – claiming there’s more than enough on-street parking available.

“Throughout most of the area around Yankee Stadium, parking occupancies remain low enough that residents generally have spaces available to them during Yankee games,” the Department of Transportation study says.

It then claims on-street parking will be even less of an issue at Barclays Center when it opens in September because it “will have a smaller seating capacity and even better transit accessibility.”

“Try telling that to anyone who has to circle for hours looking for parking spaces in Park Slope,” said resident Al Modine, 34, who lives near the Nets future arena.

Others were just as shocked by DOT’s findings.

“DOT missed the boat,” said Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. “The permits aren’t about entitlement or guaranteeing parking for residents. They’re about discouraging people from driving to games.”

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Posted by eric at 11:59 AM

Jay-Z tickets: more than $99 to hear “99 Problems,” unless you’re lucky

Meadowlands Matters [NorthJersey.com]

I noted the other day that many of those 7,000 tickets per show that Jay-Z is offering for $29.50 this fall at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn inevitably would wind up going for their true value on the secondary market.

Now along comes SeatGeek, a company that analyzes prices across that market, to confirm that hypothesis.

Those under-$30 seats have been going for an average price of – brace yourself – $195.23 on the secondary market, said SeatGeek spokesman Will Flaherty.
...

Nearly 9,000 tickets for the Saturday night show – the second of the initial three concerts – are on the secondary market. That’s more than half of the 14,600 or so capacity for these shows. The big number of available tickets probably has helped limit the average ticket price on sites such as Stubhub or TicketsNow to $452. That’s lower than the $483 average price for Sunday the 30th. The highest average price, naturally, is for opening night: $530.
...

Meanwhile, did you say you want floor seats for any of the shows? Fork over an average price of $1,765 for any of the three shows, please, says the secondary market ($2,195 for opening night).

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NoLandGrab: We're all about giving credit where credit is due, and we just want to say that Brett Yormark has done a fabulous job to "protect the interests of the consumer."

Related coverage...

NY Daily News, Jay-Z adds three more concert dates to celebrate the Barclays Center opening

But even Yormark admitted there isn’t much that can be done to prevent scalping.

“We can’t control the secondary market. We price these shows so that anybody who wants to come can,” he said.

Still, artists like comedian Louis CK have taken steps to block ticket brokers from pricing out actual fans. The comedian now requires fans to show up at each arena’s will-call window with ID to pick up tickets for his 56-stop, four month long national tour.

That drastically reduced the number of ducats being hawked online, SeatGeek analysis showed.

“There are definitely tactics that can be employed to curtail excessive scalping,” Flaherty said.

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, The Day: The Only News Today is Jay-Z

Posted by eric at 11:44 AM

A FIPS GUIDE TO UPCOMING BARCLAYS CENTER EVENTS

F'd in Park Slope

If you're playing along at home, you may recall that we've already WARNED YOU about the fact that Brooklyn Nets games won't be the only things happening at the Barclays Center. Once it opens, Slopers will have easy access to some really terrific performances and, well, other kinds of performances! We here at FiPS have taken a look at what's on the horizon, and here are some highlights:

JAY-Z. (9/28-30) Sean Corey Carter is a part-owner of the Nets, and it's been REPORTED that he was a big advocate for their move to Brooklyn (so he is in some way responsible for the horrible monstrous Atlantic Yards project). If enough of us go to his concert and set ourselves on fire in the arena as a protest, perhaps they'll tear down the arena and leave us in peace. It's worth a shot. Tickets go on sale July 13. Let's make this happen!

THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS. (10/7) This time, the Generals are going to win it. They're so overdue for a win, it's a statistical certainty. You won't want to miss that.

There's more where those came from. Click through for more uniquely FIPS-flavored analysis.

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Posted by eric at 11:35 AM

Arena and Stadium Names – Stupid As Ever

Is Every Arena Owner A Corporate Whore?

Stuff Nobody Cares About

Um, yes?

Looking at Rush’s upcoming concert tour of North America I noticed something interesting. Take a look at this schedule:

Only one arena is not named after some corporation (The Palace in Michigan). [NLG: This list is just a snippet of the list — click through for the full roster.]

No arena except The Palace has the name of the city it is located in or attaches the local sports team to its name. Virtually every arena has sold its “naming rights.” Yes, arenas today still have unique names if you consider auto companies, airlines, tech companies, mega-banks and their ilk to be representative of the city.

If someone asked me where The Quicken Loans Arena, The Jiffy-Lube Live Amphitheater or The Honda Center was I’d be hard pressed to tell you. What do these corporate names say about the cities and the arenas they stuck their names on?
...

What we have is endemic of America as a whole – get every dollar you can. Letting the teams or cities who control the naming rights sell out to the highest bidder. Slap some temporary name on an arena or stadium for big money. How does this benefit the public who usually pays for the facility?

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Posted by eric at 11:19 AM

Gallof: Bad News Islanders Fans, New Nassau Coliseum Plan Is Fatally Flawed

County's Attempt To Find A Developer Will Likely Not Include Wang's Team

CBS New York
by B.D. Gallof

As far as many I have spoken to are concerned, it’s Brooklyn or splitsville.

“In the end this will only be decided by three people: Charles Wang, Gary Bettman and Bruce Ratner,” an Islanders source said, referring in obvious terms to the NHL’s commissioner and the kingpin of the Barclays Center.

“I would start looking around to see what the Brooklyn arena can handle,” the source said, referring to, among other things, a practice facility.

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NoLandGrab: And don't forget David Blaine, Criss Angel and Doug Henning, since it will take a magician to fit an NHL franchise into an arena that was not designed to house an NHL franchise.

Posted by eric at 10:46 AM

525 Clinton Avenue

The New York Times

How many real estate listings do you figure tout proximity to Madison Square Garden or the Nassau Coliseum?

SNEAK PREVIEW! 525 Clinton Avenue Discover a new 13-story rental tower wrapped in sparkling glass and infused with modern design. A place where 30 spectacular residences features vast open-layout floor plans and floor-to-ceiling glass walls that surround you in amazing views of classic Brooklyn architecture, tree lined Clinton Hill streets, the Barclays Center and even skyline Manhattan.
...

The new Barclays center and Brooklyn Nets games are just around the corner while just one half block away the C train at Clinton-Washington provides easy access to Manhattan and beyond.

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Posted by eric at 10:39 AM

Quote of the day, from Nets CEO Yormark: "at the end of the day, you need to have a product"

Atlantic Yards Report

From the Wall Street Journal, Finally, the Nets Have Reason to Smile: Williams's Nets Lack Howard But Look Legit:

"In my seven years here, I've never seen a surge like this," [Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett] Yormark said. "Obviously, I've been very bullish on Brooklyn and have never wavered—new building, having a team that Brooklynites can root for. And that's all great. But at the end of the day, you need to have a product."

Which is why Borough President Marty Markowitz is turning over Borough Hall today to a press conference and rally. Brooklyn finally has "a product," a "sports entertainment corporation" to call its own.

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Related content...

The Wall Street Journal, Finally, the Nets Have Reason to Smile

The Nets had been in the mix to acquire All-Star center Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic before trade talks broke down Wednesday. Williams had been asked about Howard more than anything else this week, and he said a good team without Howard would be great with him. But now the Dwight-free Nets must press on.

Posted by eric at 10:21 AM

July 12, 2012

NYC DOT recommends no residential permit parking for Barclays Center, based on Yankee Stadium patterns; some Brooklynites question analysis, comparison

Atlantic Yards Report

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) has released its study (also embedded below) of the potential for residential permit parking (RPP) around Yankee Stadium and the Barclays Center, concluding that the available parking spaces around the arena, as well as the pattern of use in the Bronx, suggest that such permits would not work--though the agency will revisit the issue after real-time usage figures are available.

The findings provoked dismay from Council Member Letitia James, who said the impact on parking is the most frequent fear/complaint she hears from constituents. And they provoked pushback from some locals at the bimonthly Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet Meeting, who questioned the DOT’s methodology.

For example, if only 10% of those driving to Yankee Stadium try on-street parking, that doesn’t necessarily apply to the area near the arena, pointed out Rob Witherwax, 2nd Vice Chair of Community Board 8, because drivers are more likely to walk relatively long distances from parking garages if the weather’s warm and the event’s during the day. (Chair Nizjoni Granville reminded me that a parking garage near Yankee Stadium has actually failed.)

For night games and event in colder weather, he suggested, drivers would seek spots on the blocks closer to the arena site. RPP would preserve on-street free parking for local residents, though they'd have to pay a fee. (With a Community Benefits Agreement in Los Angeles, the developer helped pay for five years.)

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Posted by eric at 11:18 PM

First Atlantic Yards tower: modular plans still unresolved, but tax-exempt bonds proceeding, with hearing on July 18

Atlantic Yards Report

Forest City Ratner this week began what its construction chief called “very very minor” work on the foundation and piles for Building 2, the first residential tower.

But it hasn’t decided whether to pursue modular construction, as negotiations with unions--who, expecting higher-paying jobs on site, aggressively supported Atlantic Yards--are unresolved.

Meanwhile, the New York City Housing Development Corporation is proceeding with the issuance of nearly $92 million in tax-exempt bonds to support construction. A hearing July 18, during which public comment will be accepted, will be held at 1 pm in Conference Room 4 A/B at 110 William Street, 4th Floor, in Lower Manhattan.

No further information is available as of now, which kind of retards public comment. The NYC HDC apparently published the notice in the New York Post this weekend, but no community people--including Council Member Letitia James--knew about it until Forest City Ratner executive Jane Marshall volunteered it at the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting this morning.

The hearing

“I just wanted to mention it,” Marshall said, during the meeting at Borough Hall. “The notice went out, and we didn't see any reaction on the blogs.”

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NoLandGrab: Reaction? We're with Jay-Z pal Trey Anastasio on this one.

Posted by eric at 3:35 PM

Nets moving on with Brook Lopez, not Dwight Howard

The Star-Ledger
by Colin Stephenson

Here's some completely unsurprising basketball news.

When the first ball is thrown up at center court in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in November, the man jumping center for the Nets will be Brook Lopez, not Dwight Howard.

Talks between the Nets and Orlando Magic to find a way to trade Howard to the Nets ended today and the Nets moved quickly to lock up Lopez, signing him to a four-year, $60.8 million contract that kills any chance the Nets have of trading for Howard until at least January. That’s when Lopez, a Bird Rights free agent re-signing with his old team, would first be eligible to be traded, according to the CBA.
...

In order to match Howard’s $19.5 million salary, the Nets needed to trade Lopez and also free-agent power forward Kris Humphries, both in sign-and-trade arrangements. Humphries was ticketed to go to a third team, and on Monday, reports emerged that a four-team deal, involving 13 players, plus four first-round picks and cash, was close.

But that deal fell apart on Tuesday, in part because Humphries balked at signing a one-year deal that would have deposited him in Cleveland, or perhaps Charlotte. With the deal for Howard off, Humphries could end up back with the Nets, who do need a power forward.

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NoLandGrab: Such a deal, however, would not include Kim Kardashian.

Posted by eric at 1:12 PM

Do Forest City Ratner's part-time arena job numbers add up? If a maximum of 800 people work an event, it seems doubtful

Atlantic Yards Report

We're going to hear about arena jobs at the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting this morning, but I don't think Forest City Ratner's numbers add up.

They've estimated that some 2006 employees would be hired at the arena, 1901 of them part-time, 105 full-time.

And they say that works out to 1,240 FTE (full-time equivalent) positions.

How get 1,135 FTE positions?

Subtract the 105 full-time jobs from 1,240 and that means that the part-time jobs add up to 1,135 FTE positions. That's the equivalent of 1,135 people working 40 hours a week.

But Bruce Ratner has already said that the maximum number of workers at any one time is likely to be about 800, while smaller events could have only 500 workers.

If the arena was being used 365 days a year, the figure of 1,135 FTE jobs might make sense, because there might be more than 40 hours weekly of 800 people per shift.

But there are supposed to be 225 events per year. That means even less than a full-time year-round schedule, or an event for each of 250 work days.

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NoLandGrab: Imagine that! Forest City numbers that don't add up.

Posted by eric at 1:05 PM

Getting played: media outlets take bait that demand for first three Jay-Z shows prompted two more

Atlantic Yards Report

Let's recap. In May, Barclays Center/Nets CEO Brett Yormark let slip that Jay-Z would perform five shows at the new arena.

This week, they announced three shows would go on sale. Those tickets sold quickly.

Then, a new announcement: two more shows. The media took the bait. The Daily News reported:

Due to incredible demand for presale tickets for his initial three concerts, Hova will also perform shows on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4.

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Related content...

More cases in point. Like moths to an LED flame.

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill], BREAKING: Jay-Z Will Add Two More Nights to Barclays Center Kickoff

NY Post, Jay-Z's Barclays concerts already hot tickets

Ditmas Park Patch, Jay-Z Adds Two New Nights at Barclays Center

Posted by eric at 12:57 PM

Did Barclays' Bob Diamond lie to Parliament? "I can't comment," says his former boss

Atlantic Yards Report

The revelations continue regarding Barclays, and especially recently-departed Chief Executive Bob Diamond, the man behind the Barclays Center naming rights deal, and they aren't so flattering.

