Thursday, February 28, 2008

So, why didn't Forest City Ratner announce the cut planned for Miss Brooklyn?

It seems that the flagship Atlantic Yards tower Miss Brooklyn has been cut in bulk, from 908,144 square feet to either 528,000 square feet or, perhaps, with the addition of a hotel of 164,652 square feet, to 692,652 square feet. (It was originally announced at 1.1 million square feet.)

A reduction in some bulk was inevitable, given that the building, once projected to be 620 feet tall, was cut, as the project was approved, to be a sliver below the 512-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank building.

So why did Forest City Ratner tell investors but not the public? FCR is smart at public relations, so its leaders had to be waiting. And what might they have been waiting for? I can only speculate:

  • Perhaps the building would be even shorter than the anticipated 511 feet, and would no longer block the bank's iconic clock.

  • Perhaps the developer was simply waiting until construction could begin, with the lawsuits cleared. A reduction in bulk might be seen as magnanimous.

  • Given that a less bulky building would be seen as a concession, perhaps Forest City Ratner was waiting until it faced a significant public relations setback, such as a loss in court.

  • Perhaps FCR was waiting to let Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz announce the cut, and the BP's waiting to decide whether it would boost his undeclared mayoral hopes.
Numbers murky

The numbers are still murky, given that the cut in bulk does not seem commensurate with the cut in height.

As I wrote yesterday, a reduction to 528,000 square feet would be a more than 40% cut in bulk, while the height of the building was (seemingly) reduced only 18%, from 620 feet to 511 feet. Include the hotel and the cut in bulk is less than 24%. Maybe the building is getting a little shorter, too.

Then again, there was no cut announced between the figures of 1.1 million square feet and 908,144 square feet, so maybe there's some slack in the building program that was never explained.

So it would be good to get an official word.

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