The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Opposition Grows to Height of 626

The Q has written extensively about the new building going up at 626 Flatbush. It's certainly been the talk of the neighborhood lately, and a packed committee meeting at CB9 last week on the topic showed that there were still plenty of folks willing to put up a fight over the building's proposed height. The name of the group that has organized around the issue is Prospect Park East Network (PPEN). They have created an online petition you can access from their site.

Opponents suggest a shorter building with a bigger footprint could house as many people, and that the building received State backed financing and therefore should have involved community review, despite the as-of-right zoning.

The Q has yet to hear from proponents of the height, though the Developer makes a strong case for the need for the upper views bringing in the cash to pay for the project. However, and this is an important point I think, I've heard very few folks who don't want the project to happen at all. I'd love to entertain thoughts on both sides below. At this point, it would probably take the involvement of the new Mayor and new Borough President (de Blasio and Adams) to stop a project that is already permitted and ready to roll.

What do you think? Official rendering and an artist's vision of what the project would look like from the park below:

quite clearly, this is just an estimation. perhaps the developer can come up with a response?


Anonymous said...

We'll let me be the first, I am a huge proponent of this building and hope to see many more along Flatbush. How cool would it be if we became like Central Park West. It is so beautiful over there.

I'm also a huge proponent of demolition of Patio Gardens and the Ebbets Field apartments. I propose building something more contextual to 626 Flatbush in their place.

Finally I am against 31 Lincoln Road!! It's too short and the first proposed condo tower would have the suited us better.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad that the developers rendering doesn't include Patio Gardens, or whatever the other 2 tall apartment buildings are called a block north of 626 Flatbush.

I'm a proponent of this building going ahead as designed. A fatter, shorter building is not an answer, it's clunky and obtrusive, and a deep building creates dark, weird floorplans.

The debate of tall buildings in the neighborhood is 20+ years too late, since the very tall Patio Gardens already exist. They are much worse than 626, since they edge right onto Flatbush avenue. I doubt people will even think of 626 once it's built, since its recessed far away from Flatbush, on an undesirable site, right next to train tracks.

Go ahead with the development, and let's not be archetypal New Yorkers who freak out at any improvements made to their city.

When the Guggenheim museum was in it's planning stages on the upper East side in the 1950s, the community surrounding it was up in arms regarding it's inappropriate architecture, it's scale, it's material. And once it was built everyone in the neighborhood was so pleased with themselves for having sprearheaded positive change, forgetting they were trying to sabotage it 18 months earlier.

A year after 626 goes up people will ask why it didn't happen sooner.


Anonymous said...

I am against the height. It's not in character. If I wanted to live among tall buildings that have blocked light from other tall buildings, I can move to that kind of neighborhood. I hate it. Not all of us care about more "amenities" or more anything. Some of us are quite happy with what the nabe is. *Shocking*, I know, but it's true.

I don't need to be steps away from a whole bunch of great restaurants. I am quite happy getting on the train for that. What I do love is my (still relatively) low rent for what I get, and the low buildings. I have to travel to the city every day for work, I don't need to live among tall buildings that block precious sunlight.

Anonymous said...

Here, here! I am in total agreement with you. This
building will improve the quality of life on Flatbush, probably result in cleaner streets and drive the drug
dealers off the streets which no one else seems to be able to do.

Scott said...

I don't live in the neighborhood but in general, the city needs to find ways to add a lot more housing if there is any hope of keeping both a healthy city economy and controlling the rapid rise in housing prices. This seems like a great location and a reasonably good design for a large building. Exactly what the city needs.

Anonymous said...