From today's print New York Times, Parliament Questions Culture at Barclays:

LONDON — During his tenure as chief executive of Barclays, Robert E. Diamond Jr. spoke passionately about creating a strong culture of integrity and trust, a common philosophy that would breed success at the big British Bank. In a speech last year, he emphasized that the “evidence of culture is how people behave when no one is watching.”

But now Mr. Diamond, who stepped down last week, faces criticism about his leadership as Barclays deals with fallout from a scandal involving interest rate manipulation.
...

Did Diamond lie?

The article continues by raising questions about whether Diamond lied to Parliament:

The correspondence between Barclays and British regulators appears to contradict evidence that Mr. Diamond gave last week to the same parliamentary committee.

In his testimony, Mr. Diamond indicated that the bank maintained a good relationship with the British regulator. He also said that he did not recall that the regulator had raised concerns about the bank’s activities or its internal culture.

“I knew nothing about it at the time that I was appointed,” Mr. Diamond told the parliamentary committee last week.

British politicians repeatedly asked Mr. Agius on Tuesday whether Mr. Diamond had been completely forthcoming during his testimony.

“Would you say that Mr. Diamond lied to this committee?” David Ruffley, a member of Parliament, asked Mr. Agius.

“I can’t comment on Mr. Diamond’s testimony,” the Barclays chairman said.

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Related content...

rumur via Vimeo, Barclays Center ground breaking

With the Libor scandal taking off I went back to look at the official groundbreaking footage. I first clipped Bloomberg's quote that no one is going to remember how long it took, because we believe the film will make sure that's not the case. I then happened upon Marty Markowitz calling Carl Kruger Brooklyn's most powerful politician. A year later he was in jail on corruption charges. Bob Diamond then speaks about Barclay Bank's values. The Libor scandal shows a corrupt value system.

NoLandGrab: Bob Diamond was completely truthful about one thing — the Barclays Center fits perfectly "with the ethos and the values of Barclays."

Posted by eric at 12:44 PM

Forest City: we need agreement with labor before loan available to go modular (plus EN-R's account of "drug dealers, gangs and prostitutes" plaguing AY site)

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder critiques the Engineering News-Record's big Atlantic Yards package. Some highlights:

Forest City has started foundation work, but at least according to the article, they're still not sure:

"We need an agreement with labor before we can get a bank loan, and [we] are working on both," says Gilmartin. "We are all optimistic, but if we run into a problem, we will build conventionally."

FCRC expects to start the first of three buildings in phase one by year's end. The other two are planned to follow, each six to nine months apart.

They've been saying "six to nine months" for a while.
...

Rewriting history

One article, Fancy Footwork To Steady the Course of Brooklyn's Controversial Atlantic Yards Sports Village, begins with a truly fantastical lead:

Fifteen years ago, the 22-acre plot for the $4.9-billion Atlantic Yards sports village in Brooklyn, N.Y., was an eyesore. For more than 20 years, drug dealers, gangs and prostitutes had populated the neighborhood. Many buildings were vacant. "Blighted Brooklyn" was a more fitting moniker than the familiar "Brownstone Brooklyn."

My comment:

That's quite a lead paragraph. For fiction.

"Drug dealers, gangs and prostitutes" just a block away from the 78th precinct?
How about checking out
http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2006/10/21-years-of-prospect-heights-blight.html
or a description of when the hookers (but not gangs/dealers) roamed, a lot earlier
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/33/18/dtgfreddyshistory20100430bk.html
or the court decision on "relatively mild conditions of urban blight"
http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2009/11/faq-on-court-of-appeals-decision-in.html
And no one, even the developer, calls it a "sports village."

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NoLandGrab: Though, as we wrote, it is a sports village.

Posted by eric at 12:33 PM

Developer Gambles on Modular High-Rise for Atlantic Yards Sports Village

Engineering News-Record
by Nadine M. Post

The Engineering News-Record appears to have devoted a good chunk of its July 16th issue to all things Atlantic Yards.

The developer of the residential towers for the $4.9-billion Atlantic Yards sports village in Brooklyn, N.Y., is hedging its bets. In case negotiations with the building trades don't work out for the first tower, planned as the world's tallest modular building, Forest City Ratner Cos. is poised to construct the 32-story high-rise the conventional way.

The Brooklyn-based developer is so hyped on modular that even if the high-rise plan does not fly, it intends to set up shop as a third-party modular building fabricator. "We think [modular] can be explosive for the business," says Robert P. Sanna, FCRC director of construction and design development.

Hopefully not as "explosive" as those manhole covers.

The high-rise modular approach is the brainchild of Bruce C. Ratner, FCRC's chairman and CEO. His scheme was born of a need to find a more economical way to deliver 6,430 units of affordable and market-rate rental housing, comprising six million sq ft in 14 buildings.

If by "brainchild" they mean "stealing the idea and all the senior staff from the company that developed the technology," then yes, it was Bruce Ratner's "brainchild."

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Related stories...

Engineering News-Record, Reshaping of Barclays Center Arena Made Possible By Collaboration, Digital Tools

Opportunity knocked for SHoP Architects on July 2, 2009. On that Thursday, Bruce C. Ratner, the beleaguered developer of the controversial Atlantic Yards sports village planned for Brooklyn, N.Y., made an offer that any architect would be crazy to turn down but almost as crazy to accept.

Ratner wanted SHoP to put a better face on a critically panned redesign for his $825-million Barclays Center arena—the centerpiece of the 22-acre transit-oriented development. And he wanted a sketch from SHoP in only five days.

Yes, and Brett Yormark only sleeps three hours a night.

However, SHoP wasn't the only firm in an awkward position. In late 2008, FCRC approached EB with a dubious offer it didn't refuse. "Bruce Ratner said, 'I literally want you to take Conseco Field and place it on our site,'" says Stephen J. Duethman, the project manager in Kansas City, Mo., for EB, which, as a result of a merger, operates under AECOM's name.

That strategy was not possible, he adds. But, in 2009, EB did as little as possible to modify its Indianapolis arena so that it would fit into a tight urban site.
...

The total cost of the facade redesign is $54 million. "We had to make the investment for public reasons," says Sanna.

Engineering News-Record, Fancy Footwork To Steady the Course of Brooklyn's Controversial Atlantic Yards Sports Village

ENR should probably stick to engineering and steer clear of social history.

Fifteen years ago, the 22-acre plot for the $4.9-billion Atlantic Yards sports village in Brooklyn, N.Y., was an eyesore. For more than 20 years, drug dealers, gangs and prostitutes had populated the neighborhood. Many buildings were vacant. "Blighted Brooklyn" was a more fitting moniker than the familiar "Brownstone Brooklyn."

Now, crime is down, and land values are way up. Pedestrians are pushing strollers, not drugs. Brooklyn is on the map, thanks in large part to developer Bruce C. Ratner. In the late 1980s, he went where no Manhattan developer dared to go—to Brooklyn. First came an office campus called MetroTech Center (ENR 2/10/92 p. 26). Other commercial projects, which border the Atlantic Yards site, followed.

The urban pioneer's stake in the New York City borough, population 2.5 million, did not prepare him for the controversy over his most ambitious project: a public-private village set over a railyard next to the city's third-largest transit hub (ENR 3/8/04 p. 29). Foes of the Atlantic Yards plan, unveiled in 2003, often refer to Ratner by the first syllable of his name and remain outraged by the development's scale, density and architecture. Their lawsuits delayed Ratner's plan but failed to stop it.

Critics are especially appalled by the village's centerpiece: a 675,000-sq-ft arena for the National Basketball Association's Brooklyn Nets, owned in part by Ratner. Barclays Center is set to open with a Jay-Z concert on Sept. 28, five years later than first planned.

Six years, actually, but who's counting.

NoLandGrab: Norman Oder objects to the "sports village" moniker, but we think it's spot-on — especially given the complete absence of any promised housing, offices, retail or open space.

Posted by eric at 12:03 PM

On Friday, Nets/Markowitz host "Brooklyn's Backcourt" celebration at Borough Hall Plaza

Atlantic Yards Report

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, Brett Yormark, Marty Markowitz and friends will be testing the tolerance of Brooklynites for nonsensical blather.

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson may be new, but they are, according to a press release, "Brooklyn's Backcourt," and Borough President Marty Markowitz is wasting no time in welcoming them at 1 pm Friday.

For the record, he never held a celebration for the community plaintiffs who won an uphill battle in a lawsuit against developer Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation.

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Posted by eric at 11:53 AM

Friday, 10 pm: overnight testing of new subway entrance's fire standpipe system

Atlantic Yards Report

If you see a fire truck on Flatbush Avenue opposite the arena on Friday night beginning at 10 pm, well, now you know what it's there for.

From the Empire State Development Corporation (after preparation by Forest City Ratner), a Supplementary Alert to the bi-weekly Construction Alert:

Friday July 13, 2012, during the hours 10:00 pm and 6:00 am [Saturday] the New York City Fire Department will be testing our fire standpipe system servicing the newly construction [sic] subway entrance. This will involve first testing the system with air and then with water. The FDNY will then fill the system with water from their trucks. The testing will be conducted from two sides of the site, along Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic Avenue. The truck along Flatbush Avenue will be located on the west side across the street from the Arena and positioned on the sidewalk closest to the connection; it will not impede pedestrian flow. The one along the Atlantic Avenue side will be within the fence. It is not anticipated to be noisy work and is part of the standard sign off of the standpipe system.

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NoLandGrab: Of course, it may also be dealing with flames shooting from a manhole.

Posted by eric at 11:46 AM

BK designer creates shirt in protest of Barclays subway name

News 12

A Brooklyn shirt designer has unveiled a new shirt in protest of the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street subway station changing its name to reflect the arrival of the new Barclays Center.

Deb Goldstein is selling shirts that read "I'm still calling it Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street," as a way of showing that she won't forget the original name of the subway station.

Click the link to watch the story (Cable TV subscription may be required).

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Posted by eric at 11:24 AM

July 11, 2012

Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting tomorrow: "Day Two" task force; DOT parking study; updates on jobs, construction, operations, first tower

Atlantic Yards Report

Y'know those bi-monthly Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meetings, where Forest City Ratner shares updates with involved agencies, and provokes few questions beyond (usually) Council Member Letitia James? The ones where video and photographer are banned?

The next one is 9:30 tomorrow at Borough Hall, and Borough President Marty Markowitz's office, for the first time, decided to share the agenda with the press. I've interpolated commentary in italics.

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Posted by eric at 1:45 PM

Photos: preliminary work on the site for Building 2, the first modular tower

Atlantic Yards Report

On Monday, Forest City Ratner began work on the foundation and piles for the first residential tower (aka Building 2 or Tower 2), having announced Department of Buildings approval two days before the DOB actually granted it.

Forest City has announced plans to build the first tower using modular construction, and has said a lease on a modular factory would be signed this month, though no formal announcement has been made.

At 32 stories and some 350 units, it would be the tallest modular building ever, a technological gamble of sorts, as well as a gambit that could save Forest City Ratner significant money and time. Construction would not start until the arena opens. Forest City has not yet described how construction would disrupt foot traffic.

Below, photos by community contributor AYInfoNYC taken Monday of initial work. Note that the space around the arena is somewhat exaggerated because the fencing goes past the property line to the edge of the sidewalk.

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Posted by eric at 1:39 PM

More Officials to Testify as Diamond Defends His Actions

DealB%k [NYTimes.com]
by Mark Scott

"Diamond" Bob Diamond appears to tell the truth about as well as Con Ed "engineers" wires around Atlantic Yards.

Robert E. Diamond Jr., Barclays‘ former chief, defended his testimony as the list of senior officials set to appear before Parliament about the Barclays interest rate manipulation scandal is getting longer.
...

The British politicians asked [former Barclays Chairman Marcus] Agius whether Mr. Diamond had been completely forthcoming in his testimony.

“Would you say that Mr. Diamond lied to this committee?” David Ruffley, a member of Parliament, asked Mr. Agius.

“I can’t comment on Mr. Diamond’s testimony,” Mr. Agius replied.

In response, Mr. Diamond wrote to Andrew Tyrie, the committee’s chairman, late on Tuesday, saying he was “dismayed” that some of the politicians apparently believed he had been less than candid.

“Any such suggestion would be totally unfair and unfounded,” Mr. Diamond wrote, adding that he would be willing to discuss the issue with the British lawmakers. “The comments made at today’s hearing have had a terribly unfair impact upon my reputation.”

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NoLandGrab: What reputation?

Posted by eric at 1:31 PM

Improvisation with wiring at Atlantic Yards

Raulism via YouTube

Remember a week ago when manholes near the Barclays Center keep spouting flames, homes and businesses suffered days without power, and Con Ed said it had nothing to do with arena construction?

Yeah, right.

These wires on Dean Street, just west of Vanderbilt Avenue, show a level of improvisation reminiscent of contemporary art installation. One suspects, however, that there might be a functional purpose behind apparent homàge á John Cage.

