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Brooklyn Standard June/July 2005

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Issue of the Brooklyn Standard publication produced by Forest City Ratner to promote the Atlantic Yards project.
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  ByEDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE Forest City Ratner Companies(FCRC) formally announced late lastmonth that it had fulfilled its promise of purchasing much of the property at Atlantic Yards, limiting the use of exer-cising eminent domain.“We have always promised to doeverything possible to reduce the needfor eminent domain,” said FCRCExecutive Vice President James Stuckey, who made the announcement at the May 26 hearing of the City Council’sEconomic Development Committeeattended by community supporters,unions, and Brooklyn Borough PresidentMarty Markowitz. June/July 2005 ã VOL. 1, ISSUE 1 A Publication of Forest City Ratner Companies Legendary broadcaster and Brooklynnative Marv Albert, the voice of New York sports, has joined the Nets. Beginning inSeptember, he will call 50 games on the YES Network, as well as host a 13-episodeto-be-determinedshow. Albert, who grew up in BrightonBeach andManhattan Beach,called his first gamesin grade school on hisown tape recorderhe broughtto EbbetsField. Heis lookingforward tocallinggames againin his homeborough.Recently, The Brooklyn Standard  sat down with ByEDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE In the 20 years since Forest City RatnerCompanies (FCRC) broke ground on itsfirst Brooklyn project, a lot has changed. Theborough that many were once ready to writeoff has exploded with development and pop-ularity, more vital today than ever before.The development company has had amajor hand in this transformation. Starting with 1 Pierrepont Plaza in 1988, FCRC hasadded 15 buildings to the borough. Betweenthe construction jobs and permanent ones atthe office space in MetroTech Center andelsewhere, the economic benefit to Brooklynhas been enormous. This in turn has meantmore residents and more culture, enrichinglife in the borough in nearly every way.The construction of Atlantic Yards will bea continuation of this progress. Expected togenerate $6.1 billion over the next 30 years Inside: Around Brooklyn 8-9 Brooklyn Family 10 Sports 12-13 Old Brooklyn 15 CONTINUED ON PAGE 15 CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 CONTINUED ON PAGE 12 Yes!  Voice of New YorkSports Joins Nets A listing of arts,community eventsand activities in ourborough.What to do thissummer for kidsand families.Preview of theBrooklyn Cyclones’Season.A look intoBrooklyn’s richarchitecturalhistory. BROOKLYN’SBOOMING  Atlantic Yards Will Bring Jobs,Housing and Hoops  Atlantic Yards will create a 22-acre residential, commercial and retail neighborhood in Brooklyn.MarvAlbert Forest City Ratner Continues Efforts to Avoid Condemnation www.brooklynstandard.com  BY EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE F OREST CITY RATNER COMPANIES (FCRC) MADE a historic announcement at a press conference lastmonth, agreeing to dedicate 50 percent of the 4,500rental units at Atlantic Yards to low- and middle-income residents. “  What we have done here is huge, ” said Bertha Lewis,executive director of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which signed aMemorandum of Understanding with FCRC. MayorMichael R. Bloomberg joined FCRC and ACORN atBrooklyn Borough Hall to unveil details of the plan.In attendance at the press conference were representativesfrom unions such as the Carpenters, the Teamsters, 32-BJ-SEIU, and the Plumbers. Others in attendance includedUnited Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten,Council Members Yvette Clarke, Lew Fidler, Bill de Blasio,Tracy Boyland, Michael Nelson, James Sanders and KendallStewart, Assembly Members Joseph Lentol, Roger Green,and Clarence Norman, and State Senators Marty Golden,Kevin Parker and Carl Andrews.Of those units designated as affordable housing, there would be two- and three-bedroom apartments distributedthroughout the buildings, as well as studio and one-bedroomapartments. Senior citizens would be given priority for 10percent. “ This is a very good day for low- and moderate- income fam-ilies, ” Lewis said. “ This team of labor, elected officials and avisionary developer have put affordable housing back on track. ” Bloomberg, whose administration has been strongly sup-portive of the development, expressed great excitement aboutthe new plans. “ This announcement is what we call in business a slamdunk, ” he said, praising the Memorandum of Understandingfor its commitment to alleviating the growing housing short-age as the largest affordable housing development in the city.For FCRC, the logic behind the revision was simple. Thecurrent vacancy rate in the city is 3.2%, substantially below the 5% benchmark that is considered an official housingemergency. This is partly the consequence of populationgrowth of nearly 700,000 throughout the five