The fact all their renderings completely ignore the existence of Patio Gardens is utterly ridiculous. A flyer for the recent meeting was put through Manor homes' mail slots from the LMA with a picture on it showing how "out of context" 626 Flatbush would be and there also they erased Patio Gardens. They illustrated the whole stretch of Flatbush there without including Patio Gardens at all. It doesn't make their position seem very strong when they have to resort to tactics like that.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I served with The Guggenheim. I knew The Guggenheim. The Guggenheim was a friend of mine. 626, you're no Guggenheim.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I do believe that Patio Gardens should have been in the rendering, but that building itself is not really what's at issue. PG has been built, 626 has not. No one can conceivably claim to be able to tear down Patio Gardens. They could conceivably create some sort of political will to stop 626.

In my view, Patio Gardens is not in play, nor is it anywhere near as tall. In fact, I suspect if those against 626 could get Hudson to come down to Patio's height, they'd consider it a substantial victory.

I also think some folks are missing the broader, perhaps more important point. 626 is not the beginning and end of an issue. It is a warning signal. If the tall building concept succeeds, it would be quite possible for big money to buy up large buildings and lots and multiple dwellings (as the developer tried to do with the brownstones on Ocean before the owners had it declared a landmark - just tonight I learned they left a lot of money on the table to do so). People make comparisons to 4th Avenue - really? How is that long ugly boulevard anywhere near an analog to Prospect Park?

That the community considers a 23 story building the best defense against drug pushers strikes me as quite sad indeed.

Lastly in defense of those shocked by the building's size I would say this: the Park's designers were very clear in their design that they intended to create a Park that would give the meditative illusion of rurality (a useful word I just made up). Seriously, that was their vision. They even built up the perimeter to help ensure that fact. I ain't lying. It's the tooth!

You can say, ah, those old geezers didn't see modernity coming. True, true. But remember, there are no give-backs in this game.

Anonymous said...

A survey that would be incredibly revealing would be one that gauged enthusiasm for the project by rental or ownership status. And length of time in the neighborhood. And income. And race. Could be quite telling about where developments like this find the most support or detractors.

Of course the vast majority in the neighborhood will have no idea this thing is happening until its practically built. A big divide that happens in the city is between those who believe they can control their destiny and those who feel stuff just happens to them, or at them. This is the central issue of gentrification - power, or a perception or perhaps the reality, of a lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

I am all for 626 going up as planned just the way it is, it is way back on the lot to be imposing and will probably do more at keeping the nabe safe from shootings/crime than the police, the DA and the good doctor put together! Also the few scaremongers saying Flatbush will turn in to 4 th av Park slope are over reacting. 4th av is a completely different animal compared to Flatbush avenues retail and residential setup.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sam said...

To Anon 3:26,

I see rebuttal comments in your future.

Peter said...

I think this argument that it's going to tower over the park and ruin its pastoral nature is ridiculous. You can see tall buildings from all around the park.. besides Patio Gardens, there is Tivoli Towers (33 stories), Ebbets Field Apartments (24 stories), several buildings on Prospect Park West (for instance 35 PPW is right across the street from the park and 18 stories), the list goes on. 160 Parkside is directly across the street from the park and 14 stories. 626 Flatbush will be one among a at least a dozen tall landmarks visible from inside the park. If tall buildings destroy the park's "meditative illusion of rurality", that was lost a long time ago.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

You have a point Peter. I wonder though whether you've walked around the park and considered each of the buildings you mention and whether or not they are seriously visible the way this one would be.

Also, has anyone really consider who those extra 8 or so stories are for? They're not the affordable units, let's put it that way. We get to see them for, well, forever, and they get their views. Why are we clamoring for their right to a view? Are we really now just shills for the wealthy?

Anonymous said...

I'm really having a hard time understanding the hate towards Patio Gardens I'm a life long resident of Lefferts Garden and I've never had very strong feeling about the building. Sure it's one of the taller developments in the area but at least it's brick and visually it doesn't stick out that severely. This new development is bland in my opinion and looks like all the other developments around the city that have become so popular to develop. I'm really curious to find out what happens to all these glass buildings in a few years. I'm an urban planner and I can I tell you for a fact many of these new shiny developments are poorly constructed and start looking bad and falling apart after a few years. At least PG has aged decently.

Anonymous said...