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NoLandGrab: “'We already have engineered for that, separately from the surrounding community,' said Chris Olert, [Con Ed's] assistant director of media relations. Engineered?

Posted by eric at 1:21 PM

People of metropolis wait for Superman

New York Post
by Steve Serby

Remember that Dwight "Superman" Howard has won as many NBA titles as Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, the New York Nets, the New Jersey Nets and the Brooklyn Nets combined: ZERO.

Maybe the fates are about to stop being so cruel. Maybe this time, along Flatbush Avenue, it will feel as if Ralph Branca has rifled a fastball past Bobby Thomson more than half a century later.

They wait now for Dwight Howard, even as construction workers remain busy bees making the Barclays Center whole for the 2012 Brooklyn Nets. They can’t wait, those who are not wearing Linsanity T-shirts, but they will wait, because when you have waited 55 years for a professional team to call your own, another 24 hours is bearable.

Mikhail Prokhorov doesn’t need a billboard staring right at James Dolan’s Garden anymore. If he succeeds at this bold game of Russian Woo-lette, then the Nets owner’s Blueprint for Greatness will be the Knicks’ worst Dwightmare.

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NoLandGrab: The whole "Superman" thing kinda breaks down with the knowledge that a real Super Villain version of Lex Luthor is building the arena.

Related coverage...

BrooklynFans.com, DWIGHT DAY: HOWARD TO BE DEALT WEDNESDAY … TO BROOKLYN?

The Orlando Magic will give in Wednesday. They’ll trade Dwight Howard.

Will anyone step up and offer a better package than the one put together by the ever-efforting Brooklyn Nets?
...

If [NLG: when] the trade falls through and Lopez is the Nets center when Barclays Center opens, that contract is gonna be the only love the team has shown Brook. Not only did they openly talk about trading him before, during, and after last season … they then asked him to show up April 30th to launch Jay Z’s new Nets colors in Brooklyn and represent the team — and Brook did it. Humble.

Posted by eric at 1:09 PM

Landlord Suing Kemistry Lounge for Four Months Back Rent and Eviction

The future of Kemistry Lounge is unknown as the lawsuit against them demands over $65,000 and requests a “warrant to remove” tenant at 260 Flatbush Avenue.

Park Slope Patch
by Will Yakowicz

Kemistry, we hardly knew ye.

The battle of Kemistry Lounge is now in the hands of the Kings County Civil Court of the City of New York.

On June 25, a petition was filed by the landlord of the 245-person capacity space on Flatbush Avenue, between Prospect Place and St. Marks Avenue, under the name of 260 Flatbush Realty LLC against Kemistry Lounge Entertainment Group LLC demanding four months of unpaid rent, a total of $60,000, plus property taxes, $6,078.81, for a total of $66,078.81.

The petition, submitted by 260 Flatbush Avenue Realty’s attorney Jess Berkowitz, also states that three days before the proceeding that “the rent due or possession of the premises has been demanded personally from respondent tenant.”

Now, the landlord is seeking the “removal” of Kemistry Lounge.

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NoLandGrab: This is what happens when you spell "Kemistry" with a K. Neighbors will find it perfectly O-Ch if the bottle-service wannabe never opens its doors.

Posted by eric at 12:55 PM

July 10, 2012

Sunday Best: Battle For Brooklyn

ABC Television (No, not that ABC)

Our Aussie friends who might not unable to make it to Perth on July 13th can kick back in front of their tellies two nights later, as Battle for Brooklyn airs on the Australian Broadcasting Channel.

ABC2 | Sunday, 15 July 2012 at 8.30pm

About the series

Sunday nights on ABC2 is the home of Sunday Best, an outstanding collection of game-changing and thought-provoking feature length documentaries. We've done the work to bring you the best must-see intelligent docos that are just too good to miss. Hosted by Kristy Best.

Battle For Brooklyn

Battle for Brooklyn follows the story of reluctant activist Daniel Goldstein as he struggles to save his home and community from being demolished to make way for the densest real estate development in US history.

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Posted by eric at 10:38 PM

Slope bar cry: Freddy’s hosts ‘last call’ for pre-renovation O’Connor’s

The Brooklyn Paper

We're still calling him Donald O'Finn!

A Prohibition-era dive bar that got booted to make room for the Atlantic Yards mega-project will toast a rival pub that’s at risk of losing its old-time-y charm as it undergoes a makeover to prep for Barclays Center crowds.

David O’Finn, the owner of the newly relocated Freddy’s Bar, is organizing a “last call” for O’Connor’s, a Fifth Avenue Irish pub in the midst of a major renovation its owner has said will “modernize it a bit.”

He says the July 11 shindig, which starts at 8 pm and goes until closing time, will be a chance for regulars and former employees of O’Connor’s to celebrate the bar’s past iteration now that it’s shuttered for rehab work in the months before the Brooklyn Nets play their first home game just blocks away.

“You do a last call,” said O’Finn, who once worked as a bartender at O’Connor’s before finding a gig at Freddy’s. “I was sad that I didn’t get to say goodbye.”

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Posted by eric at 3:24 PM

I'm still calling it Atlantic Av — Pacific St

Even Hova won't call it Atlantic Av — Barclays Center.

And what does Jay-Z's buddy Trey Anastasio think of the MTA's renaming of the station?

Posted by eric at 11:48 AM

While Prokhorov opens wallet for stars, community facing the Barclays Center arena won't see money for more cops, new railyard, increased subway service, worker training

Atlantic Yards Report

Brooklyn Nets fans, led by the pseudonymous Net Income (aka Bob Windrem) are thrilled by the emergence of the team's big-spending owner, who's on the cusp of landing Dwight Howard, as I wrote today.
...

But Prokhorov and especially his partner Bruce Ratner are pretty chintzy on the other end. Prokhorov saves from all the deals that Ratner, his partner on the arena, has made. And Ratner, rather than dig deeper into his corporate pocket or trade a greater share of ownership for Prokhorov's cash, has tried to save on many aspects that might make the project more "civic."

Here are a few things Ratner hasn't paid for or won't pay for:

  • an Independent Compliance Monitor for the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)
  • wages for trainees in a much-promoted training program that was mandated in the CBA, now subject of a lawsuit
  • a replacement railyard the size initially promised
  • increases in police coverage generated by the arena
  • increases in subway service generated by the arena
  • a residential permit parking program, as in a model CBA
  • the removal of street trees (though Ratner eventually coughed it up)
  • increased garbage pickup on blocks near the arena (this is unresolved)

This saves Ratner well over $100 million, just on the railyard. The rest are, relatively speaking, modest expenditures, though the police and subway costs should be among the more substantial.

And that's not even mentioning the significant direct subsidies ($271.5+ million), the giveaway of naming rights ($200+ million), tax breaks, low-cost land, and other benefits for the project. The New York City Independent Budget Office called the arena a money-loser for the city.

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Posted by eric at 11:38 AM

Berman’s Children

n+1
by Andrew Jacobs

An interesting piece exploring the common threads tying together the historic preservation movement, eminent domain, and Atlantic Yards.

Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights Historic District comprises over 850 buildings, mostly Neo-Grec, Romanesque, and Renaissance Revival rowhouses from the mid- to late 19th century. The District occupies the bulk of a parallelogram formed by Eastern Parkway and Atlantic, Flatbush, and Washington Avenues. Of the 102 historic districts in New York City’s five boroughs, only four are larger than the one in Prospects Heights.

At the northern edge of the District sits the construction site of Atlantic Yards. Infamously, the twenty-two acres of land were in part purchased by Forest City Ratner (FCR) and in part handed over by the state of New York through the exercise of eminent domain. Announced in 2003, Atlantic Yards was initially to contain a Frank Gehry–designed complex of residential towers and an arena for the Brooklyn (née New Jersey) Nets. Since then, largely economic troubles have led to a cost-conscious redesign — Gehry’s out, prefab’s in — and a de facto extension of the completion schedule from ten to twenty-five years.

Efforts to designate the Prospect Heights Historic District began in 2006 and came to fruition in the summer of 2009. The Yards, in some sense, created the District.

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Posted by eric at 11:30 AM

Searching For Spike Lee (episode 1)

Dallas Penn via Vimeo

Internets Celebrities' Dallas Penn goes in search of Spike Lee.

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Posted by eric at 11:12 AM

Key to the brewing Dwight Howard trade is Brook Lopez, the first Brooklyn Nets spokesmodel

Atlantic Yards Report

So the Brooklyn Nets, in a frenzy of deal making and wallet-opening (thanks to the fabulously wealthy Mikhail Prokhorov), have already pulled off a hat trick: re-signing Gerald Wallace, trading for star Joe Johnson, and re-signing point guard Deron Williams.

Now, thanks to the adroit manipulation of the salary cap, the juggling of contracts, the willingness to spend, and the magic of multi-team trades, the Nets remain in the lead, seemingly miraculously, for Orlando star Dwight Howard. And that would would further transform the Nets from having a great backcourt and a solid core to a contender.

To do so, however, they have to move center Brook Lopez.

And as Brooklynites are coaxed, by the relentless media drumbeat and promotional advertising, to welcome their "new hometown team," let's flash back to little more than two months ago, at the 4/30/12 "brand identity launch" of the Brooklyn Nets.

That's when none other than Lopez was presented as the face of the franchise. (Remember, Williams hadn't been signed yet.)

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Photo: AP

Posted by eric at 11:03 AM

Jay-Z Adds Two More Shows — And Tickets Priced to Move

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]

You got 99 problems, but getting tickets to Jay-Z’s concerts this fall ain’t one.

The rap superstar has added two shows — he’ll now open the Barclays Center on Sept. 28, and then follow it with shows on Sept. 29 and 30 — and will price 7,000 seats at each of the shows at less than $30.
...

Mr. Z is a tiny owner of the Nets basketball team, but has become the public face of the squad’s marketing effort, including branding a posh club inside the 19,000-seat arena after himself.

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Posted by eric at 10:58 AM

Some art screening for the broadcast parking lot right next to residences (but no rendering of the trucks that will occupy it)

Atlantic Yards Report

Empire State Development has posted renderings of "public art screening" for the lot at the northeast corner of Dean Street and Sixth Avenues that will house broadcast trucks covering events at the arena across Sixth Avenue.

The aim is to make the perimeter more aesthetically pleasant, and it certainly improves an empty lot, but those trucks are going to stick out a lot more. I doubt many such broadcast support lots serving other arenas are flush against row houses. The three adjacent houses are privately owned, though subject to eminent domain as the project moves forward.

The two lots flush against Dean Street, in the rendering above and at the bottom right of the rendering below, were occupied by houses that Forest City Ratner demolished in 2008. The rest of the property was an empty lot.

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Posted by eric at 10:49 AM

Crime Report: A Busy Week in the 88th Precinct

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Gersh Kuntzman

Things returned to (ab)normal at Bruce Ratner's Fort Greene malls last week.

Oh, Chuck

A thief swiped a woman’s purse while she used the restroom at the Chuck E. Cheese “restaurant” inside the crime-ridden Atlantic Terminal Mall on July 2.

The victim told cops that she was inside the arcade/snack bar at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues at around 10:30 p.m. when she slipped off to relieve herself. That’s when the thief moved in, taking her purse, which contained various cards.

There were at least two other crimes inside the same mall last week:

  • A thief stole a purse from a woman inside the Target department store on July 3, getting away with cards and an iPhone 4 at around 5:40 p.m.
  • An alleged shoplifter was arrested after he stole clothing, food and diapers from the Target store at around 7:30 p.m. on July 4, cops said.

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Posted by eric at 10:43 AM

Film Review – Battle For Brooklyn

Reel Review Roundup
by Julian Wright

Oy! Loyal Down Under NoLandGrab readers won't want to miss this upcoming screening in Perth — on Friday the 13th, no less.

Battle For Brooklyn

Directed by: Suki Hawley, Michael Galinsky

Starring: Daniel Goldstein, Shabnam Merchant, Letitia James, Bruce Ratner

Four stars

What would you do if you discovered the land your house sat on was earmarked for a commercial development? Not only your house would be demolished to make way for it, but hundreds of other people’ s homes and businesses as well. Would you take the money offered to you by the developer and relocate? Or would you stay and fight? Daniel Goldstein stayed and fought a long, exhausting and drawn out fight in this familiar David versus Goliath story of a community that would not lay down to a conglomerate that wanted to bulldoze an old and established section of Brooklyn full of history for a sports arena and a few skyscrapers.

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Posted by eric at 10:35 AM

July 9, 2012

Jay-Z Tickets at Barclays Center on Sale Friday

The concert will officially open the arena to the public.

Park Slope Patch
by Jamie Schuh

Tickets for Jay-Z’s opening night concerts at the Barclays Center will go on sale this Friday, July 13, officials confirmed.

The hip-hop mogul—and part owner of the Brooklyn Nets—will perform at the arena on its opening night, Sept. 28, as well as two additional concerts on Sept, 29 and 30.

According to the arena, more than 7,000 tickets per show will be priced at under $30.

