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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming + FAQ (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in February 2018, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed--but not yet approved--shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won…

My free Jane's Walk on Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park/Barclays Center: Friday, May 4, 5:30 pm

The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) is again sponsoring Jane's Walk in New York City May 4-6, part of "a global festival of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by urban activist Jane Jacobs."

Numerous tours are available over those three days, with no reservations required--just show up. And on Friday, May 4, at 5:30 pm, I'll be offering my now-annual tour of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Brooklyn/Barclays Center:
Explore Brooklyn’s Most Contested Real Estate Project  See what’s been built (arena plus 4 of 15 towers) and what’s coming within Atlantic Yards (in 2014 renamed Pacific Park Brooklyn), and learn the project’s tangled history, shifting timetable, changing ownership, and ongoing question marks. The tour should last about 1.75 hours, depending on how many people show up and how fast we move.

Meeting point, ending point

We meet outside the Barclays Center--many subway lines available--on the arena plaza, under the oculus (opening to the sky), next to…

Report: construction costs keep rising in New York City

On 4/16/18, Crain's New York Business reminded us that Sky-high construction costs rose again in 2017, though the 3.29% increase between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018 was actually less than that in the country as a whole, according to a report from thjje consultant Rider Levett Bucknall,

Still, New York City remains world's most expensive place to build, which affects not just market-rate construction but all construction--hence the need for subsidies and also not-so-affordable below-market housing.

The graphic below, from the report, cites hard construction costs--so, omitting things like design and legal--based on dollars per square foot of gross floor area.

Note that, in New York City, building below-ground parking ($125-$200/square foot) can be quite expensive, as is building office space ($375-$575/sf prime, $300-$400/sf secondary). Apartment construction ranges from $200-$375/sf.

No wonder developers of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park wanted to reduce the amount of parking.

From City & State NY: "No, Mikhail Prokhorov doesn't 'own' the Barclays Center"

I have an op-ed at City & State NY, headlined No, Mikhail Prokhorov doesn't 'own' the Barclays Center, which begins:
The recent sale by Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov of 49 percent of the team to Taiwanese-Canadian businessman Joseph Tsai was announced by the Nets as not affecting the team’s arena, the “Barclays Center, which will continue to be wholly owned by (Prokhorov's) Onexim Sports and Entertainment.”
The shorthand dates back at least to 2012, when the arena’s developer Bruce Ratner was regularly dubbed the building’s majority owner, such as in a press release from the Barclays Center he controlled, or in a 2015 press release from Ratner’s parent company.
...The claim that the arena is privately owned matters because it obscures the difference between the arena and a related entity – the arena operating company – and conceals how public policies were designed to save wealthy businessmen Ratner and now Prokhorov tens of millions of dollars. For the exp…

Marty Markowitz on the Barclays Center, Atlantic Yards, and Brooklyn: "I still would always hope" jobs & housing would go to neediest

Recently, at a 2/22/18 Brooklyn Historical Society event featuring the most recent three Brooklyn Borough Presidents, I got to hear former BP Marty Markowitz's reflections and shtick--and, intriguingly, hear his typical enthusiasm for the Barclays Center and Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park get met with general indifference, perhaps indicating ambivalence. More on that below.

So that sent me back to some other public appearances and interviews with Markowitz, who, not surprisingly, has steadily praised the project.

Tellingly, though, when pressed in late 2016 by a prepared interviewer, Tony Guida, on a 2005 statement that "The jobs and housing for this project will go to those who need it the most," Markowitz responded, deflectingly, "I still would always hope that it would go to those."

Of course, that's not what's happened, given the widely publicized struggles of affordable housing aimed at middle-class households or the demise of the much-anticipated tra…

Film dramatization of Kelo eminent domain case, Little Pink House, opening on Friday

The long-gestating film Little Pink House, dramatizing the 2005 Kelo v. New London Supreme Court decision that galvanized opinion nationally regarding eminent domain--and unsettled eminent domain defenders--is screening Friday April 20 through Thursday, April 26 in Manhattan.

It's playing at the Village East Cinemas in the East Village and AMC Empire 25 in Times Square. At the Village East, director Courtney Balaker and real-life protagonist Susette Kelo (played by Catherine Keener in the film) will be doing a Q&A after the 7 pm screening on Friday April 20. (Here's one early--and mixed--review. Here's columnist Jeff Jacoby's supportive take, noting that the project for which Kelo's house was taken never panned out.)

The film is getting a boost from the libertarian Institute for Justice (IJ), which supplied lawyers for and drove publicity in the case, which, while a loss of Kelo and neighbors, spurred many but not all states to tighten eminent domain laws. Here…

Next Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting May 8: what about the escalators on the arena plaza?

The next opportunity for updates on Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, and to ask questions of the developer and the state, is the bi-monthly Quality of Life Meeting, sponsored Empire State Development (ESD) and scheduled for Tuesday, May 8 at 6 pm:
Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building
55 Hanson Place
1st Floor Conference Room Interested parties can send project-related questions, concerns, or suggested agenda items for the meeting to

There's no vertical construction ongoing or immediately planned. Here are a couple of issues I think we may hear about, beyond the requisite update on ongoing infrastructure, including the Vanderbilt Yard and, perhaps, temporary open space: progress on ensuring that the oculus on the Barclays Center plaza doesn't go off overnight.the condition of the escalator at the arena plazaHow about those escalators?
Regarding the latter, a resident recently alerted me with concerns the escalators emerging at the arena plaza, from the A…

More than ten years later, a judge's decision recognizing developer's commitment to community use of the arena looks unwise

The recent Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) championship games at the Barclays Center, the second such school tournament in the arena's 5.5-year history, sent me back to the promises that the arena would be more of a community arena, given promises in the 2005 Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) signed by project developer Forest City Ratner to make it available at least ten times a year to community groups, at modest cost.

(An ownership group led by Forest City owned 55% of the arena operating company until 2016, when minority owner Mikhail Prokhorov bought the rest. The arena itself is owned nominally by the state to enable tax-exempt financing and exemption from property taxes.)

And that sent me back to the January 2008 decision, by state Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden, in the case challenging the project's environmental review. Denying the community challenge, she wrote:
Petitioners argue that the sports arena portion of the Project does not fall within this statuto…