Brooklyn Nets’ “affordable” apartments will cost up to $3500 a month

Those who recall the original Brooklyn Nets arena slogan of “Jobs, Housing, and Hoops!” may have been wondering when the “housing” part will enter the equation, what with development still halted on the modular housing tower whose builder quit saying it was financially unfeasible. Down the block from the arena, though, there’s another building going up, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was excited to announce yesterday that it will be all affordable units:

“There are very few phrases I like better than 100% affordable housing, so this program is off to a good start.”

As Crain’s New York reports, though, “affordable” doesn’t actually mean so much affordable:

The 298 apartments at 535 Carlton will be available to tenants from five different income tiers: half for tenants who earn up to 165% of the area median income for a family of four, which is $83,900 a year; 15% for tenants earning up to 145% of the AMI; 5% for those earning up to 100%; 25% for those earning up to 60%; and 5% for those earning up to 40%. More than half the tenants in the new building will pay rent of about $3,500 a month for a two-bedroom apartment.

Yes, it’s still housing, and yes, there’s some benefit to getting more apartments of any kind in a borough that’s facing rising demand. (Though there’s also a growing amount of evidence that new upscale development tends to drive even more increased demand than it helps to quench.) But it still means that the overall project is getting something on the order of $2 billion in cash and land and tax breaks to build a private sports arena and an unknown number of apartments that will mostly be way more expensive than most locals can afford. But at least you can’t put a price on giving Brooklynites the chance to watch … er, professional basketball?


Become an FoS Supporter, get cool swag, enough karma points to last till 2016!

It’s that time again! If you love, or even like, or even find yourself enraged by but can’t live without what you’ve read on Field of Schemes this past year, please consider becoming an FoS Supporter. In addition to the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped allow me to devote multiple hours to this site every day and at least approach minimum wage in return, you get stuff!

  • Full-Year Supporters ($100) receive an ad of their choice in the top right corner of this space, on a rotating basis, for 12 months. They also get all the premiums listed below.
  • Half-Year Supporters ($50) receive the same premiums and the ad, but only for (wait for it) six months.
  • Mini-Supporters ($25) receive just the premiums.

Premiums: In addition to the FoS Supporter pins that we debuted last year, you’ll receive a limited-edition set of 12 stadium and arena trading cards, with photos taken by myself and FoS correspondent David Dyte (photographer/author of As Seen In Brooklyn — see more of his photos here), and all your favorite stadium swindle stats and trivia on the back. Design isn’t completely finalized yet, but they’ll look something like this:


You’ll also get access to live chats with myself (and, I’m hoping, some other stadium experts as well) throughout the year. Although, after the initial round of chats this year, I’ve concluded that these work better if they’re open to questions from all, not just Supporters, so most 2015 chats won’t be subscription-only. Your donations will still help me afford the time to organize and conduct the chats, though, so if you think that’s worth some of your hard-earned cash, please consider Supportership. To sign up, click here! That’s here! (Or the button below, which works the same.)

Any questions, drop me an email, or just ask in comments below. And as always, huge thanks to those who have contributed over the last year and a half of the Supporter program: I’ve been able to provide far more comprehensive coverage of the ever-expanding world of sports (and sometimes non-sports) subsidies as a result, and both I and the rest of the readers of this site are eternally grateful.


Vegas councilmember explains MLS stadium flip-flop: “TESLAAAAAAAAAAA!”

There’s a long article in today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal profiling the “two Bobs” on either side of the city’s MLS stadium proposal: Bob Beers, the councilmember who’s been savaging the proposal on his blog, and Bob Coffin, the councilmember who was agin the stadium plan until it was amended to include $25 million in parks for his district, after which he was fer it. (Coffin says he finds accusations that he was “bribed” to support the deal “amusing.”)

The most notable bit, possibly, comes at the very end, where Coffin has this to say about how throwing public dollars at private enterprises can be good sometimes:

“I’m used to dealing with competing interests … People who want zero public dollars haven’t seen how things are built in this state. Tesla. Can I say Tesla? Can say I say that five or six times?”

You can say it all you want, but it might not mean what you think it means.

