Will Two Trees’ BAM Project Go Forward?

two_trees_bam_southThe big BAM South development planned for Fort Greene might not get built after all, now that Council Member Letitia James is calling for changes to the plan. She wants an increase in the number of affordable units and union-level wages for construction workers, Crain’s reported. After an unusually brief public review period, the issue is coming up for a vote by the City Council today. Previously James backed the project; critics said her flip-flop is to please unions because she’s running for public advocate. For its part, Two Trees said it cannot afford to build the project with higher wages. If the development — which has space for cultural non-profits, a library, and other amenities in addition to affordable housing — is shot down, Two Trees will simply build “as of right” on the site. It is located in a parking lot at the corner of Flatbush and Lafayette avenues.
Fate of Big BAM Expansion Is a Cliff-Hanger [Crain’s]

77 Comment

  • Gotta love Tish James, more than happy to submarine something good so she can pad her resume for special interests. Is she the worst Council Member in NYC? If not THE worst, near the bottom. It almost makes me feel that it would be great if she wins her election so we could get a better Councilor, but you all know we’ll get more of the same.

    • she is absolutely the worst. I think Unions are important, but James has supported so many developments in her District that has done nothing in helping the Low Income, & Unemployed people in her District. Only using them as a prop when needed. Most of the working poor in her District are not in the Unions & will not benefit from her new position. I sincerely Hope she is defeated.

  • Go out and get a job in the private sector you slug.

  • This is really despicable and I hope there is enough public outrage that she backs down. Also the labor unions need to come to terms with 21st century realities. I have no problem with the concept of unions in general, but the 1950s style comp and benefits packages they demand are fiscal impossibilities.

  • Tish is the worst. She is now and always has been totally wack. What I don’t get about her sudden love for the unions is that they are generally the most racist, exclusionary group in the city. How many blacks and latinos are there typically at union worksites? Nada mucho….and yet Tish wants to hitch her trailer to them? Ella is loca

  • Hmmmmm. Who to root for… mega developer or politician trying to court union vote?

  • “Two Trees said it cannot afford to build the project with higher wages.” I call bull $hit!

  • Whether 2 Trees does or doesn’t build it is almost irrelevant. Tish James only really cares about Tish James……. it’s the absolute truth. She is a worthless politico who cares about 2 things. 1. Her career and 2. Keeping her base appeased. Notice I didn’t say serving her base, just maintaining them in a status quo beholdent to her.

    • “Notice I didn’t say serving her base, just maintaining them in a status quo beholdent to her.” Isn’t that true for most, maybe all politicians? one gets elected by saying the right thing, not doing the right thing.

  • Whats wrong with wanting more affordable units?? Manhattan has already become the land of the rich. Do we need Brooklyn to follow?

  • It’s not that affordable housing is wrong, it’s that she’s continually holding area improvement hostage so she can point to #’s on the affordable housing balance sheet to her poor constituents who have no actual chance of receiving the housing. Shouldn’t she instead be having developers improve the projects as collateral area investment? Tish sucks.

    • yeah, improve the project ground aleast. Make it look like homes. Not the mote like winding obstacle course w/ 3ft height iron rails. More importantly, how about demanding the high unemployed residents in the projects get aleast an apprentice-ship paid gig, so they can learn a skill to improve future job prospect. most of these Union jobs will most likely go to workers out of the District. What a joke!

  • In any event, isn’t this a moot point? If Tish torpedoes the deal, Two Trees will just build “as of right” without ANY affordable housing or community space. Seems to me like Two Trees has Tish over the barrell, and not the other way around.

    • as of right means they’ll also give up the rezoning they need in order to build residential. i could be wrong, but i would imagine if two trees thought a commercial building would be more profitable than residential, that’s what they would have proposed in the first place.

      • You are probably right, but I think that the reason why Two Trees focused on residential at this site was because the City asked them to do a residential project there. This is one of the three development sites in the BAM cultural district earmarked as mixed use Residential/Cultural space. If they can’t get the zoning change, Two Trees will likely build under the current zoning (aka Commerical) as they are big on building office space anyway (see: Dumbo and their plans for Domino in Williamsburg).

