Skip to main content

Ratner's Atlantic Center, Site V gain attention as "worst buildings"

Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Center Mall made WNYC listeners' 11-building list of the city's worst buildings. Guest expert and New York Times columnist Christopher Gray's list, by contrast, was limited to Manhattan--and he said he didn't agree with listener choices of buildings by name architects.

[Updated/corrected] Note that Atlantic Center, and its sibling, the Shops at Site V across Flatbush Avenue, were never aimed to be great work. Indeed, during the episode yesterday, host Leonard Lopate led off by disparaging the bunker-like P.C. Richard store, which shares Site V with Modell's.

Lopate noted that some people criticize ambitious but failed works by major architects, while "there are other people like me that think that the P.C. Richard's store on Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush has to be the worst thing."... Whoever did the P.C. Richard should have been designing army barracks."

The buildings at Site V, clearly built by Forest City Ratner as short-term structures on urban renewal land, are scheduled to be demolished for the Atlantic Yards project. A 400-foot building was initially planned; now, a 250-foot building would occupy the site, nonetheless looming over the adjacent Brooklyn Bear's Garden and the row houses of adjacent Pacific Street.

The Atlantic Center

At about 20:00 into the show, a listener named Dan nominated the Atlantic Center. Lopate pointed out that it was "all of a piece" with the P.C. Richard building previously mentioned.

"It's quite large, it's in two sections," Dan continued, melding Atlantic Center (1996) with its linked neighbor, Atlantic Terminal (2004). Actually, they are now both known under the Atlantic Terminal rubric. "It just feels so out of character in the neighborhood," he said, spulating that "it was only meant to be just temporary."

Gray declared the building--actually Atlantic Terminal--unsuccessful, citing its "nominally classical facade" of red brick.

Lopate said that "a lot of people in the neighborhood felt it was an insult"--it wasn't clear what "it" was--and went on to ask about Atlantic Yards.

Dan said it was "really hard to say," that the project would be "enormous" and he had thought of nominating it, but felt that was inappropriate because it hadn't been built.

Lopate asked Gray about Atlantic Yards, who passed, stating, "I have my hands full looking back."

Lopate mused, "But that area really has not been treated well. A lot of people don't know what to think about neighborhoods in transition."

Gray responded, "There is so much automobile traffic there it creates a very unfriendly human environment."

Despite the criticism of Atlantic Center, there are no plans to demolish it; rather, Forest City Ratner plans new towers at the site.

On Gehry

"Frank Gehry's buildings... really express the human touch," Gray noted at one point, saying they look machine-made but are hand-crafted.

Maybe. In the comments, Park Slope poet Leon Freilich even nominated the unbuilt Atlantic Yards:
RATNER, WHERE'S THY STING? HERE.
The prize must go to Atlantic Yards,
Built over unused railroad tracks,
A monument to private greed
And a burden on taxpayers' backs.

Comments

  1. Regarding whether Gehry buildings "really express the human touch" there are comments on the WNYC web sites related to the competition expressing that the opposite is the problem. Comments from two contributors point out that the doors in Gehry’s West Side Dirty Iceberg building are inept and don’t do a good job toward relating the building to human beings or human scale.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…