boroughsbetween 1990 and 2000, with only 81,000 units of new housing created. The city  ’ s rate of severe overcrowding,defined as having 1.5 residents or more per room, is now sixtimes the national average.Elected officials call this plan unprecedented. “ The synergy between public policy and private policy, thesynergy between public resources and private resources hasreally created a new paradigm, ” said State AssemblymemberGreen.He went on to thank Ratner for “ really transcendingthe issue of being a developerthat is only concerned withproperty imperatives and now being concerned with moral imperatives. ” It is not just about availability, though. Price is becomingan ever-larger drain on family incomes, with almost one inevery four New Yorkers paying more than 50% of householdincome to rent and utilities. That is why the company worked with ACORN, the Department of Housing Preservation &Development, and the Housing Development Corporationto provide housing for working families in Atlantic Yards.The housing program, to be based on the New York City average median income (AMI), will ensure that resident fam-ilies pay no more than 30% of their income in rent. Familiesmaking up to 160% of the AMI will be eligible for space inthese units. The units will be distributed between familiesacross the income range from approximately $13,000 to$100,000 per year. “  When you bring housing, you make a community alive, ” said FCRC Executive Vice President Bruce Bender. “  You ’ recreating this massive movement of money going from yourpocket to the card store, from the card store to the pizzeria, totax dollars. There ’ s a whole lot of things happening that endup in the city coffers via sales taxes, via income taxes, via busi-ness taxes, and it just makes this whole circle go around. ” Bloomberg looked at it from a broader perspective. “ This is about helping a whole part of New York City share in the great American Dream, ” he said. “  When we talk about a city of opportunity for everybody, we mean every-body. ” ❖ “What we have done here is huge.”— Bertha Lewis, ACORN executive director ACORN Executve Director Bertha Lewis andMayor Michael R. Bloomberg celebrate theannouncement of more affordable housing atAtlantic Yards.          Atlantic Yards to Add More Affordable Housing A   N   D   R   E   W    S    C   H   W  A   R   T   Z   P   H    O   T    O    2 June/July 2005|THE BROOKLYN STANDARD  for the city and state, the 22-acre residential and commercialdevelopment will be created with a $3.5 billion investment.That sort of wide-ranging economic boon is what wonthe project support from Governor George Pataki, whorecently praised it for “ contributing to Brooklyn ’ s revival. ” The centerpiece of the plan will be an arching, glass-enclosed arena for the Nets designed by world-renownedarchitect Frank Gehry. The building will seat approximately 19,000 fans for basketball and other events, and 20,500 forconcerts.The 17 other high-rise buildings in the six-square-block footprint bounded by Dean Street and Vanderbilt, Flatbushand Atlantic Avenues, will provide more than 6,000 new housing units, including 4,500 mixed-use rentals, in addi-tion to office and retail space.The company estimates the project will create 15,000construction jobs and 6,000 new permanent jobs, an ideathat has already won many champions, including MayorMichael R. Bloomberg, who said in his January State of theCity address that it will be “ the capstone of DowntownBrooklyn ’ s rebirth. ” It is a rebirth Bruce Ratner and his company have beenintegrally involved in since breaking ground on MetroTechCenter, the office building complex center just down thestreet from Borough Hall. “  We came here in the mid- ‘ 80s when it was difficult forthe city to attract businesses anyplace other thanManhattan, ” said FCRC Chief Operating Officer andExecutive Vice President Joanne Minieri. “  We just are majorfans of Brooklyn and feel that we ’ ve done an awful lot to takesome of the risks in the early days, which is why it ’ s flourish-ing today. ” This commitment to the borough led Ratner to lead a$300 million bid for the Nets last year around the concept of integrating a new home for the team into the company  ’ splans. “  We now have a really unique chance to bring a businessto New York City, and to Brooklyn specifically, ” Minierisaid, describing the enormous tax revenues to be collected oneverything from multi-million dollar players ’ salaries to con-cessions sold at the arena. The result will be a magnet and ananchor for all sorts of other businesses that FCRC and oth-ers agree will be drawn to the area. All this aside, there is the very important matter of civicpride.The Brooklyn Nets will be dribbling down the courtacross the street from where then-Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O ’ Malley wanted to build a stadium for his team.The blocking of that plan directly resulted in O ’ Malley  ’ sdecision to move the Dodgers to Los Angeles, leavingBrooklyn without a major sports team of its own ever