Panthers could leave Florida without arena subsidies, says Broward ex-mayor pushing arena subsidies

And today in wild speculation about the future of the Florida Panthers, outgoing Broward County mayor Barbara Sharief says that Panthers co-owner Vincent Viola wants $78 million in operating subsidies over the next 14 years, or else he might take the team elsewhere. And that would be bad because AEG’s contract to bring concerts to the BB&T Center is with the Panthers, not the county, and without that “it would be very difficult for us to book shows and to fill up the arena. So essentially … we would have a concrete dinosaur just sitting there.” (Presumably there would be no way for the county to cut its own deal with AEG, because if the Panthers left there would be too many old memories for them to want to book concerts into Broward without breaking down in tears.)

You may remember Sharief as the mayor who earlier this year hired a consultant to see whether it would be cost-effective to meet Viola’s subsidy demands in order to keep the Panthers in town, notwithstanding that the Panthers’ lease runs through 2028 and Viola isn’t actually offering to extend the lease any if he gets his $78 million. County mayors rotate each year, so Sharief will return to being a regular county commissioner in 2015, but she took one last shot at some publicity with this Panthers announcement, which included “a preliminary study that shows the BB&T Center is worth $450 million, but would be valued at just $60 million without the Panthers.” Study not actually included on Sharief’s website, but she does give her phone number and suggest that readers call with any questions, so feel free.

Raiders, Rams continuing to move everywhere or nowhere, according to wild-ass guesses

Today in wild speculation about which NFL teams might move where:

A different former Oakland Raiders player says that the team could maybe possibly move, though this one has San Antonio as their maybe possibly destination!

“I think they should stay in Oakland if at all possible and I know that’s what the team is trying to do,” [Tim] Brown said on Friday’s PFT Live. “They’re trying to work out a deal to stay there, but it’s tough because the city of Oakland doesn’t have the funds to get it done and it seems like to everybody that really L.A. is trying to woo any team. . . .

“I’ll tell you, the wild card here, I believe, is San Antonio. I know people don’t want to hear that, but from what I’m hearing the package that San Antonio put on the table was far better than any package they could have ever imagined. So financially the best thing for the team may be to go to San Antonio.”

NFL vice president for stadium grubbing Eric Grubman told owners that multiple teams are interested in moving to Los Angeles, possibly next year, possibly not! According to “sources”!

Eric Grubman, the NFL executive overseeing the LA initiative for the league, spoke during the meeting and acknowledged that there were multiple teams with the intent of moving to Los Angeles as soon as next season, and explained that there remained multiple options for when and where those teams might relocate within the LA region, sources said.

And our old pal Ken Belson of the New York Times says that nobody’s moving to L.A. next year, because there won’t be a stadium deal by then!

Discussions with league officials and owners on the sidelines of the meeting confirmed that the prospect of an N.F.L. team’s playing in 2015 in Los Angeles — which has not had a team for two decades — was increasingly unlikely. … In a game of cat and mouse, no one appears willing to build a stadium until a team has committed to moving.

Add it all up, and you get that nobody really knows anything, though it’s clear that the NFL really wants to heat up the threat of teams moving to L.A. (duh) and getting a stadium built in L.A. will be tough (double duh). Belson also reports that the threat seems to be working to shake down at least one other city for stadium plans, with St. Louis Sports Commission chair Dave Peacock having shared preliminary ideas for a new Rams stadium at one of several sites with Grubman, though “preliminary” apparently doesn’t here mean “with any idea of how to pay for it.”

Stay tuned here for more non-news as it doesn’t happen!

Vegas swing vote could be swinging back to support MLS stadium, because parks!

Remember how yesterday I wrote this about the proposed Las Vegas MLS stadium deal?

The please-let-it-actually-be-final council vote is set for next Wednesday; if past history is any guide, we won’t get much of a hint of the outcome before then, unless Bob Coffin tips his hand before then.

Bob Coffin has now tipped his hand, and it looks like he may be swinging back to the “yes, let’s give $90 million to a soccer stadium for a team that doesn’t exist yet” side:

Councilman Bob Coffin, a consistent opponent to using public money for the stadium, has softened his stance and appears ready to support a new financing plan that includes $25 million in city money to build the stadium. The key to Coffin’s shift is a new wrinkle in the plan that would guarantee about $25 million for improvements to city parks, something Coffin says is especially needed in older neighborhoods like the ones he represents.

“It’s not the same deal as it was. They’ve improved it a great deal,” Coffin said. “The debt potential is really minimized now. The raid on the revenues for the parks has stopped … It’s going to really help us.”

