Skip to main content

Missing from the arena block: the much-touted Urban Room

So, what's missing from the new renderings of the arena block by Ellerbe Becket released today, along with news that Frank Gehry is gone?

Oh, how about two of the four buildings on the arena block, including the office tower known as Building 1 (which, though no longer "Miss Brooklyn, " had become "very special to me," Gehry said last year) and the much-touted Urban Room, a large, glass-enclosed public space.

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), while calling the Urban Room (below) "a significant public amenity" in the General Project Plan it approved 12/8/06, some ten months later, in the State Funding Agreement, required developer Forest City Ratner only to provide "subway station access" to the arena, not the Urban Room "destination" (a term from the Final Environmental Impact Statement, or FEIS) that wowed some architecture critics.

Remember, ESDC CEO Marisa Lago said just last Friday that nothing in the General Project Plan had changed.

Buildings only to the east

The rendering at top is deceptive in perspective, I believe. Look at how the trees in the foreground look almost as tall as the arena, which, if it follows Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, would be 170 feet tall.

The rendering above shows a view looking east from Atlantic Avenue, portraying the arena on a strict north-south axis with a building at the northeast corner and an unspecified configuration of buildings toward the southeast. 

Yes, it looks like there might be two towers, but I doubt there's enough room for two towers, unless one is across Sixth Avenue to the east.

Why close Fifth Avenue?

Originally, Fifth Avenue was to be closed because a massive, revenue-generating skyscraper would be built above it. Now, there's reason to think that there's no need to close Fifth Avenue--unless of course, the state wants to hold out the land for Forest City Ratner.

Apparently the plaza west of the arena would serve the arena as interim open space--depending on city property.

Like Indianapolis, not Brooklyn

The rendering suggests a building much like Conseco Fieldhouse (right) in Indianapolis, which itself was modeled after Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University in Indianapolis.

It turns out that, after Gehry spent so much time trying to get to know Brooklyn, the arena destined for Brooklyn would come secondhand from Indiana.

Comments

  1. If the view is looking east in the new rendering, then something is wrong with the rendering or Mother Nature.

    It appears that the shadows are being cast to the right in the image, which would imply that the sun is to the left. But if the view is to the east, then the sun would have to be to the *north* to cast these shadows.

    As Brooklyn is in the northern hemisphere (I don't think Ratner can change that), the sun should be in the south, to the right in the image, and the shadows should fall to the left.

    Of course, if the view in the image is to the west, then I'm wrong and the shadows are right.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Following up on my previous comment, the rendering could be correct if one assumes that the view is of Flatbush Ave and not Atlantic, and the view is to the northwest up Flatbush.

    If so, then the arena would be oriented along a southwest/northeast axis, perpendicular to Flatbush, and the sun would be setting in the west in the rendering.

    I guess we'll have to wait for the "final" renderings to figure this out.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's not Flatbush. It's Atlantic. The arena goes north-south.

    I'm not sure that Ellerbe Becket was thinking about shadows.

    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…