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Casestudy Gateway Development Maximiliaan Royakkers Camiel Van Noten


Genealogy of the place1

The FCURA2, part of the New Lots area located on the east side of Brooklyn, was first inhabited by Dutch settles in the 17th and 18th centuries and was primarily rural until the 20th century. The meadows of the FCURA remained agricultural even while the surrounding East New York neighborhoods grew and developed. After the construction of the Shore Parkway to the south in the 1940’s and a Ward Water Pollution Control Plant to the west in the 1950’s, the City established the FCURP3 in 1967. The FCURP expressed the vision of the City to redevelop the area with a combination of residential and regional commercial functions with appropriate support facilities. After approval of the 1967 FCURP, the Brooklyn Developmental Centre and its adjacent streets were constructed as was the Thomas Jefferson Athletic Field, but the main part of the site remained vacant until the end of the 1990’s. In 1996 HDP4 issued the second amended FCURP with the purpose to implement the land use plan of the 1967 FCURP. It specified a land use plan for the site and development controls in terms of use, density, and bulk. Financed by the HDP, Related Companies Inc., and Nehemiah Housing Development Fund Co. Inc., the program consisted of following program:

Residential: Up to 2.385 residential units, with 1,475 units for or rent to middle-income household, 500 units of Nehemiah housing built by East Brooklyn Congregations, 200 senior citizen housing units, and 125 to be developed for low- to moderate-income households. Retail: Approximately 60.800m² of retail comprised of 1.394m² of neighborhood-oriented retail5 and a 59.500m² shopping centre with 2,685 accessory parking spaces. Community Facilities: 2.787m² of community facility space, an elementary and an intermediate school (pending funding), and a 372m² nursery school. Office: 929 m² of professional office space. Public Open Space: 45.2 acres of new and improved open space, including a 42.1 acre perimeter park and 3.1 acres of interior parks Infrastructure: New and improved infrastructure to support the 1996 Plan, including water mains, sewage disposal, drainage, new streets, and a Shore Parkway interchange

1 Genealogy: (from Greek: γενεά, genea, “generation”; and λόγος, logos, “knowledge”) is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. 2 Fresh Creek Urban Renewal Area 3 Fresh Creek Urban Renewal Plan 4 New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development 5 neighborhood-orientated retail : provides convience goods and personal services to a neighborhood. Neighborhood retail cater to a local neighborhood’s day-to-day needs. They tend to draw more repeat visits from local residents


The current state of the site is a partial execution of the “1996 plan”. Currently built or in the process of being built are: A 9.7 acre portion of the perimeter park. The Erkine Street Interchange from the Shore Parkway, certain streets, and utility lines. Nehemia Housing Development housing consisting of 378 housing units.

In 2009 The HPD, Gateway Center Properties Phase II, LLC, and Nehemiah Housing Development Fund Co., Inc. filed for a amendment of the “1996 plan” to modify the existing zoning plan and continue development of FCURA. They proposed following program: Residential: Like the 1996 plan, The Proposed Project comprises up to 2,385 residential units, which include the 184 units currently under construction and the approximately 194 units that are in the advanced planning stages. All of the housing would qualify as affordable units pursuant to public, private, and not-for-profit financing programs Retail: Up to 58.500m² of shopping center with 2,067 accessory parking spaces and up to 6.300m² of local retail. These new retail uses would be in addition to the 59.500 m² shopping center that already exists within the FCURA. Community Facilities: The Proposed Project includes a 1,650-seat high school, a 16,000 square foot day care facility, and 2.700 m² of an undetermined community/public facility use. This Open Space: 36.5 acres of open space, including 33.2 acres of perimeter park and 3.3 acres of interior parks. With the Proposed Action, two interior parks would be demapped and would be remapped at new locations, and the third park would be developed at the same location identified in the 1996 Plan. The open space would be in addition to the 9.7-acre portion of the perimeter park that has already been completed. Overall, the Proposed Project would result in one acre more of open space (46.2 total acres) than was proposed in the 1996 Plan (45.2 total acres). Infrastructure: The Proposed Project would include new streets and utilities in the undeveloped portions of the FCURA as well as space within the FCURA for a new bus terminus and taxi/transportation stand. Supportive Housing: It is anticipated that approximately 20 to 30 mentally handicapped individuals would reside within the multiple dwellings proposed for the Elton Street corridor. A not-for-profit organization would be selected to provide appropriate support services. Support services would be geared toward placing individuals in specific housing units, provision of case management services and community resources as needed in order to ease integration into permanent housing. It is anticipated that the tenants would reside in units scattered throughout the corridor and would not be concentrated in any particular location.

