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At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…

First five buyers at 550 Vanderbilt surface, including two from Shanghai and Forest City's Cotton

Well, the first five closings at the not-so-speedy-selling 550 Vanderbilt condominium--which has a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy but is not yet open--have finally surfaced in city records. So we have preliminary clues about the buyers.
Two of the five units were bought by residents of Shanghai, where Greenland Holdings--the parent of Greenland USA, which owns 70% of Greenland Forest City Partners--is based. Another was bought by a Brooklyn Heights resident. Another was bought by a couple from Fresh Meadows, Queens, with Chinese surnames. (The developer has marketed to Chinese buyers.)
And the largest of the units, a two-bedroom apartment listed for $1,925,000, sold to Ashley Cotton, Forest City Ratner's Executive VP for External Affairs, for $1,881,688. (Whether an investment or place to live, Cotton wisely chose a unit in the southeast corner of the building, away from future construction. Either way, it helped nudge sales figures ahead.)
Among the other units sold, three o…

From the latest Construction Update: traffic limited on Sixth Avenue; railyard drilling; street trees coming at 535 Carlton

Acording to the latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning March 27 and circulated yesterday at 1:59 pm (somewhat late) by Empire State Development after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners (GFCP), a few changes are expected.

Traffic on Sixth Avenue between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue is expected to be modified during these two weeks period, with traffic will be limited to one northbound lane. The start date of this work depends on the receipt of the applicable permits.

At the Vanderbilt Yard, drilling of foundation piles will begin in the B10 site--just west of Vanderbilt Avenue, between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue.

Also, 48” steel water main installation is expected to start during this period--location unspecified.

And street trees will be planted around 535 Carlton Avenue (aka B14), the 100% affordable building that already has residents.

Weekend and after-hours work

As in previous weeks, Saturday work c…

Agenda for tomorrow's AY CDC meeting posted

Just in time for tomorro'w's 3 pm meeting (must RSVP today)  of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), parent Empire State Development has posted the agenda and, as usual, it doesn't signal anything crucial.

It includes approval of the AY CDC budget and a consulting comment and the president's report, which often includes an update from developer Greenland Forest City Partners--which can be revealing.

And while public comments get their own agenda line, they are actually supposed to be accepted after each agenda item (though sometimes that doesn't happen).

Beyond anodyne rhetoric from Borough Presidents, follow the money (Adams has much, and much from real estate)

A major feature in the New York Times Metropolitan section, Five Leaders on New York’s Five Boroughs, was supremely anodyne, perhaps inevitably so, given the brevity imposed. (The headline in print was "What Does a Borough President Want?" which should be answered as "to be re-elected," to be put on a path to higher office" and "to enact various changes," not necessarily in that order.)
Consider: The first two paragraphs regarding Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams--unopposed for re-election and already having announced his intention to run for Mayor in 2021--concerned his gym-like office and concerns about diabetes, which for him is not just an issue for the borough but also personal. Then, in full, the following exchanges:
What are Brooklyn’s biggest challenges?
New development. Our young people coming in need to understand that they are not the modern-day Christopher Columbus: They did not discover Brooklyn. Brooklyn was here long before they se…

Triangle parks along Flatbush just past Barclays to get pedestrian makeover

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Transformation of Flatbush Avenue ‘Triangle Parks’ begins next week:
After more than a decade of advocacy and planning, a project to transform three triangular parks along North Flatbush Avenue into pedestrian-friendly islands of green will kick off next week.
The North Flatbush Reconstruction Project will bring new sidewalks, benches, wayfaring signs, solar compactors, infrastructure and greenery to three traffic triangles formed where Flatbush Avenue intersects with Carlton, Sixth and Seventh avenues, not far from Barclays Center. Above right is a rendering of the triangle at Flatbush, Sixth and St. Marks avenues, which is just two blocks from the southeast corner of the arena block. (That blank wall in the back, I believe, would be the nightspot Woodland.)

Below is the full plan, as of 2013, from the New York City Department of Transportation.

Flatbush Avenue Triangle Reconstruction Plan NYC DOT by Norman Oder on Scribd

A Ratner cameo in New Republic essay, Why Lying Is So Easy for Trump

From Ben Adler's New Republic essay Why Lying Is So Easy for Trump: For New York developers, blatant deception isn't just good for business--it's completely legal:
Bait-and-switch tactics are an everyday practice in Trump's industry. The real estate mogul Bruce Ratner dangled star architect Frank Gehry before city officials when seeking approval for the arena that would anchor his enormous Atlantic Yards development in downtown Brooklyn. Once the deal was in place, however, Gehry was booted off the project and a cheaper design was swapped in. And more than four years after the arena opened, local residents are still waiting for the eight acres of parks that Ratner pledged to create. I'd say that it's not "eight acres of parks," but rather "open space," and it's long been known it would take a while. The clear lie--part of what I call the Culture of Cheating--is describing the "park" as already in existence, as in promotional we…

Atlantic Yards CDC meeting rescheduled for next Wednesday, at ESD offices

The Board of Directors of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), recently postponed, has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 29, at 3 pm. No agenda has been released.

The change in date means that the meeting can't be held, as scheduled, in Brooklyn at Long Island University, but rather will be held at home court: the offices of parent Empire State Development, 633 Third Avenue, at the 37th Floor Conference Room.

This meeting is open to the public and will be web cast.

Due to building procedures, those attending should RSVP by 5 pm on Tuesday, March 28. RSVP public line (212) 803-3766. RSVP press line (800) 260-7313

This will be the first meeting of AY CDC since 11/14/16, or more than four months.

LICH redevelopment now named River Park

It's going around. Not unlike the way Greenland Forest City Ratner transformed Atlantic Yards into Pacific Park Brooklyn, the unbranded Long Island College Hospital (LICH) project--involving new construction as well as some adaptation--will now be known as River Park, according to Curbed.
A spokesman for Fortis Property Group provided this statement to Curbed:
The name River Park is a natural and fitting evolution for this idyllic location in Cobble Hill. Given the existing park space surrounding and within the site, which Fortis will only enhanced and beautify, and with the serene river adjacent location and spectacular East River views, the name is simply descriptive. Of course, that's exactly what a development with towers of 15, 17, and 28 stories would be called. Just the way a project with 6,430 apartments, an arena, and significant amounts of office and retail space would be called Pacific Park.