  • LOL at Tish James caring about construction workers earning a living wage. What she means is UNION workers…… I would say there is no way here to defend Tish James.

  • “If the development — which has space for cultural non-profits, a
    library, and other amenities in addition to affordable housing — is shot
    down, Two Trees will simply build “as of right” on the site.”

    Then it WILL be built. Making the first sentence of this post misleading.

  • Politicians and unions……two of the biggest scum groups in the country.

  • ENY is right. If this moron Tish James succeeds in derailing what would be a real asset to the community because she’s beholden to the unions then the community gets nothing….

    “Failing that, Two Trees has promised to simply build an as-of-right development on the site, with no cultural space or affordable units.”

    What a j@ck@ss

  • Hello all–
    Just to add some context– prevailing wage and affordable housing (over the mandated 20%) is something Tish James advocates on almost all the projects developed in the 35th. Conversations re: BAM South are ongoing, but Tish has never “backed down” so the speak in supporting the vision of BAM South.

  • ROFL Teamtish is a Tish lackey working in her office overpaid out of budget that could be better-spent. I’d love to see Tish tear down the projects in Ft. Greene and replace them with market rate buildings with the volume of projects destroyed interspersed throughout the building, creating inventory that is so in-demand that the people living there won’t resort to crime since they’ll be living in a lovely enviornment that will be revoked should they do something illegal. Everyone agrees the projects stink and need to be replaced…. where is Tish James leadership on this? Oh that’s right, she’s bankrupt with any new ideas, just the same old pocket-lining behavior.

    • “the people living there won’t resort to crime since they’ll be living in a lovely enviornment that will be revoked should they do something illegal” is exactly the type of thinking used to clear “slums” and justify building the projects back in the 1950s and 1960s.

      • Yes and that was wrong but it has been proven in many cities that the high-rise project model is also wrong. This city needs to do what Philly is doing….two storey affordable townhouses. They really work. They may not be feasable in NYC because of land costs, etc but the mix of affordable and market is a much better model.

        And yes, once you commit some sort of felony crime, you lose the unit.

        Chicago tore down Cabrini Green decades ago.

  • teamtish…you didn’t answer my question in reply to your post…

    “Please address the issue of the developer proceeding “as-of-right” with no affordable units or community perks if she doesn’t back down.”

    • Two Trees needs a zoning change. If the City Council doesn’t give the zoning change they can build something but it won’t be the plans that have been shown so far.

      Here’s an article from the Brooklyn Paper in January that talks about the changes Two Trees is after http://tinyurl.com/kwgxwdf

      According to that Two Trees would be limited to 171,000 sq ft of housing instead of the 300,000 they’d get with the change.

      • Yes but they will go ahead with ithe 171,000 sq ft and it will be profitable for them and the community loses because of Tish’s bullshit

        • I’d personally prefer a smaller building. The original plans were for a 9 story or so library/cultural space with no housing. Seems wrong to put a huge modern tower next to the Williamsburgh Savings Bank, which has always had a singular place in the skyline.

          • The Williamsburgh Savings Tower was never meant to have a singular place in the Bklyn skyline. It was originally built to serve as a beacon to attract other such high rises to Brooklyn in 1929. But because of the great depression soon after, the vision was never fully materialized. Bklyn has now finally got it’s mojo back and this is a worthy development with wide public support.

    • We don’t believe that’s the likely outcome.

  • Looking at the City Council calendar the Committee on Land Use meeting has been deferred. http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx

    Reading its agenda that appears to be the meeting that was supposed to decide the issue. If that’s correct then perhaps we’ll have to wait on a resolution.

  • I guess teamtish won’t actually answer a specific question. Typical. Shame on me for being so stupid to think they would.

  • Loving the fact that my neighbors agree that Tish James is worthless, but sadly, the voice of the middle class in Brooklyn is irrelevant because of the way the district is mapped.