The biggest shift between the “1996 plan” and the proposition made in 2009 is the doubling of the surface area destined to the shopping centre. This implies rezoning and replanning of a part of the area zoned as Residential in the “1996 plan” which leads to the following proposition


Residential Commercial Industrial and Manufacturing Public facilities Transportation and Utility Green

zoning plan 1996

1 family housing 2 family housing 3 family housing octets Residential/Commercial Commercial Green

develepment plan 2009


Capitalist’s Garden of Eden1

Taking East New York’s history and current situation in account, the region is waiting for an economic impulse. Scanning for a site to implement this impulse, the Fresh Creek site pops up. This vacant piece of land apparently contains all the possible requirements to be ‘garden of Eden’ for capitalist investments. In a capitalist’s point of view, East New York, still struggling with unemployment, is an almost infinite source of low wage work force. A new large scale shopping center could possibly provide those highly wanted jobs the area needs. The people, on their turn, could profit from the lower prices that these big box stores offer. The area of East New York is pretty much a not yet explored consuming market, which is waiting to be conquered.2 Furthermore the 1967 zoning as commercial function makes a giant mall possible without extra requirements or lobbying for the City Council approval.

The fun doesn’t stop here. The location of the site next to the Belt Parkway, going from Queens around Brooklyn all the way to Manhattan, offers an immense opportunity for destination-retail. It is important to understand that the proximity of the parkway is crucial to even talk about destination-retail, where the mall is a place where the consuming crowd gathers to do all of their shopping at once. The image of the mall as a place for destination-retail can also serve the developers as an alibi to minimize the impact on the East-New York neighborhood. The mall is profiled as an annex to the Parkway and not so much as an element in East New York’s fabric. East New York is a not yet exploited area with a possible bright future ahead.3 The leased market space will sell like hot sandwiches.

Although the center is not scheduled to open until fall 2002, it is already more than 88 percent leased, and leases for the rest of the space are now in negotiations, said Glenn Goldstein, vice president of the Related Retail Corporation, an affiliate of the related companies.4

1 Paradise used as a synonym for the Garden of Eden shares a number of characteristics with words for ‘walled orchard garden’ or ‘enclosed hunting park’ in Old Persian. 2 The New York Times, November 15, 2000, Wednesday, Late Edition – Final; East New York senses promise in a new mall And many neighborhood groups and residents also hope the mall will demonstrate to retailers a fact that many have been slow to accept: poor people have buying power too. 3 The New York Times, Jun 10, 2001, Late Edition - Final; East New York: a Neighborhood Reborn 4 The New York Times, May 16, 2001, Late Edition – Final; A Mall Planned for East New York is 88% Leased


The price to pay From the 1920’s through the early 1960’s, East New York was primar-

ily a community of blue-collar Irish, Italians and Jews, lured there by its moderately priced row houses and tenements. But white flight took its toll from the late 60’s through the 1970’s, and the community -- particularly vulnerable because of its aging, low-rise housing stock - became a target for racial steering and redlining. With less affluent minority householders moving in, mostly as renters, the community’s population grew significantly during the 1980’s. At the same time, the lack of investing resulted in vacancy and housing decay, and the number of housing units dropped. ‘’You had deterioration going on; people moving in because of lower rent, but living in more crowded conditions,’’ said Mr. Winston, an architect from Pratt Institute. ‘’People were living doubled-up next to vacant buildings - most of which had gone into foreclosure and been taken over by the city.’’1

In the 80’s roll-back neoliberalism the government retreated from previous control of resources and regularizations, including public services such as the providing of affordable housing. In these period, there’s an important shift towards private community groups on such needs as social services, schools, affordable housing, recreation, community gardens and local retail. Working with these community groups the city would slowly refocus its housing efforts, turning toward programs in partnership with nonprofit groups that stressed, particularly, private homeownership. “The Nehemiah concept was formally announced by Brooklyn’s Bishop Francis Mugavero and the East Brooklyn Churches at a press conference in June, 1982. Named for the biblical prophet who oversaw the reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem, the plan is to build on the vast acres of vacant land in eastern Brooklyn and offer the homes to buyers with incomes between $20,000 and $40,000.” - “Humble Beginnings” by Peter Kaseta,2

So far - primarily by selling city-owned property for $1 per lot, but also by underwriting low- or even no-interest loans - the HDP has helped create 2,216 owner-occupied homes in East New York. Of those, 516 are rehabs; the rest are newly constructed. It has also either helped renovate or build 2,870 rental units.