Q - 80/20 buildings are prevented by law from segregating the 20 (affordable) in less desirable units.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

You are correct, by law they are to be distributed equally. We'll see how liberally the views that extend well into New Jersey on a clear day are allocated. Still, those apartments are the result of a big chunk of taxpayer backed financing. One would hope that honest lower income folk would get something from the deal.

For those 20% who "win the lottery" I see that a lot of people are willing to go to the mat for the 80% willing to pay outrageous rents by Lefferts standards. And they're likely to pay even more to subsidize the 20%, so now we're talking serious buckage. I'm not saying you're necessarily wrong to feel the rich have a right to build tall buildings that dwarf the neighborhood; but let's call it what it is. You and I won't be living there, so why the generous attitude to a bunch of people you've never even met who have heretofore shown no interest in our area? I have a hunch that what drives the whole thing is a need by some to jack up the overall area income mean to satisfy a desire for faster yuppification. Again, fine if that's point. Those who say it in black and white I applaud your honesty. Back in the '80s, my ilk used to be shocked by such blatant disregard for the honest folks living in the nabe who will suffer the ruthless pursuit of profits and demographic change.

I was on the fence, but all this rah rah for corporate interests and high earners has me feeling sick to my stomach. No one comes out of the woodwork to champion the needs of the folks who actually need your help. Now all of the sudden we get a big cheer in the name of 8-10 extra stories of nonsense. Like you can't build elsewhere than right along the park? Why so tall? Contextual ain't good enough for you? Again, only the big spender is driving this at all.

Unless you happen to make 50% of the mean or whatever is the cutoff and pluck the golden ticket from a beef patty, I'd say you're pretty much screwed as a renter trying to stay living around here. Especially given the attitudes I'm hearing right here on my own damn blog.

Anonymous said...

Don't blow a fuse Q. The silent majority are reading these a-holes and letting their selfishness speak for itself.

Mobile Duck said...

Thanks Q. I needed that. It's like the whole city has lost its collective mind. There's no we anymore. Just me, mine, and those and theirs. I don't mind the natural change of a neighborhood. But incentivizing it to go rich quick is not what I thought we were about.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:22 here. Not sure if your rant was meant for me, but if so i believe you waaaaay overreacted. The affordable distribution in public-finance buildings has long been settled in NY courts. If the bond funding is from HDC or HFA, the respective organization will monitor the project until pay-off. Non-compliant developers are easily sued and may face huge repercussions.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Nope. Not meant for you at all. Thanks for the clarification on the law. I hope I get the penthouse!

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I had this image the other day, after hearing another argument about how this building was gonna bring the crime rate down. It was a 23-story building dressed like a Secret Service Agent, wearing sunglasses what with the blinding Jersey sunsets, watching over the Flabenue and making sure no respectable citizens got hurt.

Anonymous said...

Everybody needs to separate their feelings about the overall gentrification of PLG from their opposition to this particular building. The construction of 626 Flatbush is not displacing anyone and is in fact adding to the total number of affordable units in our area. So is the Lincoln Road project.

I can fully appreciate concerns about the height of 626. If someone among the opponents can prove that building the project at a lower height would still turn a good profit for Hudson, then what's stopping you? Has anyone even bothered to ask them to reconsider?

Lastly, why the opposition to wealthier folks moving here? Especially when they're not displacing anyone? Are they automatically bad neighbors?

-Paul G.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Nope. Not bad neighbors at all. That completely misses the point. The problem is the size of the building, that's it, pure and simple. I've met no one opposed to building an apartment building there. And I have no animosity to particular richies at all.

To your question...of COURSE they can make a profit. It's only a matter of how big. I can't believe that we would even ask whether a developer can make a profit with a big building that overlooks the park.

Are we really so concerned that those profits be mammoth that we would give up our visuals and add significantly to the density, the train platforms, and the area rent increases?

And just because the building is not displacing anyone per se, the fast paced change in demo will. It's a fantasy to think otherwise.

