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|A model shown to potential immigrant investors in China in 2014,|
though not shown publicly in Brooklyn.
This watchdog blog, by journalist Norman Oder, offers analysis, commentary, and reportage about the $4.9 billion project to build the Barclays Center arena and 16 high-rise buildings at a crucial site in Brooklyn. Dubbed Atlantic Yards by developer Forest City Ratner in 2003, it was rebranded Pacific Park in 2014 after the Chinese government-owned Greenland Group bought a 70% stake in 15 towers. New York State still calls it Atlantic Yards. Contact: AtlanticYardsReport[at]hotmail.com
|A model shown to potential immigrant investors in China in 2014,|
though not shown publicly in Brooklyn.
|From Pacific Park Brooklyn web site|
|From slide presentation|
“Going forward I’m most interested in seeing how well the open space at Atlantic Yards can integrate with the rest of the community,” said Gib Veconi, a member of the activist group BrooklynSpeaks, which works to keep Forest City accountable to neighbors. “The vision is a nice vision, and hopefully it will be fulfilled in a way that the project originally intended, which was to integrate and link with the surrounding neighborhoods.”Hold on--the original intention?
On face value, the amount of open space is respectable. It constitutes almost a third of the project's 22-acre site. But because the towers would have so many residents -- with a projected 15,000 to 18,000 residents, it would become the densest census tract in the country -- the area within a half-mile radius would actually end up with a lower ratio of public space per resident that it has now, .28 acres per 1,000 residents. The percentage of active recreational space would drop to .15 acres. The already fully booked sports fields in Prospect Park and elsewhere in the area would not be able to absorb the overload.Also, even the limited amount of open space is diminished by the loss of streets. As architect Jonathan Cohn pointed out in 2005, the open space goal is:
Compare that to Battery Park City, which also has about a third of its 92 acres of residential and commercial development set aside as parks and fields. When completely built, it will have about 14,000 residents, so the ratio of parkland per 1,000 residents meets the city's goal of 2.5.
At Battery Park City, much of the parkland was put in before construction of the buildings.
relative to the city's existing pattern of streets and blocks, where the streets provide additional open space that is not counted in the ratio. If we didn't have streets, the requirement for open space would be much greater, so we can't count the street area when comparing the amount of open space required by a project to the city standard that assumes 70' wide streets every 200 feet.Instead, the developers subtracted three acres of streets to make the open space, leading to a net gain of 5 acres (4 when Cohn was writing), despite the addition of some 14,000 people.
|Thomas Balsley, via ArchPaper|
|From Forest City Ratner flier, 2004|
|From Forest City Ratner flier, 2004|
Pacific Park, the namesake park of real estate giant Forest City Ratner's enormous Prospect Heights mega-development....finally unveiled a masterplan and renderings of the 8-acre park...Explaining the project
The long, meandering park... The first phase of the park...But the park is much more than just a backyard for the residents of new luxury towers, Balsley said.
“Everyone agreed that we wanted this to look just like a normal accessible park that you would see elsewhere in the city,” he told the News
It's unclear how many current Coliseum employees will return to work at the arena when it reopens in December 2016.By contrast, consider the promise by Bruce Ratner at the Nassau County Legislature hearing 9/23/13 (transcript):
Forest City Ratner Cos. spokesman Barry Baum said the company will evaluate staffing needs once it takes over the building and "at the appropriate time" will reach out to union leaders to discuss the hiring process.
I have said that we wanted to hire locally , but the number one is to hire the existing people that are there. We do not want people to be out of jobs. I know we all agree with that but I just wanted to clarify that .
The lush greenery will absorb rainwater, and therefore put less stress on the sewer system. Then, there's the acoustic component, as the roof will absorb sound that is outside the building and muffle sounds inside the center.Somehow missing is the fact Barclays Center has regularly leaked bass into the surrounding neighborhoods like a giant neighborhood sub-woofer, leading to a fine. Or that the green roof promised in the early days was to be accessible to the public.
...And another thing that will be fascinating to watch is how all of this will actually change to reflect the seasons.
|The school, once planned for B5, is now planned for B15|
|Three (now-empty) houses will be demolished for the school|
1/ The crisis of D13 middle school quality is in the here and nowNote that they're not arguing that District 13 itself lacks middle school seats, just "quality" ones, and (presumably) near Prospect Heights, where parents have been advocating for seats. It's a legitimate policy argument.
