The Daily Dirt: Greenland’s Pacific Park Plight

Lender moves to foreclose on loans tied to megadevelopment

The Daily Dirt
Pacific Park in Brooklyn with Greenland USA's CEO Hu Gang (550 Vanderbilt, Arepa Inc.)

The writing was on the wall. 

Greenland USA said it could not finish the remaining affordable housing at Pacific Park without 421a, which lapsed last year. The firm has until 2025 to build 876 affordable housing units — or face a $2,000-a-month penalty for each unbuilt apartment.

But the property tax break’s expiration is far from the only problem:

  • Greenland’s parent company is among a wave of China-based developers struggling financially. 
  • The MTA and Greenland only just reached a tentative agreement to build the first phase of a platform over the Long Island Rail Road tracks. The deck will serve as a base for three towers. The deck’s second phase will support three more. The project is costly and complicated, and has not started.
  • Oh, yeah, and it is a horrible time for ground-up development in general.

Over the past few weeks, I have spoken with a number of current and former elected officials and other sources familiar with the project who expressed doubt about Greenland’s ability to finish the project. This month former deputy mayor Alicia Glen said state officials should work with Greenland to transfer project rights to another developer before the company defaults or its parent firm goes bankrupt.

On Monday, Rick Bockmann reported that lender Nick Mastroianni’s U.S. Immigration Fund moved to foreclose on $350 million in loans attached to six development sites at Pacific Park. An auction is slated for January.

The future of the megadevelopment was already uncertain, but now it is anyone’s guess who — if anyone — will fulfill the vision laid out by Forest City’s Bruce Ratner two decades ago.

What we’re thinking about: What caused modular building startup Veev to shut down? Send a note to kathryn@therealdeal.com.

A thing we’ve learned: The cookies consumed by Cookie Monster on Sesame Street are edible…sort of. Lara MacLean, a “puppet wrangler” for the Jim Henson Company, has perfected a recipe consisting of pancake mix, puffed rice, Grape-Nuts, instant coffee and water, along with hot glue painted to look like chocolate chips, according to the New York Times. The cookies need to be soft enough to crumble dramatically, but sturdy enough to remain intact before being decimated by the blue monster.

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Elsewhere in New York…

— Mayor Eric Adams does not think former Gov. Andrew Cuomo will run against him in 2025, Politico New York reports. “We talk often,” Adams told the radio station La Mega 97.9. “I don’t see him running for mayor. I think he is looking at his next political move and there is a lot of things he can look at, but I have to be ready to run New York and that is what I’m focused on doing right now.” Both Adams and Cuomo are facing a number of legal challenges. Adams, whose campaign is being investigated by federal authorities, was accused in a lawsuit last week of sexually assaulting a woman in 1993. The mayor says he has never met the woman. Cuomo is facing a new lawsuit filed by a former aide accusing him of sexual harassment and abuse.

— The state Cannabis Control Board has agreed to settle two lawsuits that halted the rollout of New York’s recreational cannabis program, Gothamist reports. One was brought by four service-disabled veterans who argued that the state’s first recreational cannabis licenses should not only be reserved for people with past marijuana convictions and their family members, but also veterans and other groups.

The other suit was filed by a group of cannabis companies that already have medical licenses in the state and want to enter the recreational market. The terms of the settlements have not been released, but the board’s action should pave the way for the lifting of an injunction stopping new facilities from opening.

— State Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris is introducing a measure that would require judges to publish their decisions in criminal cases, Spectrum News reports. A report by Reinvent Albany found that at least 94 percent of decisions in criminal cases are not publicly available.

Closing Time

Residential: The priciest residential closing Monday was for a condo unit at 15 Central Park West for $12.4 million

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was $9.3 million for an apartment building at 75 Wadsworth Terrace in Washington Heights.

New to the Market: The priciest residence to hit the market Monday was a condo unit at 432 Park Avenue in Midtown for $27.5 million. Tal Alexander of Official has the listing. — Kathryn Brenzel