It's not conflating the two. It IS the two. Agree to disagree.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see many people are proponents of 626. Listening to the group opposing it, one would think all in the neighborhood do. They stated hundreds oppose it. I think hundreds are for it as I am. The building is not displacing anyone. It's set back from the street. I for one love to see all the buildings surrounding Central Park, from the park. We live in a city, not the country, so why try to hide the fact.

Anonymous said...

Well then here's a question, if they had left the medical building/parking lot alone, and if the Lincoln road site was left fallow - would the change happening in our neighborhood stop?

Here's what I think: focusing on 626 or Lincoln Rd. or the hospital conversion misses the real issue (which you've raised) - predatory landlords aggressively pushing low income people out. How about a petition aimed at one of these guys?

-Paul G.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I repeat. No one is arguing against the building of Lincoln Road or 626 Flatbush. No one.

The extra stories are unnecessary and irreversibly damaging. That's what the opponents are saying. And yes, I believe that the developers moving in are exactly what's speeding the landlord's greed. So that's why I say they are one and the same.

I support 626. I think it's too tall. That's all. The reasoning people are using to express the height of the building is absurd. A 16 story building can't provide your amenities and lower crime? Only 23 stories will do?

Or is it that people are coming out of the woodwork at all that's bothering folks? I don't get it. Seems like people are fighting over a pigskin that isn't even there.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Still having a hard time figuring how to word it. Let's try this.

The neighborhood seems willing to sell its air rights for what reason exactly?

The gentrification that people desire is happening already. I see no reason to give anything away to developers to speed it. That's really the bottom line for me.

If you don't see the tall building as a bummer, I get that. But why support the project's extra-tallness? That suggests you really DO want those extra stories, and that's what I have a hard time understanding.

Anonymous said...

Taller building, more people moving in who will likely want the amenities that many of us are missing here. More people with jobs, with money to spend locally. More people most likely not involved in Gangs and drugs and standing around on street corners. A tall building overlooking the park. Set back from the street. Not displacing anyone. Sorry nay Sayers, I really don't see why you're freaking out. This seems like a boon for the hood. Unless you're all happy with the idling folks, drug dealers, empty store fronts, shady bodegas and status quo. Sounds like another group needs to be formed- neighbors for development of 626 and more luxury buildings like it!

cheryl on parkside ave said...

To Paul G:

No one is arguing against the construction of the building, only that the height be lowered....and yes, the developer has been ask to lower the height of the building and they have refused. Their reason;.....the economic plus of having high rise apartments with views of Prospect Park.

Also, can you please tell me where in this city, when rich folks move in, displacements of long time residents haven't occurred? That's just the way things work in a capitalist society. PLG has always been a diverse community, with various economic groups. Always is, always will be. We have to be sensitive to the needs of our neighbors who could be displace!!!!

As a homeowner, I do want to see my property value of my home maintain at market rate, but not at the expense of seeing my neighbors in the apartment building across the street, force out of his/her home, because of greedy landlords/developers.

To Anon. 8:29pm: When we become like beautiful Central Park West, will there be a place for all the long term residents of PLG?

We have to start becoming more inclusive, sensitive and less divisive as a community.

Anonymous said...

But wait you guys keep making different arguments. Are you against the height or are you against the fact that 80% will be market rate? Would you oppose a 23 story tower with 100% affordable units?

Strip away the VERY legitimate concerns about affordability (I'm with you guys, relax), and here's what I would guess is what much of the opposition boils down to: a debate over the essential physical character of our neighborhood. Are we a neighborhood of low-rise housing (as in the manor and other blocks) or are we a neighborhood of large, dense apartment buildings (as on Flatbush, Ocean, Lincoln, etc)?

I'd be very interested to see a poll where we ask about support for the 626 project from house dwellers vs. apartment dwellers. I have a feeling apartment dwellers are less opposed. But I'm happy to be proven wrong.

-Paul G.

Anonymous said...

