Tuesday, October 16, 2007

AY timetables: street closures (Arena, 2010) and ombudsperson

In an article headlined Developers To Close Streets Near Atlantic Yards, the New York Sun reports on some coming changes:
In a step forward for Brooklyn's $4 billion Atlantic Yards complex, the state and private developer Forest City Ratner will soon close streets within the footprint of the project...
Forest City Ratner intends to announce the closure of a bridge on Carlton Avenue within the next few weeks, the developer told community leaders yesterday, as the bridge is being replaced in preparation for the complex.


A year late

According to the construction schedule included in the Atlantic Yards Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Empire State Development Corporation, the Carlton Avenue bridge was supposed to be closed between Nov. 1, 2006 and July 31, 2007. Construction of the arena and Miss Brooklyn (aka Building 1) was supposed to have begun in August of this year. (Neither have occurred.)

The newly-announced timetable is further evidence that, in the best-case scenario, the arena would open in time for the 2010-11 basketball season rather than the officially announced 2009 date.

The Sixth Avenue bridge was supposed to close for a year beginning Sept. 28, 2007. The demolition of existing properties on the arena block was supposed to be completed by July 2, 2007. (Neither have occurred.) If the Atlantic Yards lawsuits are cleared by the end of the second quarter of 2008, as a Forest City Enterprises executive has predicted, then it's possible the timetable can be met by July 2, 2008.

Permanent closures

The Sun reports:
The company intends to permanently close the streets running through the project's footprint in the first three months of 2008, creating two large superblocks at the edge of the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Well, the company can't close the streets--that's the city's job, [updated] after they are condemned by the state. Those streets would be Pacific Street between Flatbush and Sixth avenues, Pacific between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, and Fifth between Flatbush and Atlantic avenues. An announced closure of Fifth Avenue in May and the rerouting of the B63 bus was rescinded.

Ombudsperson, when?

I wrote in May that the mysterious plans for the closure of Fifth Avenue sounded like a topic for the Atlantic Yards ombudsperson yet to be hired by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC).

Today, in an article headlined Months later, Atlantic Yards still in search of a watchdog, the Daily News explains why the search has taken five months, far longer than originally anticipated.

More than two dozen applicants have sought the job, and three candidates have turned down the job, in May, July, and September. "You zero in on the person you think you like, they say no and so you go back to the drawing board," the ESDC's Avi Schick told the newspaper.

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