Skip to main content


Do the 35th District fundraising totals indicate a tight race? Not yet.

So, is the 35th District Council Democratic primary race getting tight, as Ede Fox prepares to challenge incumbent Laurie Cumbo? I'd say it's early.

Fox Out Fundraises Cumbo In March 15 Filing Period, according to Stephen Witt of Kings County Politics:
According to the Campaign Finance Board (CFB), Cumbo reported having raised $66,457 while spending $26,732 to net out with $39,725. Fox raised $29,456 and spent $260 to net out with $29,716.
While this looks like Cumbo has an edge, it should be noted that she has been fundraising for some time and her total is a culmination of several filing periods, while this is Fox’s first filing.
If you just look at this filing period, which ran from Jan. 17 to yesterday, Fox outraised Cumbo by more than 2 to 1. Fox raised $29,976, while Cumbo raised only $13,720.
This is not to write off Cumbo, however, as City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has an upcoming fundraiser for Cumbo.... "This is not to write off Cumbo"? C'mo…

The irony! 461 Dean modular apartments hyped as "handcrafted locally"

Potential renters in the new 461 Dean apartment tower flanking the Barclays Center can not only snag two months free rent, they also can move to a unit that's been "handcrafted locally in the Brooklyn Navy Yard," according to the Douglas Elliman listing.

Wait--can this 32-story tower really be pitched like a bespoke ottoman or a seasonal beer? After all, 461 Dean, the first residential building in Atlantic Yards (now Pacific Park), was supposed to revolutionize construction as the world's tallest modular building.

Rather than rely on "handcrafted" work at the building site, as is typical,  apartment sections (aka "mods") were produced at a climate-controlled, process-optimized factory, aimed to be faster and cheaper.

Alas, developer Forest City Ratner ran up against some pesky problems, namely delays, a dispute with then-partner Skanska, and cost overruns. (The former partners blame each other.) The tower took twice as long as planned and scotched…

The EB-5 racket: Jared Kushner's connect says projects don't need the money (so investor visas = profit)

I have an essay in City Limits, Emerging Kushner Deal Suggests What’s Wrong With U.S. Investor Visa Program, about how an emerging deal involving Jared Kushner's family real state firm and a politically connected Chinese company illustrates what's wrong with the EB-5 investor visa program, which purportedly would be used to raise cheap capital.

Below is an excerpt, plus video (that wasn't embedded) on the City Limits page.

It contains a damning admission about EB-5 by the Nicholas Mastroianni II, he of the "checkered past" (as documented by Fortune's Peter Elkind), who happens to be the hottest money-raiser in the world of investor visas and Jared Kushner's past EB-5 connect: the projects he works on don't need the money. Which confirms that EB-5 is a racket.

From the article

This wouldn't be the first Kushner EB-5 project. The Trump Bay Street luxury apartment tower in Jersey City, NJ, used $50 million in EB-5 funds, about a quarter of the total b…

Instagram-plus! Celeb living in new tower (300 Ashland) gets paid to promote it

Ok, in this time of rising competition among luxury buildings and rental "incentives," every developer needs an edge. I've written about deals with Instagram fashionista to produce gauzy, park-promoting advertorial for 550 Vanderbilt (1, 2, 3), which actually came after similar promotion for 365 Bond in Gowanus.

Reports New York magazine's The Cut:
Last week, one influencer broke new ground in the ever-expanding world of celebrity spon-con. Tavi Gevinson, the 20-year-old actress and founder of the socially conscious teen magazine Rookie, started advertising her own luxury apartment building on Instagram.
Gevinson, who has over 500,000 followers on the app, posted several photos documenting her move to 300 Ashland, a glossy 35-story tower in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. In many of the posts, she explicitly listed her new address — 300 Ashland Place — in the location field. In captions touting the building’s amenities and prime location, she used the hashtag #300AshlandPartner…

Atlantic Yards CDC meeting postponed until week of March 27

Empire State Development informs us that, due to an unexpected scheduling conflict, there's no longer have a quorum for the scheduled March 21 (at 3 pm, LIU) board meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC)

The meeting will be postponed to the week of March 27. Details of date/time/location will be issued at a later date. Presumably, an agenda will be issued as well.

This will be the first meeting of AY CDC since 11/14/16, or more than four months. It's supposed to meet quarterly.

The Barclays Center's changing corporate partners (and the odd prominence of LIU)

Let's take a look at the shifting line-up of the Barclays Center's corporate partners.

We don't know the dollar value of the deals, but... if Long Island University was listed in 2016 as one of the top ten partners, in terms of dollar value, doesn't that signal either that LIU is paying big for the privilege, and/or some of corporate businesses aren't paying all that much? LIU, by the way, has been a staunch supporter of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project as a whole.

As of 2009

Below is an excerpt from December 2009 Official Statement (aka prospectus) for the arena bonds.
Note that Jones Soda, at least, withdrew and was replaced by Coca-Cola. Also note that MetroPCS had a retail outlet briefly on the north side of the arena--until it didn't.

By 2012

On the eve of the arena's opening, the mix had shifted, as stated in a 9/25/12 press release (names from 2009 bolded):
In addition to Barclays, the naming rights partner, Founding Partners for Barclays Center…

For Barclays Center, most events outside pro sports draw modest crowds (except concerts, also most profitable)

The Nets and Islanders don't fill the Barclays Center, as I reported, with actual gate count significantly less than announced attendance (and maybe worse, for the Islanders).

And--guess what--most other events don't even come close. Also, concerts are lots more profitable than anything else (though the business can be fickle).

That emerged in the Official Statement released last August for the refinancing of the Barclays Center bonds. It suggests why most (but hardly  all) events cause fewer neighborhood ripples than once feared.

We've long known some reasons regarding the impact of Nets basketball games: notably, the number of New Jersey-based fans driving to the arena diminished, as fandom declined during the team's long goodbye, and more Brooklyn-based fans, including those who walk, went to games.

Beyond that, the arena shrank from a once-contemplated 20,000-seat venue to instead hold 17,732 for basketball games, which, even with sellouts, typically means fewer th…