Do not photograph the books! In The New Yorker Bob Eckstein reports that Powerhouse Arena, a bookstore in Dumbo, as to remind customers not to snap photos of what may be the last living specimens of physical books in their natural retail environment. The illustrator documents the increasingly rare physical specimen and its near-extinct habitat.
32BJ, the Doorman’s Union, has launched a satirical video campaign marketing AVA High Line as part of its bid to get the building and its larger parent company, Avalon Bay properties, to allow employees to unionize, The New York Times reports. As the Observer aptly noted this spring, shortly after sales launched at AVA High Line, the luxury rental building’s campaign and corporate persona are highly mockable, aimed as they are at cool millennials who wanted to “live eclectic.”
Bill de Blasio called JPMorgan Chase’s demands for hundreds of millions, and by some reports in excess of a billion, in public subsidies in exchange for building a new headquarters in the Hudson Yards development a “non-starter,” according to The Wall Street Journal, though they note that he did strike a far more conciliatory note toward corporate subsidies than he did while campaigning, saying that “if they’re looking to switch locations and we can find appropriate ways to be helpful, we will.” In exchange for the windfall of taxpayer funds, JPMorgan had pledged not to cut more than 4,000 jobs from its 20,000 New York City workforce.
Hey, says Crain’s, the bank is probably just trying to save some money by shrinking its office staff. A lot of corporate tenants are looking to downsize into fancy new spaces… of course, it’s not so great for other office markets, or the city for that matter, even when companies do so without major public subsidy. “These are not about giving subsidies to keep rich bankers; these are middle-class jobs at the bank that need subsidies to be kept here,” claims Kathryn Wylde, the head of the Partnership for New York City. Though lavish subsidies happen make rich bankers even richer, while middle class jobs remain seemingly forever on the chopping block.
Speaking of tax breaks for the rich, that $34 million resale at One57 finally hit city records—the first of the building’s resales to do so, according to The Times. Which is probably the only interesting thing about a lightly-used sponsor unit trading between LLCs for a perfectly respectable price bump. That and the fact that owners will only pay $7,363 a month in a carrying costs. “Being the beneficiary of a bargain negotiated by the sponsor apparently causes a psychological uplift at closing,” notes The Times. How nice for them!
Nor do tax breaks necessarily lead to successful companies or redevelopment projects. To wit: the troubled Atlantic Yards development, which Forest City Ratner is now trying to extricate itself from entirely by offering its remaining 55 percent stake in the project for sale, according to The Journal. “The move stands as a test for the value of the arena, which has hardly been a cash cow for Forest City despite its success attracting concerts and other shows,” the paper notes. Construction on the development’s first residential tower—which the company had touted for its ground-breaking use of modular construction—has also been stalled this past month following a dispute over design issues raised by the project’s contractor Skanska. Forest City Ratner already sold a majority stake in the project to Chinese developer Greenland and recently put its 20 percent ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets for sale.
Though there is clearly money to made from building condos in Brooklyn. As DNAInfo reports, 35 percent of the all condo sales in new Brooklyn developments took place in Clinton Hill last quarter. And a number of developers are interested in transforming the Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights into housing, a hotel, retail space or a recreation center, also according to DNAInfo.
Meanwhile, the City Council is pushing back on Astoria Cove, the waterfront development project that would be the first test case for de Blasio’s mandatory inclusionary zoning method of increasing affordable housing stock, according to Capital New York. City council and community members have argued that developer Alma Realty’s agreement to build 20 percent affordable housing units in exchange for rezoning the site, is very much like Bloomberg’s 80/20 model. “80-20 is something that comes from the old book of Bloomberg,” councilman Antonio Reynoso said. “It is something that we thought has failed the communities, especially communities of color and low income communities.”
The city is investigating child safety at homeless shelters after a 3-year-old was beaten to death by her father on Saturday inside their apartment in a Brooklyn homeless shelter, according to The Times. The father would watch the toddler and her brother, who also had signs of physical abuse, while the mother was at work, according to the paper.
NextCity takes a look at the problems—primarily with housing quality—that renters fact in the down and out places where gentrification isn’t the problem.
And finally, the public review process has finally kicked off for the Midtown East rezoning. Also, Rag & Bone would like to borrow your railroad apartment with “chipped paint, weathered, East Village vibe” for a photo shoot.