    • I’m kinda gob-smacked by all the hating on Tish. Standing up for affordable housing is admirable, at least in my book. For a recent 35th district candidates’ forum, I took a look at the 2010 census data. Of 265,000 people living in zips 11238, 11205, 11213, 11216 and 11225 (a bigger area than the 35th but some part of all of these zip codes are represented in the district), there are 64,000 people, or 24%, living below the poverty level. So affordable housing is a real need not some abstraction or evil political scheme.

  • I certainly don’t agree with every position Ms. James takes but I’m not at all on board with the tasteless personal attacks here. And the notion that she should “tear down the projects in Ft. Greene and replace them with market rate buildings” is just moronic.

    • I agree. I just want a straightforward answer to what happens if Two Trees abandons the affordable housing and builds what they want.

      I suspect the answer is “well, Tish is just grand standing for the union support and in the end we know the project will go through because, in fact, we will back down.

      But there’s never any truth or transparency out of the mouths of politicians

    • I absolutely agree with ENY. I think Tish has been a very effective representative for her district, which isn’t easy, as she has a very varied constituency, and obviously, some parts of it are never happy, ever. The personal attacks are very unwarranted.

      • the only thing you see about tish james is that she is black. if she were white, i bet you would have a different opinion of her. she is absolutely terrible.

  • Checking out of this convo. However, for those interested, this statement has just been released: http://teamtish.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-message-from-council-member-letitia.html

    If anyone has any questions, please contact the City Hall office at (212) 788-7081.

  • Not market rate, but mixed use where the market rate apartments were embedded with the lower income units so there wasn’t a segregated economic slum any longer. If you took the entire acreage of the Ingersoll houses and filled it up with buildings aligned to the street grid, you’d be able to include the same # of units, modernized and build to modern specs along with regular income units and create a complete neighbourhood Other than that, how do you propose maintaining let alone modernizing the current projects stock. Urban fail.

  • This projects has been in the works for some time and would be terrible if it does not come to fruition. Tish James wants votes clearly and should have negotiated the terms in the very beginning instead of doing a 9th hour hostage situation which could backfire for her. You need votes yes and you need money to campaign(from the likes of big business..developers etc.) this would be bad politicking on her part when she had an opportunity to create a win win situation. I am all for workers getting paid better wages since NYC is becoming expensive to live in by the day. She should allow this project to go through and hold Two Trees to task to agree to create more affordable units in NYC with her terms in places. If the projects need to be built to scale to meet the cost then so be it. Everyone wins and thats how it should be.

    straight from brooklyn better known as crooklyn never take no shorts cause brooklyn’s the borough- crooklyn dodgers mix…

  • Good for her! It’s nice to see American workers not getting screwed all the time.

    • Big difference between a contractor not wanting to pay inflated NYC union wages and work rules and “American workers getting screwed.”

      Try thinking before posting

      • Yet you manage to come up with this zinger, “Politicians and unions……two of the biggest scum groups in the country.”

        Clearly aimed as chum, and just not true. While I am not happy with politicians as a whole, there are good ones who do what they can, and unions are the boogiemen of the right, standing there merely to be blamed for all that is wrong with wages and work in this country.

        Please take your own advice and be rational about the subject. Foaming at the mouth is so uncool.

  • First, Daniel Golddick screws up the Frank F*cking Ghery designed Barclays center, now this c*nt is gonna screw this.

  • The personal attacks here are totally irresponsible and over the top. Many many people are being priced out of this area due to
    gentrification. Tish is doing the right think for them by negotiating
    up to the last moment for them.

    • Ummmm, from the article, it would seem Tish’s focus is getting union support. Did you read it?

      And if she doesn’t get her way on the union issue Two Trees won’t do any affordable housing.

      But, it also appears she’s now backpeddling.

      No one here is arguing that affordable housing isn’t desirable or necessary.

    • Nope, wrong. Tish is trying to earn points with the UNIONS, not do anything right. Sorry Marsha ie. Tish Troll

    • with all the developments that went on in her District over the years how many jobs has she secured for the people who are not part of the construction unions? Please show us the numbers. Numbers unlike Politicians never lie.