1 The New York Times, Jun 10, 2001, Late Edition - Final; East New York: a Neighborhood Reborn 2 “Humble Beginnings”, written by Peter Kasetathe Bulletin of the Province of Saint Mary, Volume 22, Number 2, February 1985, p.36


The 2.385 units of the Gateway development fit in the current plans for the creation of another 3,087 units. The Gateway housing units fulfill a double role in the project: on one hand they are the outcome of the present housing strategy of the HDP, which implies a closer assistance1 for families through collaboration with non-profit community organizations; on the other hand the Gateway Estates are the price to pay for the Gateway Mall. This becomes clear by taking a closer look at the financial structure of the project. Besides financing the extension of the mall, the Gateway Center Properties also have to provide 700 housing units and a wide range of public facilities. The affordable housing units are a social integrator, a compensation for the shopping mall. On the other hand the housing units could never be built without the mall. This is just the nature of a public-private partnership.

Gateway

housing units

NEHEMIA

mall extension

The Bradelwood Organisation

non-profit

public facilities

Related Partners

land

New York City public

private developer CPC

churches HDP retailer tenants

1 HPD has developed comprehensive homeowner- and neighborhood-targeted intervention strategies to support vulnerable households and to keep people in their homes. For homeowners at risk, our approach includes prevention, education, counseling, outreach, and direct assistance for people residing within the communities most affected by the crisis


Fictive Dialogues of Opinions NYC HPD: “analysis finds that the Proposed Action would not result in significant adverse impacts on socioeconomic conditions ... It … would not directly displace substantial numbers of businesses or employees, ...”1 LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER: “They killed us,” Bucich said. “They’ve taken a lot of business away from us. It doesn’t matter whether we are cheaper or not, people are going there simply because it’s there. It’s hard to compete, and all of the local businesses are being affected.”2 NYC HPD: This destination retail would not be neighborhood retail or service establishments, which tend to draw more frequent repeat visits from local residents. Because neighborhood retail or service establishments cater to a local neighborhood’s dayto-day needs, they have a stronger influence on the residential attractiveness of a neighborhood. The close proximity to this regional retail center would, therefore, not significantly affect the residential desirability of the neighborhood.3 E. P. Winston4 : “If you want to get a carton of milk, you don’t want to deal with what we call destination shopping,”5 ENY resident: ‘’They have everything in one place,’’ Ms. Clement said, pulling her grocery cart out of the trunk of a livery cab outside of Pathmark. ‘’I would just go there.’’ And a store promising low prices is certainly enticing for the many people who must carefully count their pennies. Walter Campbell6 : ‘’We’re already (before the Gateway Project) spending our money at these stores,’’ said Walter Campbell, the manager of Community Board 5. ‘’But we’ve had to go all the way to Nassau County and Jersey to do it because people don’t think of East New York as a place where people can afford nice things. 7 Census Data 2009: 60.2% of East New York’s households are carfree. 1 Gateway Estates II, Final Environmental Impact Statement, chapter 3: Socioeconomic Conditions, p.3. 49 2 New York Amsterdam News / Dec 23-Dec 29, 2010: Major retailers’ effect on mom-and-pop shops devastating 3 Gateway Estates II, Final Environmental Impact Statement, chapter 3: Socioeconomic Conditions, p.3.11 4 architectural director at the Pratt Center 5 East New York: a Neighborhood Reborn,Hevesi, Dennis, New York Times (1923-Current file); Jun 10, 2001 6 manager of Community Board 5 7 The New York Times, November 15, 2000, Wednesday, Late Edition – Final, East New York senses promise in a new mall