'Unless you're all happy with the idling folks, drug dealers, empty store fronts, shady bodegas and status quo.'
Well, for me the status quo is just fine. At least these folks leave me in peace and don't try to dictate how I commute, my lifestyle, etc.

Anonymous said...

Flatbush in PLG is not 4th ave. Not even close, not worth mentioning in the same breath as PLG. 4th ave was and still is an industrial avenue filled with non-residential garages and warehouses that are far more easily and cheaply purchased and demolished than occupied residential buildings and without displacing people. As for not showing Patio Gardens in the renderings, there is no defense. I don't understand the attempt. Hear hear on the defense of Patio Gardens. In the midst of what were crime ridden hell-hole apartments buildings for so long along there (that's not me making a guess, that's according to a longtime resident who says she got used to passing flowers on the sidewalk for people who were shot along there) Patio Gardens is a well maintained, quite nice building that was absolutely a huge improvement to Flatbush when they were built.

Anonymous said...

And just as Patio Gardens has been an asset to the
neighborhood, so will 626 be.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Paul G. - This hombre loves apartment buildings. I can't get enough of them. Big, small, wide, tall. If I can state it yet again, I don't like the extra 50% of height. Sure the Rent is 2 Damn High around here, but in the case of 626, the Height is 2 Damn High.

End of story.

Where it gets tricky, and what I've tried to express, is you simply can't have these conversations about big new market rate (even only 80% market rate) luxury apartment buildings without stirring up people's fears and assumptions about what it all means. That's why I say they're one and the same.

I think the opponents of the project will surprise a lot of people with their numbers, their tenacity and the strength of their convictions. I hope the supporters of that extra 100 feet or so of height will come up with a better explanation of the need for it, because I have yet to hear anything remotely convincing.

Through it all, be mindful of the way you state your case. As I've tried to make clear, in every description of what this building means to the neighborhood comes a bit of the speaker's bias.

My strong suggestion - keep it to the height.

Anonymous said...

Wow the limousine liberals are out in full force today. I wonder how many of these liberals would partition 20% of their million dollar plus row houses for affordable rent tenants? Probably none! It's these ultra liberals that pretend to fight the good fight but deep down inside their hypocrites. Nobody tells you Q what to do with your property, so why don't you just leave the Hudson Group alone with their property?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Tim, and quit parking your limo on Clarkson, its taking up too much space!

This content has been removed by the author said...

This content has been removed by the author.

Anonymous said...

Here's a reason to be okay with 626 Flatbush's height and in the end it is my biggest reason to not support the opposition: the rights of the private property owner. The height was legal when they bought the property and legal when they filed the plans and got them approved. The opposition had time to change what's allowed for new buildings and they dropped the ball. Now again after a huge financial investment has been made, again, there is another attempt to ruin yet another upscale developer's attempt to build in our neighborhood so they too just give up and sell, and then we get goodness knows what in its place. Here is another reason: more high density middle class apt and condo buildings (which we have none or very little of and Park Slope and places that successfully changed schools have tons of) would vastly increase the chances of eventually making the local public schools someplace the middle and wealthier residents black and white both would send their kids to school. Whether there is a new principal or not the numbers just aren't there to make it happen. As many families are in PLG the Manor is still mostly comprised of boomers and elderly. We have only about a dozen children under 10 years old on our block of the Manor, out of 100 houses.

Anonymous said...

the 626 opposition's insistence on calling this "publically funded" is intellectually dishonest, in the same way as their mock-up renderings which don't include Patio Gardens are dishonest.

I have some reservations about the height--I'm a homeowner a half-block away--but I'm willing to accept it if it's what it takes to get this building done and spur real development in the neighborhood.

That petition has all of 72 signatures. To a developer like Hudson, that's not really significant, and they have no incentive to acquiesce. I don't see anything remotely approaching the kind of political will that would be needed to change this project. Certainly nobody with actual power to do anything meaningful has spoken out about it.

JDB said...