“Jay-Z is Brooklyn and is the definitive artist to open Barclays Center,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said in a statement.

article

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Jay-Z tickets go on sale July 13... for suckers (though there may be two more shows)

Tickets for Jay-Z's three shows (one date had been announced, but arena CEO Brett Yormark in May predicted five shows) at the Barclays Center (Sept. 28-30) go on sale on Friday, July 13, right?

But there are ways of jumping the line. There's an AmEx presale on Wednesday, July 11, according to Brooklyn Vegan, though it's unclear whether it applies to all three dates.

And, as indicated at right, subscribers to the Barclays Center Behind the Scenes list will have access to a presale on Thursday, July 12, for the third show.

More than 7,000 tickets per show will be priced at under $30, or $37.20 with fees. That's less than the market would bear, so credit Jay-Z with not milking it any more than he could.

There will also be a bunch of seats for $254.50.

While the arena capacity has been announced at 19,000 for concerts, the maximum, according to arena GM John Sparks, would be 17,500. In this case, there will be 14,586 seats, which likely means a significant stage set-up.

NoLandGrab: Or, it could be that they'll only have installed 14,586 seats by September 28th.

The Brooklyn Blog [NYPost.com], Jay-Z offers price break for Barclays Center opening concerts

“The artist dictates the pricing, and Jay-Z has said from the start that these concerts are all about celebrating Brooklyn, and he wanted everyone who wants to come to be able to attend,” Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark told The Post. “This shows how committed he is to Brooklyn.”
...

However, pricing for these seats dwarf in comparison to what Barclays Center is charging for other top acts later this year.

For example, stage area seats for Barbra Streisand’s Oct. 11 and Oct. 13 shows run as high as $716.65 – and on secondary markets like StubHub people were asking as much as $34,000.

Meadowlands Matters [NorthJersey.com], Jay-Z concert tickets in Brooklyn: many quite cheap

Will be interesting to see how the ticket scenario plays out on the secondary market. Ticket agents know they can get a LOT more than $29.50 plus fees for a show like this, so demand for those should be off the charts.

NY Observer, All Jay-Z Everything: Barclays Center to Open with Three Jay-Z Concerts

What they didn’t say is how much those $30 tickets will go for after a bunch of awful scalping robots vacuum them up and resell them on StubHub or Craigslist for over 7,000 times their original face value.

If anything, however, this presents a wonderful out, so you don’t have to choose between wearing your Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn shirt, your Occupy All Streets shirt, and your I’m Still Calling It Pacific-Atlantic shirt to Jay-Z’s Barclays Center opening.

Now, you can wear all three.

Posted by eric at 11:23 PM

Atlantic Yards Deep Thoughts: Bad Bank Edition

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Should Bruce Ratner, Mikhail Prokhorov and Bob Diamond's arena be called The House That Eminent Domain Built or the LIBOR Fixing Arena?

link

NoLandGrab: Don't forget Jay-Z! Never have so many written so much about so little ownership.

Posted by eric at 11:17 PM

Doing The Wrong Thing: Spike Lee Won't "Get Into the Politics of the Barclays Center"

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

"I'm not going to get into the politics of the Barclays Center; the thing is, it's up, it's a reality, and that's just that."

Yeah, that is a good point. Really, history shouldn't be discussed at all because whatever happened is now" a reality and that's just that."

Spike Lee has spent a career discussing the politics of both current and historic events. But somehow the politics of the BARCLAYS Center is off limits? Even with the current, very current, scandal in which the bank is embroiled?

C'mon, this can't be the same Spike Lee who once said, "I think it is very important that films make people look at what they've forgotten."

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Posted by eric at 11:09 PM

More Sports Glummery

Noticing New York

As discussed in my previous Sports Glummery article there are those who dream of inaugurating a moderated form of fandom whereby individuals of conscience can with proper restraint avoid complicity with the dastardly deeds done in the pursuit of profit by the highly commercialized sports industry. Others, like myself, would prefer to keep life simple: We would shun the industry to effect a clear-cut divorce and separation. Whatever one may wish for, escaping complicity may not be so easy.

It turns out, according to recent analysis that even those of us who never watch professional sports can blame the franchises running that industry for significantly driving up the cost of our cable television bills: 90 percent of Americans pay for cable, satellite or fiber optic television, and according to the Wall Street Journal in 2010, about 40 percent of consumers' basic cable bills probably went towards sports programming.

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Posted by eric at 12:22 PM

Spike Lee: "I’m not going to get into the politics of the Barclays Center; the thing is, it’s up, it’s a reality" (but "I just hope people take mass transit")

Atlantic Yards Report

From Will Leitch's interview in New York Magazine's Vulture with a famous Brooklyn-born Knicks fan, Spike Lee Talks Obama, the End of Mookie's Brooklyn, and the Hollywood Color Line:

Q. Your offices are three blocks from the Barclays Center. Do you think the Nets will change Brooklyn?
A. I am happy for Brooklyn, but I’m not leaving my beloved orange and blue. And I just cannot wait. One of the biggest nights in New York City sports history is going to be the first Knicks-Nets game in Brooklyn. That is going to be huge. That is going to be war.

Q. What do you think of the stadium?
A. I do not know the specifics about how people got moved out and all that stuff. I’m not going to get into the politics of the Barclays Center; the thing is, it’s up, it’s a reality, and that’s just that. It’s here; you have to deal with it. Negative and positive; I can deal with it. Jay-Z is going to christen it in September with his concert: you’ve got Barbra Streisand coming. The Nets will be playing there in the next NBA season, and Brooklyn has their first ­major-league team since the Dodgers fled after the 1957 season, the year I was born.

I'm not going to get into the politics of the Barclays Center is an understandable and not uncommon hedge, but given that Spike Lee had gotten into the politics of so many things it's a bit of a dodge.

Exactly. In the interview, Spike gets into education politics, city politics, Presidential politics, race politics, gay-marriage politics — but he doesn't want to talk about land-grab politics. Cop out.

Warnings about traffic

Lee continued with a warning:

But I do know this: I just hope people take mass transit. I hope they take it when they are coming from Long Island, because you know you have the Manhattan Bridge and you have the Brooklyn Bridge. The Manhattan Bridge comes [begins drawing on a napkin] … If you come up the bridge right on Flatbush ­Avenue, you come off the Brooklyn Bridge, you make a left on Tillary, and you are on Flatbush Avenue. Flatbush and Atlantic is the Barclays Center. I predict traffic is going to be so jammed that you are going to be on Canal Street in Manhattan trying to get over the Manhattan Bridge. It is going to be crazy. People have to use public transportation.

Well, yes, but people have been saying that for years.

article

Related content...

Vulture [New York Magazine], Spike Lee Talks Obama, the End of Mookie’s Brooklyn, and the Hollywood Color Line

Will Leitch's interview with Spike Lee is well worth reading. It's a real shame that the otherwise outspoken and thoughtful Lee took a pass on the Atlantic Yards fight.

Posted by eric at 11:02 AM

Ex Barclays CEO: I Too Fell for the Diamond Myth

CNBC via Yahoo! Finance
by Deepanshu Bagchee

Seems not "knowing" what his rogue subordinates were doing is nothing new for "Diamond" Bob Diamond.

Former Barclays CEO Martin Taylor says he had asked Bob Diamond to stay on as head of Barclays Capital back in 1998 after the latter offered to resign following losses of hundreds of millions of pounds from Russia's debt default. According to Taylor those losses were the result of Diamond's unit failing to adhere to trading limits set by the firm.

In a column in the Financial Times, Taylor says Diamond asked the credit committee for higher trading limits. But when the division didn't get the limits it was looking for, it "falsely marked some Russian banking counterparties as Swiss or American" and "blasted through the ceiling."

"The traders were fired. Their leader maintained that he had known nothing about what was going on. He felt terrible. He loved Barclays. He offered to go," Taylor said about Diamond.

"I concluded that the embryonic business that BarCap then was would fall apart without him, and that he should stay."

Regrets? He's had a few.

"I suspect the subsequent history of the business would have been very different had I asked him to go. I deserve blame for being among the first to succumb to the myth of Diamond's indispensability, to which some in Barclays were still in thrall only a matter of days ago."

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Related content...

The Daily Mail, Diamond Bob's spoilt brat and a super-rich elite with no shame

Nel Diamond, however, thinks everyone should just leave Daddy alone.

Diamond was criticised for presiding over a culture of reckless greed at Barclays. He agreed that the Libor interest rate fixing scandal was appalling. He said he was angry, physically sick — really? — when he read the damning emails. However, guess what? Not quite sick enough to hand in his £18 million payout, thanks all the same.

Diamond is doing his best to appear contrite, but he is just one more fake penitent in the public dock today. In private, it will be a very different story. Behind closed doors, I suspect, he will have feelings of entitlement and rage over his forced resignation which are awful to behold.

Indeed, for an insight into how Diamond really feels, look no further than his daughter Nell, the 23-year-old Wall Street banker who jumped to the defence of her darling daddy earlier this week.

Posted by eric at 10:44 AM

How does 2004 promise of "venue for amateur athletics, graduations, the circus and other family events" fit with Brooklyn Hoops/Show/Boxing/Family? (and how Brooklyn still needs a Sportsplex)

Atlantic Yards Report

They've really changed how they're promoting the arena, haven't they? For example, Borough President Marty Markowitz once said "I have no doubt that it would also double as a Sportsplex for high school sports," but we haven't heard that kind of talk lately.

At a public meeting June 26 on Barclays Center operations, arena General Manager John Sparks described four or five “major neighborhoods” in which events are distributed.

Beyond the Brooklyn Nets, there will be Brooklyn Show (concerts), Brooklyn Hoops (college), Brooklyn Family (family shows), and Brooklyn Boxing.

Indeed, that's how events are described on the arena web site, as shown in the screenshot at right.

Flashback: 2004

But what were Brooklynites told, in Forest City Ratner's very first mailer, sent to some 300,000 homes over Memorial Day weekend in 2004?

They'd be getting "a venue for amateur athletics, graduations, the circus and other family events."

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Posted by eric at 10:20 AM

July 8, 2012

In Brooklyn, a Friend Is a Hero in Disguise

The New York Times
by Kevin Baker

A friend of the late newspaperman Dennis Holt reveals that as a young man, Holt acted courageously during the first attempt to integrate the University of Alabama. Sadly, he clearly lost that moral compass when it came to Atlantic Yards.

Then, in 1993, a book came out that made us see him in a whole new light: E. Culpepper Clark’s superb history of the long fight to integrate the University of Alabama, “The Schoolhouse Door.” It begins with the effort to enroll a young black woman named Autherine Lucy at the university in February 1956. And there, to our surprise, was Dennis Holt.

The appearance of the incredibly courageous Ms. Lucy triggered wild rioting by Alabama students, considerably augmented by outside agitators. The mob roamed freely about the campus for hours, screaming racial epithets, setting fires, attacking a passing black motorist, and even pelting the wife of the university president with eggs and rocks when she tried to appeal for calm. Ms. Lucy was fortunate to escape with her life.

Dennis, we discovered, was president of the arts and sciences college council of Alabama at the time, “brilliant, eloquent and popular,” and the national college debate champion. Along with a handful of other brave students, he turned away a group of drunken rioters seeking to break into the university president’s residence. Dennis and his companions told them, “You’re not going anywhere.”

The next day, Alabama’s board of trustees gave in to the mob, and voted to ban Ms. Lucy from campus for her own safety. It was a dishonor that Dennis and his fellow student leaders were not willing to share. They held a public meeting, in which Dennis described the people he had kept from entering the president’s mansion as “two high school boys and a man so drunk he could barely lurch.” Turning them back wasn’t hard: “That’s all it took — just a little resistance.”

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NoLandGrab: Holt made deriding the resistance to Atlantic Yards a regular, recurring theme in his columns. Guess he was afraid to stand up to Bruce Ratner's bullying.

Posted by eric at 9:53 PM

The impact of third-shift work at the arena site, 11:30 pm: "Loud hammering, sawing, welding, yelling, and all sorts of incredibly loud noise"

Atlantic Yards Report

From Thursday night, July 5, as recounted on Atlantic Yards Watch, from a poster who preemptively takes the name "Not.A.NIMBY":

Location:
Barclays Center site
When:
July 5, 2012 - 11:14pm
311: 185447938
Loud hammering, sawing, welding, yelling, and all sorts of incredibly loud noise. Did not even start until 10.30 PM, so this isn't them working late to finish something, this is them deciding to start working very late at night. In a time of year when residents (and this is a heavily residential neighborhood) have their windows open, they should not be performing heavy and loud construction at almost midnight. They're still going strong at 11.30 PM, with no end in sight.

On June 25, workers began third-shift work at the arena site, involving elevator system electrical work, as well as work on the facade and roof. There was no indication of noise impacts.

link

Posted by eric at 9:47 PM

Sunday quotes: the lingering scandal over Barclays and the reason to transcend "bank-scandal fatigue"

Atlantic Yards Report

John Brennan in the Record's Meadowlands Matters, What’s in a name: problems for The Barclays or for The Barclays Center?:

The entire Atlantic Yards development plan has been a source of controversy since 2004, with the unusual use of eminent domain to aid the development project and the intensity of construction near downtown Brooklyn among the gripes. But I concur with the analysts cited here that this scandal is not going to lead to a repeat of the Houston Astros’ playing in a place renamed from Enron Field to Minute Maid Park.