since.Minieri cited the fact that there are only 30 NBA fran-chises distributed through the country. “ For Brooklyn to have its own team really puts it right upthere as being one of the prime cities in the United States, ” she said. “ It ’ s a recognition of what Brooklyn has come toaccomplish in its hard work over the last 15 to 20 years. ” Under a proposal by FCRC, the rail yards will eventually be moved to a new site provided by FCRC. But with theconstruction of a temporary yard at the outset, there will beno service disruption at any phase of the construction. “ This is a part of Brooklyn that could use some help, andit ’ s getting it, ” Bloomberg said.The recently released Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) included a pledge of $100 million each from the city and state towards funding of new infrastructure and street work near the site. This cement-ed government backing of  Atlantic Yards and the Netsarena, long favorites of electedofficials in the city and state.However, by substituting apartments for commercialspace, FCRC will increase the number of residential units atthe site by approximately 2,800. It will also expand the pub-lic space from six to seven and a half acres, and include asmall boutique hotel.In either case, the arena and four other buildings will becompleted in the first phase, expected to take three to five “ This project will really represent the real rebirthand renaissance of our beloved borough. ”— Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz Atlantic Yards will attract new businesses toBrooklyn. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 New Buildings and Arena to Enhance Neighborhood General Plan For Project CONTINUED ON PAGE 14 Zoning Square Feet:  Arena:850,000 ZSFOffice:1.9 M ZSFResidential:5.5 M ZSF (6,000 Units)Retail:227,000 ZSFOpen Space:7.4 Acres  ArenaOfficeResidentialOpen SpaceRetail ( in base of  buildings) Zoning Square Feet:  Arena:850,000 ZSFOffice:428,800 ZSFHotel:187,000 ZSFResidential:6.8 M ZSF (7,300 Units)Retail:227,000 ZSFOpen Space:7.4 Acres    ArenaOfficeHotelResidentialOpen Space Retail ( in base of  buildings) Expected Atlantic Yards Benefits ã 6,000 permanent jobsã 15,000 union construction jobsã $6.1 billion in total tax revenue for thecity and state over the next 30 years Alternate Plan For Project June/July 2005 2005|THE BROOKLYN STANDARD 3  ByBRUCE RATNER  I hope you enjoy the first edition of  The Brooklyn Standard  .Every month or so, we will try to put out a new edition where we can provide you with updated information about Atlantic Yards and other news and events taking place inBrooklyn. We are not trying to compete with daily, weekly or localpapers. Our goal is simple: to share information about Atlantic Yards with the people of Brooklyn and to create an even greaterdialogue as we go forward. As you know from the stories in this edition, the city and thestate signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Forest City Ratner Companies earlier this year. That does not mark the endof the process. It marks the beginning. In the next few months, we will hold more public meetings and you can expect a greatdeal of discussion dealing with the community benefits relatedto the project and the environmental impact.Brooklyn is our corporate home, and it ’ s our spiritual home.Forest City Ratner, which is located at MetroTech in downtownBrooklyn, has been a strong partner in the re-birth of our bor-ough. But we understand as well that sometimes a renaissance ismore about discovering what is there thaninventing something new  – and that there isa character and drive that has always beenvery much part of this borough.Regardless, we have been working in thisgreat borough for years. We ’ re proud that we ’ ve helped generate many jobs here. That ’ s what we do. Yes, we build. But in doing so we ’ re also generating jobs and ongoingopportunities for our neighbors. As a former City Consumer AffairsCommissioner, I understand the importanceof the value of a dollar. Our city must be ableto provide housing, goods and services in anaffordable manner. That ’ s why we ’ re proud of  Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal, homeof Target, Marshall ’ s and Pathmark, one of the top-selling supermarkets in the country. We ’ re excited that the Nets are coming to Brooklyn. But thisproject is about more than basketball. It ’ s about housing and jobs. We ’ ve worked with ACORN to develop a bold plan in which half of the 4,500 rental units will be for low-income and working families. We ’ re working with BUILD on developing alocal jobs program to ensure that minority and women ownedbusinesses benefit from the project and that job training pro-grams create not just promise for today but also for tomorrow and the future. And we ’ ve benefited from the keen intelligenceand insight of Reverend Dr. Herbert Daughtry, Sr. in con-tributing to New York  ’ s first-ever Community Benefits Agreement, a contract between our company and the commu-nity that will be legally binding. We