Skip to main content

Posts

EB-5 round-up: Trump and Cuomo contributors; the Kushner connect; Staten Island project shaky

EB-5 money is sluicing all around us. And it so often seems sketchy.

USA Today reported, 7/18/17, The developer of a 'China City' in rural New York emerges as a major Trump donor:
WASHINGTON — Sherry Li, a Long Island businesswoman who once proposed a sprawling Chinese Disneyland in the Catskill Mountains, is far from a prominent figure in national politics.
But she and a business associate have just emerged as some of the year’s biggest financial backers of President Trump’s political operation. Late last month, Li and Lianbo Wang, described in federal election filings as her corporate board member, donated a combined $600,000 to Trump Victory, the fundraising committee the president established with the Republican National Committee to attract high-dollar contributors.
Li is now pursuing the development of a higher-education center on the property she controls in rural New York. Her business plans could intersect with the policies of the new Trump administration on everything …

The 2017-18 Nets: "Effort Means Everything" and "We Go Hard"

In 2013, Nets/arena CEO Brett Yormark famously said, "Nothing but a championship is going to be accepted." (That was right about the time Jay-Z was selling his fractional share in the team.)

Yormark soon modulated that to, "We're on a championship journey." They didn't get very far.

Now, as the screenshot below (from the Nets web site) suggests, featuring new Net D'Angelo Russell, "Effort Means Everything," a signal that the Nets are modulating expectations regarding their rebuilding process, which, though finally quite savvy, won't bear fruit for a while.


But "We Go Hard." And that, of course, recalls a lyric from Jay-Z himself, when he claimed, "Now when I bring the Nets, I'm the black Branch Rickey." Oh sure.

Is B12 (condos) ahead of B15 (market-rate rentals, plus school)?

I'm just reading the tea leaves here, but a look at New York State's database of corporations suggests that plans for 615 Dean Street, aka B12, are further ahead than plans for 664 Pacific Street, aka B15, though both buildings have been announced--with renderings--and then delayed.

B12 is supposed to be a condo building, while B15 would contain market-rate rentals, plus a school. Both have 421-a benefits grandfathered in, but the developer could reconfigure the building to use the revised benefits.

The evidence is below. A search on "Pacific Park" turned up four limited liability corporations (LLCs) associated with specific parcels, including the now-constructed 550 Vanderbilt and 535 Carlton, and the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue.

The only other construction site with an LLC is 615 Dean. (Note that 461 Dean, aka B2, was built not by the joint venture behind Pacific Park, Greenland Forest City Partners, but by Forest City itself.)

Neighbors still confounded by (partly) giant fence used to block (for now) nonexistent noise, dust

The July 18 bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, held at 55 Hanson Place, also aired updates about the murky status of future construction.

The giant green fence on Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, which encroaches significantly on the travel lane, bunching bikes and vehicles together and further constrained by illegal but unticketed parking, was again a topic for criticism.

As Prospect Heights resident Gib Veconi pointed out, the 16-foot-high fence, twice the height of typical fences and moved into the street to accommodate bracing, were required as mitigations for construction impacts, notably dust and noise.

But there's no construction going on, he said, echoing critiques made by the Dean Street Block Association. "It's not a mitigation, and it really ought to be moved," he said. "It was never anticipated that residents of that area would have to live with an arbitrary street impediment like that without constructi…

Greenland Forest City: mum on new construction; full market-rate building now unlikely; three sites no longer being marketed

Last night's bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, held at 55 Hanson Place, also aired concerns about the giant green fence and other issues, which I'll cover separately.
Maybe it's the calm before the construction storm. Surely changes in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park are percolating.
But ever since Forest City Realty Trust, the junior partner in Pacific Park, last November announced that market conditions put development on hold, there hasn't been much positive news.