The relevant comparison is to the Mets’ CitiField, named after Citigroup, which did not change its name after its own high-finance issues in recent years.

I think it’s just a harsh fact that to the extent that the public is aware of misdeeds by financial institutions, there is little surprise about it since the collapse of 2008.

I agree, the name won't change (though there likely is and will be more dismay toward the renaming of the Atlantic Av-Pacific St station as Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr). And no, it's not Enron. It's not even CitiField, for which the issue was "Bailout Ballpark."

The Barclays controversy goes deeper. New York Times columnist Joe Nocera wrote yesterday, in Libor's Dirty Laundry:

Even now, Barclays justifies the latter rationale as being a kind of emergency measure brought on by the financial crisis. But the bank is wrong about this. Submitting false data, for whatever reason, is a violation of the law — not to mention a fundamental abuse of trust. Once again, it leads one to believe that bankers feel neither the constraints of the law nor of morality.

Which brings me to the second big surprise. Britain and America have reacted to the Libor scandal in completely different ways. Britain is in an utter frenzy over it, with wall-to-wall coverage, and the most respectable, pro-business publications expressing outrage. Yes, Barclays is a British bank, and the first word in Libor is “London.” But still: The Economist ran a headline about the scandal that read, in its entirety, “Banksters.”

Yet, on these shores, the reaction has been mainly a shrug. Perhaps we’re suffering from bank-scandal fatigue, having lived through Bank of America’s various travails, and the Goldman Sachs revelations, and, most recently, the big JPMorgan Chase trading loss. Or maybe Libor is just hard to gets one’s head around.

But the Brits have this one right. They may not understand the intricacies of Libor any better than we do, but they sense, powerfully, that banks have once again made a mockery of the role that society entrusts to them.

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Related content...

Meadowlands Matters [NorthJersey.com], What’s in a name: problems for The Barclays or for The Barclays Center?

Then there is the Barclays Center, a FAR more complicated issue. This arena’s developers received hundreds of millions of dollars in public subsidies based on the amount of short-term and long-term jobs that would be created as well as the affordable housing that would be built. So far the “Jobs Housing Hoops” mantra introduced nearly a decade ago has not produced as promised, and the basketball coming in October not surprisingly was not the highest priority listed by supporters many years ago.

Posted by steve at 9:46 AM

July 7, 2012

Play Their Hearts Out: youth basketball and the shoe purveyors (like Adidas, coming to Barclays Center) that are "going to do what's good for their companies" (plus: the Dwight Howard angle)

Atlantic Yards Report

Basketball, the American game, the city game, the Brooklyn game--it takes armadas of talented youth, puts them through years of effort and hope and in many cases illusion, and a select few make it to college, with a trickle going pro, earning the riches to (in many cases) vault their families from poverty.

We see the successes most often, not the casualties, though we're hardly unaware. But the casualties go deep.

According to a gripping book about youth basketball, there's a lot of collateral damage, fueled by a star-making machine of hype (recruiters' newsletters and premature Sports Illustrated coverage); manipulation (AAU coaches promising the world but more in it for themselves), and money (sneaker companies wanting a piece of the action from ever younger kids, throwing swag to coaches, who can dangle it in front of recruits, as well as events they can run and earn six figures).

link

Posted by steve at 6:23 PM

July 6, 2012

Two days after Forest City announces "preliminary approval" for work on first tower, Department of Buildings indicates that's so

Atlantic Yards Report

I wrote on July 3 how developer Forest City Ratner plans to start work on July 9 on pile and foundation work for the first Atlantic Yards tower.

But it's unclear what "preliminary approval" for such work from the Department of Buildings meant, as no permit had been issued.

The "preliminary approval" was related by Empire State Development, in the bi-weekly Construction Update prepared by Forest City and released July 3 (but dated July 2), and the ESD's Arana Hankin elaborated not so completely:

“FCRC have been talking with DOB about this work, but a permit still has not been issued. Some of the foundation work must be completed before the arena opens because of the close proximity of B2 to the arena. Other work on B2 will commence before the end of the year.”

I tried on July 3 to find out from the Department of Buildings what "preliminary approval" means. I tried again yesterday, without success.

A July 5 update

But the DOB's web site now indicates approval for such work, which either means 1) the DOB is slow in updating its web site (and getting back to press), 2) Forest City got a promise before it was actually approved and/or paperwork filed, or 3) both.

Evidence leans toward the second explanation, because all the documents were filed yesterday.

link

Posted by eric at 10:31 AM

Is Schneiderman Giving a Pass on Possible Illegal Lobbying on Redevelopment Effort Favored by a Major Donor?

naked capitalism
by Yves Smith

An alert reader pointed to a new post by Norman Oder, who has been following the so-called Atlantic Yards project, a $4.9 billion proposed “redevelopment” for part of Brooklyn proposed by Bruce Ratner of Forest City Development.

What caught his eye was that Schneiderman had secured a settlement from three groups, one New York City’s “economic development agency” and two local development corporations. This triumverate was pushing local legislators to support development projects in Willets Point in Queens and Coney Island in Brooklyn.
...

But Oder raises the question: why didn’t Schneiderman also pursue the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, which operates in pretty much the same manner? Might it have something to do with the $12,500 that Ratner gave to Schneiderman’s 2010 campaign?

article

Posted by eric at 10:25 AM

Markowitz's summer concert series: patrons include Forest City, Barclays Center, Brooklyn Nets, and Barclays

Atlantic Yards Report

One hand washes the other four, and vice versa.

Just in case you were wondering, no less than four entities associated with the new Brooklyn are are backing--as patrons, above sponsors--Borough President Marty Markowitz's two summer concert series.

The Seaside Series in Coney Island cites the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets, and Forest City Ratner Companies, among eight patrons.

(There are many more sponsors. Last October the New York Times explained how Markowitz raised big bucks for charities associated with projects that boosted his reputation, drawing on donors who did business in the borough.)

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Series in Crown Heights/PLG adds a fourth sponsor: Barclays. That might not be the best timing, but who cares, really.

link

Posted by eric at 10:16 AM

Dwight Howard deal would cost Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov $107.5M over next four years

From brand new Barclays Center to trading for Joe Johnson, Mikhail Prokhorov is doing whatever it takes to build Nets franchise.

NY Daily News
by Stefan Bondy

Mikhail Prokhorov has more than 100 million reasons to halt the Dwight Howard chase. But it helps to be the richest owner in all of American sports.

Prokhorov, unlike the vast number of NBA owners, has pooh-poohed the idea of a revamped luxury tax, bankrolling the Nets’ uninhibited spending and star chasing this offseason. If the Nets pull off a trade with Orlando for Howard and, assuming they re-sign Howard to a max deal and keep the contracts of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, Prokhorov will pay a luxury tax of approximately $107.5 million over the next four years, according to a league source.

None of this would be possible without Prokhorov: not the $1 billion arena nearly complete in Brooklyn, not the trading for Johnson’s supposedly untradeable contract, and not the continued chase for Howard while approaching cap hell.

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NoLandGrab: And let's never mind worrying how Prokhorov, ahem, "earned" those billions. To paraphrase Mike Bloomberg, no one will remember how the former Soviet Union was plundered by ex-KGB agents and their Oligarch cronies, they'll just know that the Nets could acquire Joe Johnson's absurdly expensive contract.

Related coverage...

NetsDaily, Prokhorov Willing to Spend...A LOT

Mikhail Prokhorov had a good day Thursday. According to the Forbes Real Time Billionaire Tracker, he made $26.37 million or almost enough to pay for Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace's salaries next season...in a day! Its that kind of wealth and the willingness to spend it that separates Prokhorov from most NBA owners ... and those who previously controlled the Nets.
...

All of this has concerned salary cap weenies and Mark Cuban, but not Avery Johnson. "When he first bought the team, he said he would do whatever it took to build a championship team."

NLG: Though "salary cap weenies" know that the Nets are subject to a hard cap, so it's likely they will have to pull a couple hotdog vendors from the stands to fill out their roster.

Keegan's Kickoff, Make it Nashty

Keegan may have taken one too many kickoffs to the noggin.

This Nets team is going to be awesome. D-Will, top 3 point guard. Joe Johnson, all star. Gerald Wallace can guard anyone. Kris Humphries-Kardashian isn't bad but that's why they got Mr. Energy Reggie Evans to push Kristopher Kardashian. New sign at the top of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn....NO KARDASHIANS ALLOWED.

NLG: A "No Kardashians" sign would be less offensive than the Barclays logo, certainly.

Posted by eric at 10:01 AM

Will the Barclays Banking Scandal Drag Down Arena's Reputation?

The London-based bank the arena is named for is dealing with the fallout from accusations of rate manipulation.

Park Slope Patch
by Jamie Schuh

The Barclays Center is due to open in less than three months, but its name could be tarnished by news that three of the London bank’s top executives are resigning over a rate-manipulation scandal, says the New York Times.

Barclays is paying $200 million over the next 20 years for naming rights to the Atlantic Yards arena, but will the bank’s episode ultimately turn into an embarrassment for the arena?

article

NoLandGrab: The arena's already an embarrassment of eminent domain abuse, corporate welfare, backroom dealing, crime and corruption. Barclays is just more icing on the cake.

Related content...

The Real Deal, Amid current scandal, Barclays to get a high-profile Brooklyn namesake

Posted by eric at 9:51 AM

The Day: Maybe It’s Time To Hug a Cyclist

The Local [Fort Greene/Clinton Hill]
by Gersh Kuntzman

The sister of Atlantic Yards opponent extraordinaire, Daniel Goldstein, has joined a tiny part of the fight against the mega-development, creating T-shirts featuring the slogan, “I’m still calling it Atlantic Av–Pacific St,” a protest against the renaming of the station to mention the Barclays Center. Deb Goldstein told Patch that she was inspired by Paul Lukas’s “I’m still calling it Shea” shirts, which are popular with Met fans who miss the team’s original Flushing home.

link

NoLandGrab: Not just "tiny" — the shirts come in sizes all the way up to XXL.

Posted by eric at 9:45 AM

July 5, 2012

Will the Brooklyn Nets become New York’s hometown basketball team?

Crain's NY Business

Crain's offers up another inane poll...

The Nets are gathering momentum as they head into their debut season in Brooklyn. They have a new arena, a billionaire owner, a celebrity co-owner in Jay-Z and even new dancers. They persuaded their star point guard, Deron Williams, to re-sign and traded for another All-Star, shooting guard Joe Johnson. The Knicks, meanwhile, failed in their quest to acquire future Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash, who is heading to the Lakers.

Will the Brooklyn Nets become New York’s hometown basketball team?

Yes. They’re new and hip. New Yorkers will migrate to them and away from the overpriced Knicks.
No. The Knicks will remain top dog in the city.

link

Posted by eric at 4:28 PM

The Stadium Jinx

Future of Capitali$m

When a company overpays for the naming rights to a government-subsidized sports stadium, it's almost always a bad sign. Citigroup paid a reported $400 million in 2006 to call the new Mets baseball stadium Citi Field; Citi shares since then have tanked. Barclays paid $200 million for rights to put its name on the arena in Brooklyn where the Nets basketball team will play, an arena built with the use of state power to seize private homes through eminent domain. Now the CEO, chairman, and chief operating officer of Barclays have all resigned amid a scandal over fixing, or attempting to fix, the London interbank offered rate.

It was bad enough that the city and state used eminent domain and subsidies to build this arena in partnership with a politically well connected developer. I'm sure there are plenty of fine people who work at Barclays (I know at least one of them), but there's something distasteful about naming the arena — they're even renaming the Atlantic Avenue subway station beneath the arena, or at least re-signing it — for a company whose name is now associated with such misbehavior. It's a certain peculiarity of the Bloomberg administration — if you are a soda company or a cigarette manufacturer, they demonize you, but if you are a financial services company, they name a stadium after you. This Web site is not in the camp that wants to demonize the entire financial services industry. And if it were an arena or stadium built entirely with private money, that would be a different situation — the owner could name it whatever the owner wanted to. In this case, there's a subway station supported by tax dollars being renamed after a British bank some of whose employees seem to have engaged in highly questionable behavior.

link

Posted by eric at 1:18 PM

Front-page news in the Times: "Nets Move to Brooklyn with [a narrow notion of] Legitimacy in Sight"

Atlantic Yards Report

The Times apparently needed a little "USA, USA" fluff for Independence Day.

It's front-page news in the New York Times, coincidentally seven years to the day after another front-page story.

The headline in print today is Nets, After a String of Homes, Hope to Settle Into Brooklyn, but an alternate headline, as indicated by the URL is "Nets Move to Brooklyn with Legitimacy in Sight."

That's a narrow notion of legitimacy, limited to the universe of sporting competitiveness, not to the overall move, one tainted in numerous ways, not least by the recently-emerged scandal regarding naming rights sponsor Barclays.