know that there ’ s a lot of work to do on Atlantic Yards – and that there are a lot of questions. We have an obligation to try to answer these questions and to work with you and your neigh-bors as we go forward. It is a testament to the vibrancy of ourborough that we have so many fine papers. We see The BrooklynStandard  as complementing them, providing a perspective onthe state of Atlantic Yards and some of the other exciting thingshappening from Sheepshead Bay to Greenpoint, Williamsburgto the Heights, and everywhere in between.Stay tuned and stay involved — we ’ re working at thistogether! ❖ A Time of Excitement The growth and success of neigh-borhoods throughout Brooklyn are asource of pride for all New Yorkers,and there is no better time to wel-come The Brooklyn Standard  to thisthriving community. We are rehabili-tating the waterfront, expanding cul-tural and recreational resources andlaying the groundwork for excitingeconomic development across theborough. We are also preserving thecharacter of neighborhoods andkeeping them affordable for longtimeresidents.Recently, I announced an agree-ment that sets aside half of therental units in the proposed Atlantic Yards development for low- andmoderate-income housing. In addi-tion to residential development, thisproject will also include an arena,commercial and retail space and 7.4acres of open public space. According to an economic analysisperformed earlier this year, the netfiscal benefit for the city and state will be extraordinary.The Atlantic Yards plan is oneexample of positive and responsibledevelopment for the future. We aretaking what is currently a rail storageyard and developing it for the enjoy-ment and economic benefit of Brooklyn residents and all New  Yorkers. Once again, I welcome The Brooklyn Standard  and look forward toreading about this project and othersin this paper. Best of luck!S INCERELY  ,M ICHAEL R. B LOOMBERG M  AYOR  Welcome to the Mix Brooklyn is a great borough, fullof great things. And at the heart of our proud past and dynamic future isour rich patchwork of different peo-ple and different voices. With that in mind, I ’ m happy to welcome The Brooklyn Standard  . We ’ rea boisterous, booming, opinionatedgroup of people, and we take ourinformation seriously. They  ’ ll havetheir work cut out for them joiningthe mix, but I ’ m sure they  ’ re up to thetask.If there ’ s one thing I ’ ve learnedfrom a lifetime of living here, it ’ s thatthere ’ s no shortage of exciting thingsto be found. Brooklyn is a bubblingcauldron of life and excitement, andthe fantastic Atlantic Yards project will only increase it for decades tocome.So for news on all that and more,I ’ ll be looking to The BrooklynStandard  to help fill me in. Welcome to Brooklyn. We ’ re gladto have you here.M  ARTIN M  ALAVE D ILAN S TATE S ENATOR  D ISTRICT 17 letters to the editoreditorial 4 June/July 2005|THE BROOKLYN STANDARD editors in Chief: Barry BaumScott C. Cantone Executive Editor: Edward-Isaac Dovere Managing Editor: Tom Allon Contributors: Deirdre Cahill, Dave Campanaro John B. Manbeck  Production Manager: Mark T. Stinson Graphic Designer: Mitchell Hoffman Photographer:  Andrew Schwartz Copy Editor: Daniel S. Burnstein Send letters to the editor:letters@brooklynstandard.com From left: Forest City Ratner Companies President/CEO BruceRatner, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Rev. Dr.Herbert Daughtry, Sr., and ACORN Executive Director Bertha Lewis Publisher’s note  A   N   D   R   E   W    S    C   H   W  A   R   T   Z   P   H    O   T    O    Raising The Brooklyn Standard  Again In the 1800s, New York began its ascent from farmland toone of America ’ s great urban centers. Those days were full of excitement, dissent, and debate, as the City of Brooklyn andthe nation worked to find its footing. Walt Whitman, the great Transcendentalist poet who would soon transform American literature with Leaves of Grass  , was among those who spoke out. Though his writing careerfirst blossomed during his time with the Brooklyn Eagle  , theoutbreak of the Civil War led him to leave his journalistichome because it did not share his views on abolition. Within a year, he left the city to become a nurse in Washington during the Civil War. But before he went, hedelivered his 25-essay  “ Brooklyniana ” series to The BrooklynStandard  , another great newspaper of the time. “ Brooklyniana ” ran from June 1861 through November1862, and found Whitman looking back on the history of Long Island. Now, as we look toward Brooklyn ’ s excitingfuture, Forest City Ratner Companies has revived the venerat-ed name of  The Brooklyn Standard  .The Brooklyn of yesterday is the foundation for all webuild here. We hope this paper and our Atlantic Yards devel-opment will help continue and expand this rich legacy, and welook forward to The Brooklyn Standard  once again being partof our borough ’ s exciting mix.  A Forest City Ratner Companies Publication Working Together for Brooklyn
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