The Las Vegas Sun isn’t clear on exactly when Coffin said this, but given other quotes from Coffin included in their article, it’s pretty clear that his main concern was getting more money for parks, and now that the stadium deal includes some more money for parks on top of the $90 million for the stadium, he’s all, “Cool, more money for parks!” Which helps explain why the only revision the stadium proponents made in the deal since the council voted in October to “reduce or eliminate” public subsidies for the project was to throw some money at parks, because why worry about making the whole council happy when you can just placate the one swing vote?

All of which should be a lesson: If you’re an elected representative body and want to eliminate public subsidies for a sports stadium, you might want to actually vote down the public subsidies, rather than voting for “Here’s another two months, see if you can come up with something that will get one councilmember to defect from our narrow majority.” Just a suggestion.

Hamilton County officially approves $7.5m for new Bengals scoreboard under “state-of-the-art” clause

The Hamilton County Commission voted Wednesday to approve paying for three-quarters of the cost of a new $10 million scoreboard for the Cincinnati Bengals — something it actually agreed to back in April, and which it kind of had to given the horrible, horrible lease the county agreed to with the Bengals that requires the public to buy the team anything that the kids down the block have. But anyway, now it’s official and all.

I’d love to show you a rendering of what the new scoreboard will look like, but this is all that any news sites have run with their stories. Is that the old scoreboard, or a Photoshopped rendition of what the new scoreboard will look like? I’m going to have to find somebody who’s actually been to a Bengals game to tell me, aren’t I? At least maybe this year some fans won’t be too embarrassed to admit it.

D.C.’s old and new mayors agree to find $150m for United stadium by taking it from somewhere or another

Outgoing D.C. mayor Vincent Gray and incoming mayor Muriel Bowser have reached an agreement on how to raise cash to fund land and infrastructure for the new D.C. United stadium, and it’s … “take the money from somewhere else and figure it out later”:

The details remain vague, but Gray announced on Thursday that he will send to the council a supplemental budget and a series of so-called “reprogrammings” — funding shifts from one pot to another — to cover the District’s anticipated $139 million share of the $300 million project.

(The council actually approved $150 million in spending, which should cover any additional money that developer Akridge wants for its property, unless it doesn’t.)

Sure would be nice to know what’s getting deprogrammed to find money for the stadium, but that’s one of the details Gray hasn’t revealed yet. The council holds its final meeting of the year on Tuesday, so presumably he’ll announce it by then, but maybe not much before then.

Ottawa Senators to “actively” pursue new arena on public land, with public dollars

And we have our answer to why the Ottawa Senators sponsored an economic impact study earlier this year showing that the team’s presence is worth kajillions of dollars (with the exchange rate, that’s basquillions of dollars) to the city:

The group that operates the NHL team — Senators Sports & Entertainment — has confirmed to the Citizen that it is “actively considering the opportunity” to build a new hockey arena on the grounds of LeBreton Flats.

The Senators’ current home, the Canadian Tire Centre, is only 18 years old, but it’s also in the middle of nowhere thanks to an ill-conceived plan to make it the centerpiece of a suburban shopping district. (Now where have I heard that before…) LeBreton Flats is public property, and is likely to be the site of a bidding war for the right to develop it, so presumably at least the Sens owners wouldn’t have the gall to ask for public subsidies on top of

Of course, any plans for a new arena will require support not just from private investors but community support as well. Tax dollars at work, so to speak.

Oh, Canada.

Raiders-to-LA “legitimate” possibility, says NFL reporter, citing no one at all

Who’s spreading rumors about the Oakland Raiders moving to Los Angeles today? Why, it’s reporter (and Pez collector) Ian Rapoport, and he says it on Twitter so it must be true:

Okay, then! Somebody somewhere said something that made an NFL reporter “realize” that the Raiders might move to L.A.! Either we’re getting a rare glimpse behind the scenes of negotiations, or somebody is using sports reporters to float rumors that may or may not be true. Definitely one of those two!

Sure would be nice for someone to actually do some reporting on whether anyone can actually afford to build a new stadium in L.A., which would seem to be a prerequisite of anyone moving there. And speaking of stadium funding and Twitter, this doesn’t seem to be a good sign at all for L.A. stadium advocates:

Though of course if an L.A. team can sell the PSLs before fans realize they’re not worth what they’re paying for them, then it’s the fans’ problem, not the team’s. Sure do hope no NFL fans in L.A. can read Twitter.