Fictive Dialogues of Opinions II Mr. New York

Times: Fears of Wal-Mart Fill a Vacant Lot1

Mr. Wal-mart: “Wal-mart NYC would benefit, not harm New York residents.” Ms. CURL2 : A key finding of the survey is that the probability of going out of business during the study period was significantly higher for establishments close to the Wal-Mart location.3 Mr. Wal-Mart: Actually, just the opposite is true. In the majority of cases across the country, our stores are a magnet for growth and development. As for compensation, our wages are as good - and often times better than - most competitors. Our average wage for full-time, regular associates in the state of New York is $13.09 per hour. Reginald Bowman4 : We plan to make sure that the Wal-Mart chain and the economic recovery ideas that it represents comes into our community and solves a very important problem which is jobs. Group of protesters: What do we want? – Jobs! When do we want it? – Now! Ms. CURL: “What this study confirms is that… there is a pie and you’re just divvying it up differently in terms of sales, number of jobs; it’s just shifting. This means that communities should not be so quick to see Wal-Mart as a panacea to local economic struggles. The development of such a store is one alternative, but not the only one.” Mr. New York Times: Nearly 70 percent of city residents characterize the economy as being bad. And New Yorkers are chiefly interested in jobs and low-priced goods, even at the expense of neighborhood stores. Recent polls place citywide support for Wal-Mart at over 60 percent.5 1 The New York Times, February 12, 2011 Saturday, Late Edition – Final Fears of Wal-Mart Fill a Vacant Lot 2 Center for Urban Research and Learning Loyola University Chicago 3 The Impact of an Urban Wal-Mart Store on Area Businesses: An Evaluation of One Chicago Neighborhood’s Experience, By Julie Davis, David Merriman, Lucia Samayoa, Brian Flanagan, Ron Baiman, and Joe Persky, December 2009 4 District Chair, Brooklyn East District 5 August 16, 2011, Poll Finds Bloomberg’s Approval Rating the Lowest in 6 Years, By DAVID W. CHEN and MARJORIE CONNELLY


Dr. Warren1 : ‘’They’re trying to influence public opinion and create a political environment that’s supportive. Their ground campaign is going into neighborhoods and trying to basically win endorsements of noted leaders.’2 Mr. Wal-Mart: Since 2007, Wal-Mart has contributed close to $13 million to non-profit organizations based in New York City like the Summer Youth Employment Program, City Harvest, Dress for Succes, New Yorkers for Children and Food Bank for NYC, among others. Mr. Wikipedia: Wal-Mart has a net income of 15.355 billion USD.

1 Dr. Warren teaches political science at Columbia University and is writing a book about Wal-Mart’s efforts to open stores in large cities 2 The New York Times, March 26, 2011 Saturday, Late Edition – Final, Wal-Mart Tries A Refined Path Into New York


Final thoughts During a discussion at Columbia University, following questions were

asked: “Why spend $192 million on a mall? Why not on a public park?” Newspaper headlines, like “East New York senses promise in new mall” or “East New York a neighborhood reborn” create high social expectations for the Gateway mall. The project became East New York’s personal savior of blight. The mall, however, never had the ambition to establish East New York’s economic recovery. It’s only goal was always to maximize the retailer’s profit, with an additional consequence of creating 2000 low-wage jobs in the East New York region. No major new development is expected to be induced in the surrounding area as a result of the Proposed Action.1

In this scenario the city operates as a referee, trying to negotiate between two players from different teams. By adding housing program to the project both interest groups win something with this development. The plan for the expansion of the mall in 2008 demonstrates how far apart the real interests of the two players actually are. For us the fact that with this project people can have the opportunity to own a house on a responsible basis will have a much more sustainable economic impact on the East New York neighborhood. It is also important to realize that by building the Gateway in East New York, a totally new system is implemented into the urban tissue of the area. A retail mall tends to send much of its revenue out of local communities, while local businesses keep more consumer dollars in the local economy. The development could create a new kind of blight by leaving vacant, abandoned stores throughout East New York. We believe these aren’t the right questions to ask. It is more a discussion about how to successfully integrate this shopping mall, as an inevitable element of contemporary society, into the urban tissue of city. Whether you like it or not, it will only be a matter of time before Wal-Mart will come New York City. We question the choice of the suburban style mall typology. The suburban style mall is by definition destination retail orientated. The car is its only connection with the urban fabric. It is by definition alienated from the existing tissue, whether or not it’s surrounded by a 42.1 acre public park. Looking at the latest plan made for the site, there is no sign of integration of the mall into the urban fabric. We can read the plan as two individuals living together but separate. The parking lot serves as a buffer between two completely opposite worlds. A lack of integration is the biggest shortcoming of the Gateway Development.

1 Gateway Estates II, Final Environmental Impact Statement, chapter 25: Growth-Inducing Aspects of the Proposed Action, p.25.1


gateway mall

gateway mall

gateway mall

Gateway Development  

a casestudy on the recent Gateway Development in East New York, Brooklyn.

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