2/ one building can not address capacity needs of all DoBro & AY/PP
3/ Key ? from @PS9BklynPTO, 11, 20 fams: "where do we go for middle?
4/ if we just add elem capacity we only make middle school prob worse
5/ new @psms282 review hits key points http://insideschools.org/component/schools/school/602 …
6/ ... Solid elems like 282 must pull from across Bk to fill seats
7/ ... While D13 middles "struggle... to find academic footing"
8/ w notable exceptions solid d13 elems must fill seats w out-of dist
9/ in lg part because d13 parents fear lack of middle school choices
10/ so question is where are the quality d13 middle school seats?
Although the site plan does not indicate the projected growth of intermediate school population, the 2014 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Pacific Park project discloses that the project “would result in a significant adverse impact to intermediate schools.” Please note that the data for two of the three intermediate schools presented in the 2014 FEIS presents a potentially misleading picture of middle school seats actually available to area students. I.S. 571 was closed in 2013. I.S. 340, despite being located within the confines of District 13, is a District 17 middle school, which does not provide seats to District 13 middle school students. Thus, the FEIS overstates intermediate school capacity in Sub-District 1 of District 13 by at least 550 seats.(Emphasis in original)
....Moreover, we believe there is a least as much capacity to accommodate the new elementary school students that might otherwise be accommodated within the proposed B15 site instead within at schools such as – especially - PS 9, along with PS 282, PS 133, PS 20, and PS 11, especially when consideration is made to the significant percentage of out-of-district 13 students some of these schools presently serve. Crucially we believe PS 9, just one block away, should be the zoned school for new residents in the Atlantic Yards / Pacific Park, and all of the western portion of Prospect Heights between Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue.
On May 15, 2015, the New York City School Construction Authority [SCA] issued a notice for the development of a 616-seat primary and intermediate school to be housed in building B15 at the Atlantic Yards site. The building is slated to begin construction in July of 2016.According to the full PHNDC comments (also bottom), the primary schools near Atlantic Yards "have seen dramatic improvement" but parents have few options, with few open seats in "[h]igh-performing middle schools... configured for grades K-8."
Citing the longstanding need for a middle school to serve students from Prospect Heights and its environs, in comments to the notice submitted to the SCA today, PHNDC called for the proposed facility to instead be a dedicated middle school for District 13 students. "The SCA and DOE should issue direction that the developer design the facility as a dedicated middle school as soon as possible so to take advantage of these opportunities without risking its projected September 2018 opening," wrote PHNDC Chair Gib Veconi. In separate comments submitted to SCA, Community Education Council 13 and Community Board 8 also called for the facility to be dedicated as a middle school.
PHNDC further noted the challenges of siting a school close to an arena, a police station, and a fire house. Mr. Veconi wrote, "Therefore, it will be incumbent upon City agencies—including DOE, DOT, NYPD, and the Office of Film, Theater and Broadcast—to coordinate efforts that ensure the safety of students entering and leaving the school is maintained, and disruptions to the neighboring residents are minimized. The SCA and the DOE must explain how that coordination will be accomplished, and what protocols will be established, before plans for the school are approved."
Finally, PHNDC called on the SCA and Department of Education to commit to a public review process for the school's design that will include community input.
|June 30 photo of Sixth Avenue north of Dean Street|
1. FCRC shall provide 24 parking spaces on the Project site for police vehicles assigned to the 78th Precinct House. Such parking shall be provided without charge and at a location that is proximate and convenient to the Precinct House. FCRC shall have the right to modify the location of such spaces from time to time in order to address construction logistics and operational matters, provided that the location remains proximate and convenient to the Precinct House.The first sentence seems unambiguous. The spaces must be on the project site. The second sentence notes that they can be moved, as long as the location is close to the Precinct House. That doesn't say they must remain on the project footprint, and the mall is arguably convenient to the Precinct House--at least as convenient as the farthest reaches of the project site (though not much of the project site).
BROOKLYN (July 1, 2015) – Barclays Center has launched an Employee Referral Program for its 1,900 arena employees to promote season ticket sales for the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders.Um, given that nearly all those employees are part-time, without benefits, and with a never-to-be revealed weekly take-home pay, they're not likely living next door to many people who have the extra cash to buy a season ticket.