On the front page, it's glaring: if the only questions reporters ask a handful of fans and basketball professionals are about whether the boldly revamped team can compete, that's all the discussion will concern.

Here's sports columnist/reporter Harvey Araton's conclusion:

The arena is all but built. The star point guard is staying. And the Nets — the first major professional sports team to call Brooklyn home since the Dodgers, and the first to hit the city in 50 years — might actually be capable of taking the borough, if not yet the city, by storm.

Looking for confirmation

So who confirms that?

  • James Robinson, 25, who works in a sneaker store not far from the arena
  • Brooklyn-born-and-bred hoops star Chris Mullin (who's an NBA analyst for ESPN and was already on board, saying last December, "I love the fact that they’re going to Brooklyn. I think it’s going to work.")
  • Robert Liff, a longtime Nets season-ticket holder, who's renewed his season tickets, a Brooklyn native
  • Herb Turetzky, the Nets official scorer, since 1967, a former Brooklynite who lives in Queens

That's one civilian--and if he works a sneaker store he's likely a basketball fan to begin with--and three already on the "team."

The article includes one voice of caution, a Brooklynite who "remains a stalwart Knicks fan" but "seemed open to persuasion."

Read on for Norman Oder's interesting Twitter exchange with Araton.

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Related content...

The New York Times, Nets, After a String of Homes, Hope to Settle Into Brooklyn

They have wandered the greater metropolitan area like dribbling migrants for 45 seasons, playing in seven different arenas, none of them in what could be called a choice professional basketball location.

Since 2004, the Nets have been lame ducks and losers in largely indifferent New Jersey, waiting through lawsuits, construction delays and the worst real estate crash in decades for the opportunity to finally unpack in New York City — their intended home at birth in 1967.

Few took them seriously, and many had good reason to believe that their characteristic bad karma would follow them to Brooklyn, if they ever made it. Lo and behold, their dream of laying roots in the mass-transit-rich Atlantic Yards is happening, and the odds that the Nets will finally find requited love have improved.

Posted by eric at 11:06 AM

State Authorities Budget Office asks: where's the annual report for Job Development Authority, creator of the Brooklyn Arena LDC?

Atlantic Yards Report

Sometimes, the ESDC doesn't even bother to pretend that it's accountable to anyone.

According to the 2012 annual report from the state Authorities Budget Office (ABO), the New York Job Development Authority (JDA), an affiliate of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC, aka Urban Development Corporation), has yet to file the required annual report, due more than a year ago, 6/30/11.

Of all the authorities listed, that's the longest delay in filing an annual report. Presumably the JDA, which is a legal entity distinct from ESDC but relies on ESDC staff, also has not filed the report due 6/30/12.

JDA and BALDC

The JDA is the creator of the Brooklyn Arena Local Development Corporation (BALDC), the special-purpose entity that issued bonds for the Barclays Center arena. And it would be interesting to learn how the BALDC operates, especially since Goldman Sachs earlier this year called a meeting of bondholders, only to step back when it was clear that the investment firm was not authorized to act as the BALDC.

link

NoLandGrab: Surely Governor Status Cuomo is demanding that this report be on his desk tomorrow morning, no? He's all about reform and transparency, after all.

Posted by eric at 10:58 AM

Barclays' claim: "we’re dirty-clean, rather than clean-clean"

Atlantic Yards Report

According to the Huffington Post, branding experts don't think the stigma facing Barclays will last, or Barclays Bank Scandal Unlikely To Taint Brooklyn Nets' Fresh Start. So one p.r. expert:

"I think on both the NBA totem pole and in New York professional sports, the Nets don't exactly rank very well in terms of brand value or brand awareness, so Barclays won't really make it worse for them."

But maybe those following the Barclays Center will remember some choice bits, such as from today's New York Times, Barclays C.E.O. Resigns as Bank Frames a Defense:

When Barclays bank manipulated key interest rates to bolster profits during the 2008 financial crisis, senior executives said they were following a common practice that regulators implicitly approved, according to documents released by the bank and authorities.

...Even as [top executives] resigned, Barclays published documents indicating that some executives thought they were responding to an implied directive from the Bank of England, Britain’s central bank.

Investigators disagree, saying that Barclays "never explicitly told regulators that it was reporting false interest rates that amounted to manipulation," and the bank has been charted with helping other banks do the same thing.

article

Related content...

The Huffington Post, Barclays Bank Scandal Unlikely To Taint Brooklyn Nets' Fresh Start

The curse of the naming rights continues. Just as the Brooklyn Nets are about to settle into the brand-new Barclays Center, the bank for which the NBA team's arena is named has plunged into scandal. The British bank has been ordered to pay $450 million in fines for manipulating global interest rates and several executives have resigned.
...

Liz Goodgold of Redfire Branding echoed Shankman. "It’s important to remember that this is not front-page news outside of the finance community," she said. "More Americans, for example, are aware and intrigued by the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes split than in the nuances of this brouhaha."

NoLandGrab: And that's what makes America such a great nation.

NY Times Deal B%k, Barclays C.E.O. Resigns as Bank Frames a Defense

In one call on April 2008, a Barclays manager acknowledged to the Financial Services Authority that the bank was understating its Libor submissions. “So, to the extent that, um, the Libors have been understated, are we guilty of being part of the pack? You could say we are,” the Barclays manager said, according to regulatory documents.

“I would sort of express us maybe as not clean clean, but clean in principle.”

Or, as one Barclays official told the British Bankers Associations, the organization that oversees Libor, “we’re clean but we’re dirty-clean, rather than clean-clean.”

NLG: If you don't thin it's cool for Brooklyn's biggest transit hub to carry the name of a "dirty-clean" interest-rate rigging bank, add your name to this petition asking the MTA to scotch the deal that changed the name of the Atlantic Av-Pacific St station.

Posted by eric at 10:44 AM

Arena Names Can Spell Embarrassment

The New York Times
by Richard Sandomir

Barclays picked an awful time to be caught in a scandal and for its chief executive to resign.

In less than three months, Barclays Center in Brooklyn will open with a concert by Jay-Z, a minority owner of the Nets. That will be followed a couple of weeks later by two nights of music from the high priestess of the borough, Barbra Streisand. Soon after the buttah melts, the Brooklyn Nets will open their season.

And so while a lot has gone right for the Nets in the last 72 hours — agreements for a big trade and the re-signing of Deron Williams — the Barclays episode feels right out of the team’s haunted past.

article

NoLandGrab: More like an episode from the team's haunted present. The news that Barclays, with its sordid history, was illegally fixing interest rates should come as a surprise to no one. And its part and parcel of the crooked deals and crooked characters swarming like flies around that big pile of brown at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Times Sports section agrees Barclays Center naming rights worth $200 million, suggests sum "hard for any team to turn down" (but why were naming rights given away, or not calculated as subsidy?)

So, the New York Times has agreed that the Barclays Center naming rights deal is worth $200 million, thus performing "rowback," which former Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent described in his 3/14/04 column as "a way that a newspaper can cover its butt without admitting it was ever exposed."

Remember, the New York Times Metro section, 7/19/11:

The new design from SHoP Architects and Ellerbe Becket for the arena, the Barclays Center, which the British bank will pay nearly $400 million to name...

My exchange with the Public Editor (actually his assistant), who resisted any correction to the more accurate figure of $200 million-plus, posted 8/3/11.

Sports Business Journal's confirmation that the naming rights deal has been renegotiated to $200 million, posted 9/19/11.
...

But why should Forest City have had the naming rights in the first place? It's a publicly owned arena, albeit one rented to the developer for a buck, part of a fig leaf to get tax-exempt bonds issued, which are then repaid via PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes).

Why should cities and states give away naming rights, in whole or in part? When asked in 2009, Steve Matlin, then an attorney for the Empire State Development Corporation, stated, “It’s part of the financing for the project."

While it certainly has been relied on by Forest City Ratner, it was never cited as part of the sources and uses for the project. Nor was it even counted as a subsidity in any cost-benefit analysis regarding the project, not even the one by the New York City Independent Budget Office.

Posted by eric at 10:26 AM

July 4, 2012

Declare Your Independence, Brooklyn, From Disgraced British Banks

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn

Happy Independence Day!

With this petition, you can declare your own independence from the disgraced manipulators at Barclays Bank, which is slapping its logo all over Brooklyn and on that UFO at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic.

Have a great holiday.

link

Posted by eric at 10:52 AM

The Analysis - "Now, It's Our Turn!"

NetsDaily

Yes, the Nets have re-signed the "superstar" who has led them to a 29-72 record in the 101 games he's been with the franchise. Pop the champagne!

Sometime in the next week or so, the pale blue lettering that spells out "Barclays Center" will be affixed to the weathered-steel facade of the arena that will be the first place the Nets can truly call home in their 45-year history. Inside, the scoreboard will be hoisted up at center court.

At the same time, Billy King and Bobby Marks will be filling out the roster of the team that will play the first game in Brooklyn, scouting the Summer League for low-cost gems, tweaking basketball operations and no doubt catching up on the latest episode of The Dwightmare. They and the business side will start thinking about where to site the franchise's next signature element, a new training facility.

But most of all, there will be time spent celebrating the Nets signing, re-signing or trading for real basketball talent to play at Barclays, practice at that facility. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace have ten visits to the NBA All-Star Game between them. Brook Lopez has not yet been chosen for the classic but his point guard thinks he will soon. There may be complaints about size and shape of the Wallace and Johnson's contracts, but there shouldn't be about their play.

Bottom line, D-Will's signing is about getting noticed, showing off. The Nets arrival in Brooklyn --and return to New York-- is no longer a distant dream. What the team and building are saying is, "Now, it's our turn!"

link

Related coverage...

ProBasketballTalk [NBCSports.com], Williams, bold moves make Nets a fun team… for now

Realists are a bit more sanguine, however...

The Brooklyn Nets are a much better team right now than they were 72 hours ago.

They will walk onto the court at the Barclays Center with an entertaining lineup, a team with offensive firepower, something you couldn’t really say about the squad last seen in New Jersey (they move to Brooklyn this fall). They should be a team on the second tier in the East along with Indy, Boston and the Knicks. They won the battle to keep the face of the franchise in point guard Deron Williams. They should be popping champagne at the Nets headquarters tonight.

But they are not title contenders, not unless guys who have never been good at it suddenly learn to defend and board. And the way this team is built — with massive contracts for some players seeming past their prime — the moves of the last 72 hours will come back to haunt them in a couple years.
...

As you read this, the Nets have $54 million committed to six players (via Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated who did the math). The salary cap is $58 million, and what is more by using the full $5 million mid-level exception on Teletović the Nets have locked themselves in with essentially a hard cap of $74 million they cannot exceed.

Atlantic Yards Report, Huge day for Brooklyn Nets: Williams re-signed after trade for Johnson; Howard remains a possibility; season ticket sales jump

Yesterday was a very big day for the Brooklyn Nets, as they re-signed star guard Deron Williams, a free agent, who would have had to sign for less money with the Dallas Mavericks, but was also inspired to stay by the Nets' bold trade for (overpaid) Atlanta shooting guard Joe Johnson and the re-signing of (overpaid) forward Gerald Wallace, as well as moves for some role players.
...

The Daily News reported:

Barclays Center sold roughly 500 new season tickets on Tuesday, turning in a one-day, seven-figure haul, according to Brett Yormark, the CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment.

NoLandGrab: Now there's a reliable source.

Posted by eric at 10:40 AM

Missing from the AG's settlement with NYC EDC: a mention of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Atlantic Yards

Atlantic Yards Report

There was something curious about an announcement yesterday by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, first reported by the Wall Street Journal in City Agency Admits Illegal Lobby Effort:

New York City's economic-development agency and two related organizations admitted in a settlement Monday that they illegally lobbied the City Council on behalf of projects at the heart of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's redevelopment agenda.

The concessions came after a three-year probe by the state attorney general's office. Investigators found that the Economic Development Corp. worked behind the scenes with the groups—called local development corporations—to nudge lawmakers to support projects in Willets Point in Queens and Coney Island in Brooklyn.

"These local development corporations flouted the law and lobbied elected officials, both directly and through third parties," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

Where's the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership?

But there was no mention of seemingly similar activities by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, which lobbied the city for the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning and the state for approval of Atlantic Yards.
...

I queried the Attorney General's office yesterday about whether the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership had been given a clean bill of health (and, if so, why), or whether an investigation was continuing. I didn't get an answer.

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Posted by eric at 10:35 AM

After 3 Days of Blackouts, Con Edison Promises Infrastructure Upgrades

On-and-off blackout at Bergen Street and Flatbush Avenue were due to overburdened equipment, a spokesman said.

Park Slope Patch
by Amy Sara Clark and Will Yakowicz

Following 72 hours of intermittent power failure for at least 122 businesses and homes near Bergen Street and Flatbush, a Con Edison spokesman said the problem is due to increased “usage in the area.”

The explanation came after two manhole fires over three days caused power disruptions to the subway, nearby apartment buildings, restaurants and even the NYPD's 78th Precinct.