I am in complete agreement with Paul G. on this. The building is providing a large number of affordable units and displacing no one.

There are clearly two arguments from the opponents. One by the Q about height and the other about the terrible changes that will be brought on by increased development.

I agree with the fact that the overall height is probably 5 or 6 stories too high for the area. But that fight is over. Let's work on changing the zoning going forward.

As far as pushing people out. Let's be a bit honest, if you moved here in the last 10 years and don't have historic ties to the area, you are a gentrifier and you pushed someone else out and you contributed to increased housing cost in the area. Don't pretend because you have been here five years that you are somehow better than people who are now looking for a decent place to live near the park that they can afford.

And for a bit more honesty about public funding, those of us who own places in the nabe are also getting a huge amount of public funding through the mortgage interest credit and low interest rates brought on by the fed and fannie and freddie.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

When a developer opts for public backed financing, they do so because it's good for them, not because they're doing good. No one is arguing there is anything wrong with that, but let's be clear that Hudson borrowed the money the way it did because it suited them to do so.

However, when public money is used to back projects, is it so much to ask that the public be able to weigh in on said project? Many municipalities do that with large bond projects, since the public ultimately can get left holding the bag. In fact, that kinda of crap has bankrupt whole cities. Look at Birmingham, AL, or Detroit, or almost any town that got carried away during the bubble years, borrowing for all kinds of stuff and counting on revenue they shouldn't have.

I get that people don't usually understand what public financing is. Here's my simple version. The government (city or state) can choose to act like a bank, lending money to make something happen. When they do so, they can attach certain stipulations, like how much of your building need be affordable. Does that work for everyone? The government acts as a bank.

But the government has shareholders, in my view. Those shareholders, are us. It's a democracy, supposedly. So each shareholder affected by the potential outcome should have a vote in whether to lend, or whether to ask the borrower to make changes to their project.

In this case, all anyone is arguing is that the "bank" should demand a shorter building, or at least put it to a vote, or create some sort of mechanism for public input.

The whole thing has sounded fishy to me from the get-go. If you choose not to see it that way, then, well, then...there you have it.

I don't know a single "gentrifier" who doesn't identify themselves as such. Now some of you are putting words in our mouths, or taking them out, or something to that effect. It's race and class baiting and it's a big bummer. You can't defend the tall building so you call people out for who they are. Lame.

Stick to the issue.

Anonymous said...

Fine then, I like it tall. Tall can be quite aesthetically pleasing, and not just for the people occupying the high floors. It can also add nicely to the overall streetscape. Variety is the spice of life.

23 is a nice prime number. And 23 stories is, in the scheme of things, not really all that tall. It's not like they're building the Burj Kalifah on Flatbush Ave.

Added residents and strain on transit? Do you really think Parkside and Lincoln stops can't absorb another 1,000 commuters? Remember, our area is losing population anyway, so the transit argument is a wash.

I spend a lot of time in Central Park, and the buildings on its perimeter do not detract from that park's glory. Have any of you ever been on the north side of Prospect Park lake, then your eye drifted over to the south where you saw the tall building on Parkside, and then said "Aw, man - now my day is ruined because I saw a building, this park sucks". Seriously?

But YES - rezone Flatbush and Ocean Avenue. One 23 story building near two 17 story buildings is fine, a forest of towers is not. I think even the most staunch 626 supporters are with you on that.

FINALLY: I am not a staunch supporter of the project. It sounds nice, but I don't really care. What gets my goat are the arguments being raised against it, which I find highly disingenuous.

-Paul G.

Anonymous said...

Q - I believe you got the public financing bit quite wrong. Government authority issues conduit revenue bonds, which are funded (purchased) in the open market. The bonds are repaid solely from the revenue of the project - the government authority is not on the hook in case of default. Developer gets a lower rate on the bonds based on market conditions. The private bondholders do not pay taxes on the interest on the bonds. In return the developer has to set aside a certain percentage of affordable units - typicall 20% and make all units rent stabilized.