With 80 percent of its employees residing in Brooklyn, Barclays Center is encouraging staffers to serve as sales representatives in their communities by providing referrals for potential ticket buyers for the borough’s two major professional sports teams.
Employees who make a successful referral will be rewarded with cash rewards, and will be entered into a raffle to win larger prizes including a season ticket package and a cruise. Brett Yormark, CEO of Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets, tipped off the initiative yesterday at Barclays Center with a rally for the employees on the Barclays Center Practice Court.
“Most of our employees are proud Brooklynites who strongly support our teams,” said Yormark. “This program vests them in the arena’s success.”
The Employee Referral Program comes on the heels of the Brooklyn Nets Neighborhood Day last Wednesday when more than 100 [mostly full-time, surely] Nets front office employees took to the streets to launch the team’s sales and marketing campaign.
Before the Islanders’ full season schedule was announced last week, Brett Yormark, CEO of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and of Barclays Center, said more than 8,000 Islanders full-season-ticket plans had been sold: 25% from Long Island, 21% from Manhattan and, somewhat surprisingly, 33% from Brooklyn.The Islanders have a good team, and can build in a new--or at least expanded market. The average ticket price will be $85--that's $35 (or 70%) more than at the Nassau Coliseum but, according to Yormark, about the league average. Still, it's quite a leap.
Yormark has had to address Barclays Center’s shortcomings. The arena was built to hug a 94-foot-long basketball court, so the 200-foot hockey rink had to be nestled into one end of the arena, prompting the removal of most of four sections of seats at that end.
Additionally, after the Islanders played two preseason games there in each of the last two seasons, several of what Yormark called “horribly obstructed seats” above that end won’t be sold, reducing seating capacity to 15,795, about 2,000 fewer than at Nets games.
Last year, when the Islanders were scheduled to play the Devils in a preseason game at Barclays, the seating chart for the game showed that most seats on the west end of the arena wouldn’t be sold, thus giving the hockey seating bowl a sort of horseshoe shape. (That game was never played because of the NHL lockout.) And when the Islanders announced plans to move into Barclays last year, they said the arena’s hockey capacity was at 14,500 but could possibly be bumped up to 15,000 or "15,000 plus." The official hockey capacity is now 15,813. But no major renovations took place; the arena simply decided to sell the obstructed-view seats. It’s not false advertising — the seats are labeled as “limited view,” and they’re less expensive than they’d otherwise be — but the arena doesn’t exactly broadcast the fact that the west end of the arena is far from ideal for hockey. (A Barclays Center spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a question about the decision to sell these seats or a request for a chart of the 416 seats in the hockey configuration that Yormark said last week wouldn't be offered for sale because of sightline issues.)
Forest City Ratner Cos. has created a new position to head up the firm’s modular-housing division, the company announced Monday, meaning that it plans to keep its Brooklyn Navy Yard factory running after the completion of a 32-story tower next to Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn.Of course they can't make back their investment in the factory, as well as the expected loss on the first tower, B2 (aka 461 Dean Street), without more production. I've speculated that Forest City will seek/get some grant or support from government to build modular affordable housing.
The firm tapped Susan Hayes, formerly an executive at a Manhattan construction firm, to lead the subsidiary, known as FC Modular, which currently runs a production facility in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
“Modular construction is an important part of the future for our industry, and Susan will bring tremendous value as we seek new business partners and source new business opportunities going forward,” MaryAnne Gilmartin, chief executive of Forest City and one of Crain's 50 Most Powerful Women in New York, said in a statement.
“While our initial focus is the successful completion of [B2 BKLYN], this modern means of construction offers great promise in the creation of a wide range of high-quality, cost-effective and uniquely sustainable buildings,” Ms. Hayes said in a statement.It's not clear whether this is a new position in function or name. Surely other personnel have acted as Forest City's point people for modular.
The firm was constructing the tower with a U.S. arm of Swedish construction giant Skanska until last fall, when the two had an acrimonious and litigious split prompted by delays and budget overruns on the building, which was originally billed as costing $116 million and was set to open in late 2014.That's not quite the full story. The issue is not merely delays and budget overruns, but Skanska's claims of design flaws.