The on-and-off blackouts caused residents and merchants alike to suffer.

“This is ridiculous, I can’t tell you how exhausted I am,” said Eyal Hen, who owns the nearby Fish and Sip and Chickpea. “Three days in a row and we’re losing business, losing thousands and thousands of dollars. I can’t even talk about it anymore.”

For those wondering, the growth in demand is not due to the soon-to-open Barclays Center. “We already have engineered for that, separately from the surrounding community,” said Chris Olert, the electric company's assistant director of media relations.

Sure they have.

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Posted by eric at 10:24 AM

What’s in a Stadium Name? Often Trouble for a Company

DealB%K [NYTimes.com]
by William Alden

It was probably not on the list of warning signs that led regulators to uncover a rate-manipulation scandal at Barclays, but there’s one red flag that nevertheless should not be overlooked: the stadium-naming curse.

The British bank, whose chief executive resigned on Tuesday after the company agreed to pay $450 million to settle accusations that it tried to influence important borrowing rates, seems to have fallen victim to an eerily common phenomenon of the last decade or so. It secured the naming rights to a sports stadium, and then fell on hard times.

The curse has claimed a range of corporations, names like Enron, Adelphia, Trans World Airlines, Conseco, PSINet and, recently, American Airlines.

article

NoLandGrab: More likely it's that the rotting hulk of Atlantic Yards seems to draw sleazeballs and scammers like flies, including Carl Kruger, Richard Lipsky, Jim Stuckey, Bruce Bender and now-ex-Barclays CEO "Diamond" Bob Diamond.

Posted by eric at 10:17 AM

From the latest Construction Alert: Barclays sign being erected; work on perimeter of arena progresses; more noise in neighborhood

Atlantic Yards Report

Beyond the quiet announcement that pile/foundation work would start on the first tower, there are a couple of other notable mentions in the latest two-week Atlantic Yards Construction Alert, dated 7/2/12 (and embedded below) and released today by Empire State Development after preparation by Forest City Ratner.

Among them:

  • the Flatbush Avenue Barclays sign is being erected (it may not be the best time for a Barclays sign)
  • significant sidewalk and plaza work is being done around the arena (and blocking the sidewalk)
  • potentially noisy demolition will continue intermittently on Block 1129, site of the surface parking lot
  • nighttime work on the Atlantic Avenue medians would require jack hammers

article

Posted by eric at 10:09 AM

Forest City Ratner to start pile/foundation work on first tower; DOB "preliminary approval" received, but no permit (which means?)

Atlantic Yards Report

There's some news buried in the latest two-week Atlantic Yards Construction Alert, dated July 2 and issued this morning by Empire State Development after preparation by Forest City Ratner: the developer is starting work on the long-delayed first tower, slated to include 50% subsidized aka "affordable" housing. Forest City has said the tower would be modular construction.

There's some murkiness, however, because it claims that "preliminary approval" has been received by the Department of Buildings, even though no permit has been issued, as confirmed by the DOB pages regarding the site.

The Construction Alert states:

Tower 2 • Work will commence on July 9th on pile and foundation work required for T2 which will need to be in place prior to arena opening. DOB preliminary approval has been received.
Tower 2
• Installation of piles as part of the Tower 2 early work program will take place on Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15th during regular working hours adjacent to the south wall of the arena and Flatbush Avenue.

ESD explanation

I queried Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for Empire State Development. Her response:

“FCRC have been talking with DOB about this work, but a permit still has not been issued. Some of the foundation work must be completed before the arena opens because of the close proximity of B2 to the arena. Other work on B2 will commence before the end of the year.”

Well, it certainly makes sense to get the foundation work started before a whole bunch of people start walking nearby. But if there's no permit, why offer "preliminary approval"?

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Posted by eric at 10:02 AM

Hoteliers hopping on Brooklyn brandwagon

HotelNewsNow.com
by Harvey Chipkin

The “Brooklyn brand,” which has drawn a new generation of the hip and artistic, is now attracting hotels—everything from the just-announced revival of Barry Sternlicht’s “1” brand to a music-oriented hotel being developed by a well-known DJ.
...

Hoteliers also are looking to the imminent debut of the massive Atlantic Yards mixed-use project, which will include the Barclays Center, future home of the NBA’s Nets. The project is scheduled to open in phases starting this fall. The Fulton Street Mall is another major mixed-use project that will draw visitors to the borough.

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Posted by eric at 9:55 AM

Brooklyn Residents Less Than Thrilled About Atlantic Yards Congestion

NY Observer
by Sarah Grothjan

The residents in the neighborhoods bordering Barclays Arena will almost certainly be stuck with congestion and beer-swilling visitors, but at least they may be spared a multi-level nightclub.

The landlord is evicting Kemistry Lounge’s owners for non-payment of rent, putting a halt (if only a temporary one) to their clubbing brainchild, Brownstoner reports. That’s good news for those nearby the lounge’s would-be home at 260 Flatbush Avenue.

The prospect of the nightspot drawing a loud, young intoxicated crowd to an area that is likely to already be highly-trafficked by loud, young and intoxicated people left many in Community Board 6 unenthusiastic about its arrival.

link

Related coverage...

Bronwstoner, Kemistry Lounge’s Future in Question

Posted by eric at 9:39 AM

July 3, 2012

Second manhole fire within a block of Barclays Center site snags traffic, knocks out nearby subway for 80 minutes

Atlantic Yards Report

Actually, the folks building the Barclays Center seem intent on demolishing it themselves. Unless, of course, this is just coincidence.

For the second time in three days, a manhole fire has stopped traffic within a block from the Barclays Center site and drawn emergency personnel from the New York Fire Department on Con Edison. This time the fire stopped the subway for 80 minutes.

On July 1, it was a manhole fire on Flatbush Avenue. Today, shortly before noon, there was a manhole fire at Sixth Avenue and Bergen Street, right near the 78th Precinct.

Sixth Avenue was blocked off between Dean and Bergen, and Bergen was blocked off between Sixth and Flatbush, thus forcing westbound traffic on the latter to turn onto Sixth.

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Video: Raul Rothblatt

Related coverage...

Park Slope Patch, Update: Power Restored to 78th Precinct, Subway, Some Customers After Second Bergen Street Fire

For the third day in a row, residents, businesses and the 2/3/4/5 lines have lost power at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Bergen Street.
...

Con Edison still does not know the reason for the repeated fires but are working to get power back up as soon as possible.

Posted by eric at 3:08 PM

25 Buildings to Demolish Right Now

California Home + Design

When proportion, balance, form and function come together in a delicate harmony, architecture is nothing short of an art form. But when, on occasion, those principles clash, the results can be eye-searingly awful. We asked 15 architects and our own staff to weigh-in on what buildings, given the chance, they'd take a wrecking ball to.

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY

This center, part of the controversial Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights neighborhood, is indicative of what happens when profits and politics trumps good design. The building, built by Forest City Ratner, is a neighborhood killer. The developer used evictions and demolition of historic resources to make room for a disproportionately large development. Sure, upon completion, the Barclays Center is set to play host to the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, but Andre Rothblatt of Andre Rothblatt Architecture, who nominated the building as a building set for demolition, isn't sold.

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Photo: Jim Henderson

Posted by eric at 3:03 PM

Understanding the Barclays Craziness

The Awl
by Choire Sicha

LIBOR what? Barclays who? Do you have no idea what's going on? This helps. Do you want someone to explain what he did in falsely representing the bank? Here you go. Do you wish that a subway stop and a stadium in Brooklyn weren't named for the bank? Do you find it hilarious that the fines the bank paid for LIBOR manipulation are greater than the amount they promised to the Barclays Center? Oh well, nothing you can do, just be grateful it's not called Enron Field.

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NoLandGrab: Sign a petition asking the MTA to cancel the "Atlantic Av.-Barclays Center" naming-rights deal.

Posted by eric at 2:57 PM

Flashback to March 2010: Mike Bloomberg calls Barclays' Bob Diamond "my friend"

Atlantic Yards Report

Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond, who just resigned in the wake of an interest-rate scandal that also took down his board chairman, may be best known in New York for signing a naming-rights deal for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

And at the arena groundbreaking 3/11/10, Mayor Mike Bloomberg cozily saluted both Diamond and developer Bruce Ratner as "my friend."

After first hyping the jobs and tax revenues purportedly created by the project, Bloomberg shifted tone to address fellow moguls: "Now I know that Forest City Ratner and my friend, and my neighbor, Bruce, and Barclays, my friend, Bob Diamond, are going to work together to make sure that many of the jobs generated here are going to go right here, to people that already live in this community."

Actually, Barclays was to have nothing to do with the jobs. And Diamond, as we now know, had other things on his mind.

link

Posted by eric at 2:53 PM

Barclays' Bob Diamond resigns, tainted in scandal; was responsible for arena naming rights deal; will MTA feel chagrin about selling subway station naming rights?

Atlantic Yards Report

Another crooked Atlantic Yards player bites the dust.

The executive responsible for the Barclays Center naming rights deal--rights that New York State gave to developer Forest City Ratner--has resigned in the wake of a scandal. And that puts an asterisk on the first subway station naming rights ever sold by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

From MSNBC:

LONDON - Bob Diamond, the chief executive of Barclays, resigned early Tuesday over the lending rate-rigging scandal that last week saw the bank fined a record amount by U.S. and U.K. regulators.

The move deepens the latest crisis to hit the financial services industry, with observers suggesting investigations into the manipulation of inter-bank lending rates could soon implicate banks in the United States.

Diamond’s resignation comes a day after the company’s chairman Marcus Agius announced his own departure. Despite also being implicated in the issue, Agius will stay on to lead the search for a replacement chief executive, according a statement early Tuesday.

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NoLandGrab: Sign a petition asking the MTA to cancel the "Atlantic Av.-Barclays Center" naming-rights deal.

Posted by eric at 2:17 PM

City Agency Admits Illegal Lobby Effort

The Wall Street Journal
by Michael Howard Saul

Is there anyone or anything associated with the Atlantic Yards project that isn't crooked or corrupt? Anything?

New York City's economic-development agency and two related organizations admitted in a settlement Monday that they illegally lobbied the City Council on behalf of projects at the heart of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's redevelopment agenda.

The concessions came after a three-year probe by the state attorney general's office. Investigators found that the Economic Development Corp. worked behind the scenes with the groups—called local development corporations—to nudge lawmakers to support projects in Willets Point in Queens and Coney Island in Brooklyn.

Let's not forget their knowingly dishonest Atlantic Yards boosterism.

"These local development corporations flouted the law and lobbied elected officials, both directly and through third parties," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
...

The findings seemed to give ammunition to critics of the Bloomberg administration and its economic-development arm, which has been accused of pushing through large-scale projects over community objections.

Where've we seen this phony astroturf act before?

In pushing the Council for zoning and other land-use changes, city officials "took steps to foster the appearance of independent 'grass-roots' support for the projects in the local community," said the agreement signed Monday by the EDC and the other groups.

For example, the agreement said the EDC directed the Queens group to use its fax machine to send a letter drafted by city officials about the Willets Point project to Council members because, in the words of one city official, "we felt this letter coming from our fax machine would have been lobbying."

Other lobbying activities included ghostwriting op-eds and preparing testimony, according to the agreement.

Heads will roll, though, right?

The finding carries no fine or harsher penalty.

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NoLandGrab: Let us be the first to call publicly for EDC President Seth Pinsky to join Barclays' "Diamond" Bob Diamond in tendering his resignation.

Posted by eric at 2:02 PM

From AY Watch: construction vehicles on Sixth Avenue sidewalk force pedestrians into street; no one takes charge to diminish hazardous conditions

Atlantic Yards Report

Those traversing Sixth Avenue at about 3 pm yesterday adjacent to the Barclays Center site had to contend with some hazardous conditions, as documented on Atlantic Yards Watch. There was no passageway on the west side of the street, as a construction fence extends to the sidewalk.

On the east side of the street, a dump truck was parked on the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians walking north, including women pushing baby carriages, into an area of the street set off from traffic by construction cones, then cutting past a parked earth mover. No one directed pedestrians.

Later, as seen in the first video below, some pedestrians were forced outside the cones by parked cars, apparently from construction workers. And, as seen in the second video, some pedestrians walking south along the east side of the street found themselves on a precarious path in between the construction fencing and the traffic.

link

Posted by eric at 1:56 PM

Billy King’s Rather Amazing Overnight Nets Makeover

New York Magazine
by Will Leitch

Yesterday morning, the Nets essentially had four players on their roster. Today, it's a legitimate possibility that they have a Big Three that surpasses the Knicks' and challenges the Heat's. It's been a good 24 hours.

To be clear: King is only one third of the way there. Last night, he traded Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Jordan Williams, Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson, and Houston's 2013 first-round pick — essentially, nothing — to the Atlanta Hawks for Joe Johnson. Now, Johnson is dramatically overpaid, and the Hawks were desperate to get rid of him. But King used roster flotsam to bring in a potential superstar No. 3, or even a No. 2. This move makes less sense if Deron Williams — who met with the team last night — doesn't end up signing, but Williams is known to be a fan of Johnson's game, and the two players are an ideal backcourt team, particularly with Gerald Wallace also in the fold.
...

