Tucker Reed is sweet on Brooklyn—big time. A resident of Prospect Heights who enjoys frequenting the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mr. Reed is a champion of the city’s most populous borough. He is a ball of energy as he talks about all of the work the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has done with him as president for the past two years, from supporting the technology sector with the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Coalition to establishing Downtown Brooklyn as New York City’s college town. About a year after Commercial Observer conducted the Sit-Down interview with Mr. Tucker, we wanted to check in and see how the nonprofit has been doing with the reinvention of Downtown Brooklyn.
MaryAnne Gilmartin, president and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, and tech leader MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis will serve as the new co-chairs of the board of directors of the nonprofit Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
“When the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership launched in 2006, Downtown Brooklyn looked, felt and served a very different role than today,” Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed said in a statement. “Now, new firms and families are choosing to be here because of the neighborhood’s strong foundation and rich history. MaryAnne and Bre embody a new generation of Brooklyn entrepreneurs, and I am delighted that we’ll be able to tap into their experience and wisdom.”
Affordable Housing or Lack Thereof
Forest City Enterprises and Greenland Holdings Group, a Chinese state-owned developer, have completed an agreement for a joint-venture to develop Atlantic Yards, the companies announced today.
The two parties had previously announced a preliminary deal in October under which Greenland would acquire a 70-percent stake in the Atlantic Yards project from Forest City. Expected to close in 2014, the joint venture includes phases one and two of the project, excluding the Barclays Center and the B2 modular housing tower.
Advocates trying to speed up the construction of affordable housing that was promised as part of the controversial Atlantic Yards project are letting bygones be bygones when it comes to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s support of the original deal.
A slew of pols rallied this afternoon to halt the project’s sale to a foreign-contractor, Greenland Holdings Group of China, in yet another effort to ramp up construction of long-promised affordable housing in the area. But when asked about whether Mr. de Blasio should have been more vocal on the issue, a complete silence followed a brief response from one official.
Apparently, $761 million in subsidies and tax breaks isn’t enough for Forest City Ratner. The Atlantic Yards developer is thanking the city for its generosity by suing the Department of Finance for a lower tax assessment.
The developer has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Finance, in an attempt to knock down the market value assessment on block 1129, which comprises the southern section of the development site, from $11.2 million to a scant $1.6 million, DNAinfo reported today.
bring in 'da noise
Taking about as many swings at Bill de Blasio as he can muster, Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota tacked to the left today to bash his Democratic opponent on the controversial Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn.
Rihanna brought down the house at her concert at the Barclays Center on Sunday night, taking the entire neighborhood with her, according to Prospect Heights residents.
But the loud, booming bass rumblings that disrupted the neighborhood on Sunday night were nothing new for people who live in the direct vicinity of the Barclays Center. These complaints come less than a week after Barclays Center developer Forest City Ratner Companies was ordered to pay the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) a $3,200 fine for violations after a Swedish House Mafia concert in early March.
An Arena Grows in Brooklyn
When Forest City Ratner executive vice president—and soon to be CEO, once Bruce Ratner steps down—MaryAnne Gilmartin spoke to Westchester Magazine, she was asked for “the most baseless criticism” leveled against her. She responded, “That I don’t really know Brooklyn, so I’m not qualified to develop a project there. I lived in Brooklyn from 1988 to 1993.”
That criticism is about to get a little more baseless: Ms. Gilmartin and her husband, James, just bought a townhouse in Park Slope, according to city records. The couple paid $3.85 million for the four-story, 20-foot-wide brownstone at 113 St. John’s Place, and will presumably be moving from their home in Edgemont, New York.
Well, modular is here, and it’s real. After decades of dreaming by architects, an unlikely patron, developer Bruce Ratner, has made it possible to build a New York City building in a factory, assembling the units on site. Instead of cars, we will now be rolling apartments off an assembly line.
New Yorkers got their first look at the product, too, or at least the “chasis” around which these units will be built, at a ground breaking for the first Atlantic Yards residential tower, B2, nestled up beside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Bruce Ratner did not win out with the tax man this week, but he has secured an even bigger deal with another New York City institution that will be a linchpin for his Atlantic Yards project. Today, Forest City Ratner announced it is going forward with its long-planned intentions to build a modular apartment tower as part of the 22-acre arena-anchored mega-development. The project is made possible in large part through an agreement with the city’s labor unions to allow the 32-story prefab apartment building to proceed.
Modular construction has long been a dream of architects, for its efficiency and control, and now it could be a boon for New York City developers as well, since prefab methods can save 20 to 30 percent from traditional design methods. The only issue is for construction workers. Because the projects are built in factories, even when using union labor, the jobs tend to be less skilled and thus lower paying. Many labor unions had bridled at this, especially since Mr. Ratner had made extensive promises about the well-paying jobs Atlantic Yards would provide. But today the Building and Construction Trades Council announced its support for the development, saying that the prefab builders will get their own division within the labor group.