Last night, a representative of the joint venture Greenland Forest City Partners (GFCP) had exactly zero information about any upcoming construction starts, despite announced--but paused--plans for two towers, 664 Pacific (B15) and 615 Dean (B12).
Not only that, Forest City New York's Ashley Cotton expressed doubt that any market-rate building could be built, given the current state of the 421-a tax break, and essentially acknowledged that the joint venture had given up on its…

Greenland Forest City, facing slow condo sales, replaces broker, says it won't cut prices

The Real Deal, in Greenland Forest City swaps Corcoran for Nest Seekers at 550 Vanderbilt, reported yesterday:
After selling only a handful of apartments over the past few months, Greenland Forest City Partners is switching up the marketing team at 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, the first condominium at the Pacific Park megadevelopment in Brooklyn.
The developers have replaced Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group with Nest Seekers International’s Ryan Serhant, they said Tuesday. The 278-unit building — which launched in 2015 — is 65 percent sold.
“We were interested in making a change and trying something new and fresh,” said Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin, who called the split with Corcoran “amicable.”  Note that Corcoran was not quoted regarding that amicability. I hold no brief for Corcoran, but the building is not exactly an easy sell, given the lack of actual open space--despite the hype. 
And Gilmartin said they wouldn't cut prices, because 550 Vanderbilt wasn’t your “standa…

The rats are back in Prospect Heights; the city takes steps to address the rat problem (focusing elsewhere)

The rats are back, in Prospect Heights and in a lot of places around the city, stirred up by construction, attracted by garbage, and resistant to all but the most careful measures.

As the Brooklyn Reader reported 6/22/17, Prospect Heights Residents Complain of Rat Infestation, residents on Dean Street between Sixth and Carlton avenues cited multiple construction projects (including Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park) and inadequate street cleaning.

The city Department of Health said it was "intensifying our efforts in this zone" and observed that property owners--with guidance from the DOH's Rodent Academy--were responsible for their property.

Two blocks away, at St. Marks Avenue between Flatbush and Vanderbilt avenues, longtime resident (and Atlantic Yards foe) Patti Hagan told me "it's just gotten worse and worse every time they dig up the streets and sidewalks for infrastructure." She noted that construction workers leave food trash and that some restaurants…

A softening Brooklyn office market, at least farther from Manhattan

The business cycles continue. In Brooklyn office bust?, subtitled "Eager developers may have gotten ahead of themselves with projects in far-flung nabes," the Real Deal suggests that demand does not meet supply:
Indeed, the numbers show that developers thought demand for hip offices would take off: There are 23 office projects underway in Brooklyn, which will add roughly 6.9 million square feet to the market by 2020, according to Cushman & Wakefield. The amount of new supply accounts for roughly 20 percent of Brooklyn’s 45 million-square-foot market, whereas in Manhattan, new office supply makes up about 7 percent of the market, Colliers International data shows.
And while leasing activity in Brooklyn stood at 430,000 square feet in the first quarter of 2017 — more than double the volume of a year earlier — it couldn’t keep pace with the 900,000 square feet of new space delivered to the market in early 2017, according to CBRE. Especially in neighborhoods like Red Hook, fa…

At tomorrow's Quality of Life meeting, a vague agenda, but some questions

The next periodic Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life Meeting will be held tomorrow, July 18, at 6 pm, at the Shirley Chisholm State Office Building, 55 Hanson Place, 1st Floor Conference Room.

The agenda, at right, is not terribly enlightening, suggesting presentations by Empire State Development and the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation--which are run by the same state staffer--and also by developer Greenland Forest City Partners.

They will answer questions, and perhaps some of these will come up:
how fast are the two rental towers (461 Dean and 535 Carlton) leasing up?how many people are living in (as owners, or renters) in the condo tower 550 Vanderbilt?when will people move into the fourth tower, 38 Sixth (like 535 Carlton, "100% affordable")?what's going on with rats related to this construction site (and others)?if the B6 and B7 sites don't need a platform, how support the adjacent open space?when will 664 Pacific (B15) actually start?wha…