The greatest portion of the savings is from US federal taxes, which means the federal taxpayers partially subsidize the project based on lost tax revenues.

I'm with Paul G - build it or don't, change the zoning or don't, but certainly don't mislead others about the project.

- BG

Anonymous said...

"And for a bit more honesty about public funding, those of us who own places in the nabe are also getting a huge amount of public funding through the mortgage interest credit and low interest rates brought on by the fed and fannie and freddie."

This is a very cogent point. Q, if private homeowners are effectively subsidized by taxpayers, how is this any different. It's a private development, not the building of a bridge or tunnel or some kind of public infrastructure amenity. And from a strictly investment-based standpoint, this is a great deal for the city. Fifty units of brand new rent-stabilized housing with very little risk, built by a reputable developer. PLG is lucky to have this project.

Anonymous said...

ANother good point made by Paul G.: our neighborhood lost approximately 10% of its population between 2000 and 2010. As demographics have shifted, so has density. The evidence is here:

Depending on where you draw the lines, the neighborhood around the 626 project has lost perhaps 5000 people in the last decade. Not a single census tract in PLG has gained population. This project will add maybe--maybe--750 new residents. The argument that adding these new people will bring unbearable pressure onto the transit system is completely false.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I just made this bad rendering even badder-er.

Your welcome.


Anonymous said...

agh YOU'RE!

Clarkson FlatBed said...


"I'm with Paul G - build it or don't, change the zoning or don't, but certainly don't mislead others about the project."

The bondholders are like bank investors, or depositors. The government acts as banker, issuing mortgages. They're paid back in housing units. The bondholders are payed interest, just like depositors. Explain to me how this is not exactly like a government run bank? And how can you make the claim that cities are not left holding the bag when revenue doesn't come through? Someone has to pay, else the bondholders sue, no? Sure the gov't can handle a loss here or there, but eventually they either raise taxes or default, if things go the wrong way. That's risk my friend.

Look, you may be an MBA, so you'll always kick my ass with your knowledge of high finance, but you can't tell me there's no government involvement. Perhaps you have hairs to split about how much risk is involved, but is it so much to ask for public comment?

If in fact this building is the tip of the iceberg, the folks who live in Williamsburg can tell you whether development impacted their train rides. This one project may not...but remember, buildings full of Manhattan working professionals commute, so I'm not even buying the "wash" argument. Let's call it all hypothetical?

Frankly, the commute argument is not one that I care about much, but it's out there. The better challenge will be to up the number of trains, and we could probably all agree on that.

I want to be clear that I'm not setting out to mislead anyone. I'm calling it like I see it. You can always count on me for that.

I'll tell you one thing though. I do know the numbers of opponents out there are much larger than the online petition suggestions - they've been going door to door for weeks. I'm being bombarded with emails from people who want to help. Elected officials are being contacted. It may all be for naught, but it's exciting to witness a real grassroots effort unfolding.

What I really don't like is how easily some dismiss the feelings of so many. Those folks who disagree with the height of this building, in turn, get to read the smug comments here, one of the few places to find any information about the project at all. There is a general attitude of dismissal towards the broader community that has not gone unnoticed. I don't get payed to sit in this seat, but believe me, I have a pretty good view.

You want to see a pissed Q, start dissing the good people of his neighborhood. If folks want to protest, let 'em protest. If you want to buy the bonds, buy the bonds. If you want to sit this one out, so be it. There will be plenty of others I imagine.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Congrats Paul! You just earned your own post...

Anonymous said...

my only arguments have been with bond financing. calm down.

Conduit financing means that the government is not on the hook at default. What you're thinking of is General Obligation Bonds, which are backed by the taxing power of the government. The offering documents for these bonds are all public information and easily available online. these sorts of conduit bond projects have have defaulted in the past - government never picks up the bill. I'm happy to explain this to you off-line if you're interested.

not an MBA, nor do i have a finance degree. i've also made it clear that i'm not necessarily in favor of the project - i don't really care either way.