The general consensus after the Johnson trade was that any hope — or "hope" — of Dwight Howard ever playing for the Nets (the only team he claimed he'd sign an extension with) was now over. And then, this morning. ESPN's Chris Broussard broke the news: The Nets and Magic were back in talks for Howard.

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NoLandGrab: We still contend that Deron Williams is being measured for his Mavericks jersey, and that the Nets are more likely to sign Moe Howard than Dwight Howard.

Related coverage...

Sports Debaters, Broookylnnnnnnnnnnn!

The Nets are reportedly offering Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and their first round picks for 2013, 2015 and 2017. If the trade goes through, the Nets would have traded away their entire roster in a matter of two days, leaving only Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, Dwight Howard and hopefully Deron Williams to build their team around. However, if you look at the blue print the Miami Heat laid out for the NBA world to see, it is clear that this would have a great chance of working. No matter who the Nets filled the roster in with, they would certainly be a playoff team and an automatic contender for the next few years.

Why would this scenario work great for Brooklyn? First of all, there would be energy and life in the Barclays Center each and every night to welcome the Nets to Brooklyn.

The Hoop Doctors, NBA Trade Rumors: In Defense of Joe Johnson and the Nets

Johnson—who is owed close to $90 million over the four years—is wildly overpriced. And he’s not Dwight Howard, nor is Gerald Wallace, whom the Nets recently re-signed to a four-year, $40 million deal. But this deal isn’t shortsighted, unwarranted or even illogical. It makes perfect sense.

Though Johnson’s salary all but eclipses any hopes the Nets had of obtaining Howard, it gives them yet another star-caliber player to bring into Barclays Center as their own.

NetsDaily, Joe Johnson Trade Analysis 101

In the last 48 hours, Billy King has committed $129.3 million of Mikhail Prokhorov's fortune to two contracts. At the rate Forbes reports he's going, it will take the Russian billionaire till the end of the week to make it up.

SBNation, Deron Williams Free Agency Rumors: Mavericks Resigned To Losing Williams?

Deron Williams met with both the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks on Monday, and from the reports coming out of those meetings it seems like the Mavericks are resigned to Williams choosing to stay in Brooklyn as the Nets open the Barclays Center.

NetsAreScorching, Joe Johnson and exorcising demons

It’s been hard being a Nets fan for these past few years.

We wouldn't know.

Ever since Jason Kidd forced his way out of New Jersey via trade in 2008 — and really, earlier — the Nets have been, to put it bluntly, a league-wide joke. Each year, they’ve forced their way into conversations for superstars on the promise of tomorrow, that Brooklyn would come and the Barclays Center will be packed and everyone will think you’re just the swellest thing that ever came over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Except for four years, that pitch didn’t work.

Posted by eric at 12:57 PM

Planned Kemistry Lounge hits big hurdle: landlord seeks eviction and judgment

Atlantic Yards Report

Well, maybe the second information passed on ten days ago by the North Flatbush BID wasn't too far off: despite statements then by principals in the planned Kemistry Lounge on Flatbush Avenue near Prospect Place that the establishment was moving ahead, it's just hit a significant roadblock.

According to legal papers affixed to the exterior of the building, the landlord, 260 Flatbush Avenue Realty, has gone to court to evict the Kemistry Entertainment Group for nonpayment of rent (of the to-be-renovated space), requesting $66,078.81, with interest from June 1, 2012.

I queried Kemistry last night but haven't heard back; I will update this when I learn more.

The planned lounge has been quite controversial because its principals planned bottle service, which has been associated with rowdy behavior and is usually not offered in residential districts. Kemistry's main entrance would be on busy Flatbush Avenue, albeit quite close to a day care center, and have a back exit on residential Prospect Place. It has not yet applied for a liquor license, after failing to gain support of Community Board 6.

link

Posted by eric at 12:44 PM

July 2, 2012

City Planners Set July 3 Deadline for Barclays Center Traffic Plan Feedback

Live Near Atlantic Yards? The public has until Tuesday, July 3 to submit comments on Forest City Ratner's plan to manage traffic once the area opens in September.

Park Slope Patch
by Amy Sara Clark

Love it or hate it, if you've got something to say on Forest City Ratner's plan to control traffic around Atlantic Yards once the Barclays Center opens in the fall, you've got until tomorrow to have your say.

The deadline for submitting comments is Tuesday, July 3 at 6 p.m.

The main gist of the plan is that the developer and the MTA will encourage people to take the train instead of driving by adding extra trains and through public education about the joys of public transit.
...

But critics say the plan's of parking surcharges and residential parking permits mean there's no "real disincentives" to convince people to leave their cars at home.

You can read the full Barclays Traffic Management Plan and a Q & A on it and send your comments to AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3.

link

Posted by eric at 10:33 PM

Brooklyn Netskis...

@powellnyt via Twitter

link

Posted by eric at 1:10 PM

Pending questions regarding the Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management plan (deadline tomorrow night): residential permit parking; lessons from Chicago and L.A.; Carlton Avenue Bridge timing; who pays for transit service?

Atlantic Yards Report

According to Empire State Development, the public has until July 3, 2012 (midnight) to submit comments and questions on the draft Barclays Center Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan to AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov.

ESD will coordinate with other agencies to compile responses to all questions and will post the final TDM Plan along with responses to all questions by the beginning of August. A preliminary Q&A (below) was posted last week.

WNYC has coverage this morning, focusing on the lack of residential parking permits.

I suspect various individuals and organizations will post questions; here are some from me.

article

Posted by eric at 11:40 AM

How about that: the first Community Benefits Agreement, the purported model for Brooklyn, contained a residential permit parking program

Atlantic Yards Report

The pioneering Staples Center Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) has long been portrayed as an inspiration for the Atlantic Yards CBA, as shown in the article at right from the short-lived 2005 Brooklyn Standard promotional "publication."

However, the CBA in Brooklyn was signed only by allies of the project, as opposed to a broader coalition in Los Angeles, as has long been pointed out.

Where's parking?

And, as I wrote in June 2011, the Staples CBA concerned several issues ignored in the Brooklyn document, including a residential permit parking program.

Given the concern about the latter in evaluating the Atlantic Yards Transportation Demand Management plan, its worth a look at what was promised to Los Angelenos: developer support for the enactment of RPP, and funding--up to $25,000 a year for five years--to defray the costs.

The CBA also touched on issues of traffic and security, though not in such detail. But it's still notable that "community protection" was not considered antagonistic to "community benefits." In Brooklyn, those certainly can seem in tension.

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Posted by eric at 11:34 AM

As Deron Williams meeting looms, Nets look to strike on multiple fronts

CBSSports.com
by Ken Berger

Sunday was Canada Day, and Steve Nash recognized the occasion by meeting with the Raptors and Knicks in New York to discuss possible free-agent deals.

Monday could be Brooklyn Day, with the Nets celebrating by courting their own free-agent point guard, Deron Williams, as well as Nash -- not to mention going deep into discussions with the Atlanta Hawks about a trade that would pair Joe Johnson with Williams in an All-Star Brooklyn backcourt.

Actually, Brooklyn Day was three weeks ago, and the Nets didn't accomplish anything then either, save blowing hot air.

Williams will meet with the Nets and Dallas Mavericks Monday, and D-Will's resulting decision will be the domino that sends NBA free agency tumbling. The Brooklyn franchise has numerous other balls in the air, none bigger than a possible deal that would bring Johnson and the $90 million left on his contract over the next four years to help christen the Barclays Center next season.
...

As far as the Nets are concerned, the question isn't so much where are they getting all this money; it's where are they getting all this cap space to court two Hall of Fame point guards (three, if you buy into Williams' future Hall of Fame credentials), pay the soon-to-be 30-year-old Wallace $40 million, retain Lopez and fill out the roster with other free agents -- not to mention absorb the 31-year-old Johnson's contract, the richest in the sport.

article

Related coverage...

New York Magazine, The Nets Now Have Seven Players on Their Team (Sorta)

One of the more amusing aspects of the Brooklyn Nets' public relations push leading up to the opening of the Barclays Center in late September is the fact that they are essentially selling nothing right now. Before last night's NBA Draft, the Nets had exactly four players under contract for the 2012-13 season. When you see that black-and-white shield with the "B" on it, when you see the television advertisements, when you walk past the Atlantic Yards and see how close they are to getting that thing finished, know that it all is essentially, at this point, for Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, Marshon Brooks and Jordan Williams. Get excited!

SBNation, Dwight Howard, Mikhail Prokhorov's Nets And The End Of All Logic

Howard could be receiving the adulation that comes with being New York's newest star right now. Instead, the Nets are apparently moving on to ensure they can keep Williams and field a team in October; suffice it to say that if Brooklyn retains Williams and picks up Joe Johnson in a trade, there's no fitting Howard in there. At this rate, by the time Howard does actually become a free agent, the Nets won't have any cap space or tradeable assets with which to acquire him. The window was 2012 free agency. Howard blew it.

This is all surely very infuriating to the Magic, but imagine how the Nets must feel. They're hearing again that Howard wants to join -- but knowing full well that they have nothing to offer in a trade and knowing they can't reserve cap space by tanking out their debut season in Brooklyn.

BrooklynFans.com, BROOKLYN NETS’ BIGGEST WEEK EVER … WHAT TO EXPECT, AND WHEN

Weeks ago it felt like doomsday in Brooklyn when the Nets lost out in the lottery. The feeling was D-Will might leave, and the rest of the roster would then jump ship … leaving the Nets to scramble and overpay for a ragtag group of castoffs for their inaugural season. Blech. Now things are looking up for the new Brooklyn Nets fan base.

Could everything fall apart? Absolutely.

Meadowlands Matters [NorthJersey.com], Devils avert the unthinkable; Nets’ fate still a high-wire act

While the Nets say sales of tickets and suites for the teams’ inaugural season at Barclays Center starting this fall have been brisk, there’s little doubt that a pent-up demand remains on the sidelines awaiting word on the potential return of All-Star Deron Williams and possible arrival of All-Star Dwight Howard.

The Devils, coming off such a stirring playoff result, can market their franchise just fine now that [Martin] Brodeur is back. But the Nets have no such goodwill as they move out of Jersey.

Also, basketball is far more defined by just a couple of players. A Nets team with Williams and Howard can be a title contender. A Nets team without either seems doomed – maybe for several years.

Posted by eric at 11:20 AM

Parking Woes Still Dog New Brooklyn Arena

WNYC/Transportation Nation
by Janet Babbin

Residents concerned about traffic and congestion around the new soon-to-be-opened Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn have until Tuesday, July 3, to submit written comments to Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the project.

“These streets will just be absolutely clogged with on street parking, and the [transportation plan] doesn’t address that,” Gib Veconi said. He is with the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development council and complained there will be a lack of on-street parking for the thousands who will drive to shows at the arena after it opens this fall.

According to surveys conducted by the project’s developer, Forest City Ratner, about 2,500 carloads are expected to drive to each Barclays Arena event — and there are 220 events so far scheduled at the arena during its first year in operation.

Empire State Development extended the comment period to give residents more time to respond. ESD said it’s confident that the neighborhood will be able to absorb the influx of visitors because many will take public transportation to the Prospect Heights facility.

article

NoLandGrab: As, more or less confident than they were about the whole project being built in 10 years?

Posted by eric at 10:41 AM

July 1, 2012

Manhole fire on Flatbush stalls traffic on major artery (and knocks out power to 98 homes/businesses); similar snag could cause huge problems on days when arena hosts events

Atlantic Yards Report

A manhole fire on Flatbush Avenue about a block south of the Barclays Center site has stopped traffic for hours, according to eyewitness reports, and prompted response by city firefighters and Con Edison

While the incident at on the south side of Flatbush between Dean and Bergen streets has no relationship to arena construction, it does suggests potential traffic chaos should such a problem occur on an event day--or even a work day.

Patch reported that 98 households and business lost power after the underground electrical fire, which was reported at 5:13 pm and controlled in an hour. No injuries have been reported. Various buildings were checked for damage, and business operators presumably lost significant access to customers.

link

Posted by steve at 7:52 PM

The demise of the (structurally unsound) 1866 Church of the Redeemer near the arena and the mitigation plan (for shadows only) not implemented

Atlantic Yards Report

As reported by Brownstoner and the Brooklyn Paper, the Church of the Redeemer, a non-landmarked 1866 Gothic Revival church at the northwest corner of Pacific Street and Fourth Avenue, is structurally unsound and will be demolished.

It will be replaced by a much larger building, up to 120 feet, and is expected to include a church. Commenters wonder whether it will be an improvement on some of the undistinguished residential buildings just down the block.

...

Under the plan for Atlantic Yards, the project sponsors were supposed to help mitigate one set of impacts on the church--shadows--by fixing the windows.

But that plan, never implemented because the nearby building has not been built, would not have addressed the fundamental problems faced by a building, as a Brownstoner commenter suggested, with a crumbling foundation, the result of construction completed long before the adjacent subway was built.

link

Posted by steve at 7:49 PM