Monday, April 26, 2010

Despite FCR's announced demolition plans, building at 752 Pacific may become developer's construction headquarters

Though Forest City Ratner executive Maryanne Gilmartin has said in court papers that the developer plans to demolish the building long owned by Henry Weinstein at 752 Pacific Street for parking, another court document suggests that the six-story building, renovated into office space, more likely will serve as offices during the construction phase of the arena.

That makes sense on two levels. First, it would be an expensive and lengthy process to demolish such a staunch building.

(Gilmartin, in paragraph 37 of the affidavit below that's part of the Order to Show Cause, says it would take "several months to perform the work necessary to prepare for an actual demolition" of 636 Pacific Street, the taller but much narrower warehouse-turned-condo building where Daniel Goldstein lives, and approximately five months for the actual demolition.)

Second, Forest City Ratner will be demolishing the similarly staunch Spalding Building, now home to project offices, at Sixth Avenue and Pacific Street, thus leaving a significant gap.

(Photo taken December 2008 by Tracy Collins)

Allegation in court

In a motion (below) filed last Wednesday on behalf of Weinstein to resist an eviction order, attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff wrote:
Almost no explanation is given for why the occupants of Block 1129, which is far from the arena site, must be evicted to make way for the arena other than the statement that the "prompt demolition of the buildings that remain on Block 1129 also is critical to construction of the arena," because "Block 1129 must be used ... for construction-related activities required by the Project's various contractors, for the storage of machinery and materials for the Project, and for parking for construction personnel." Gilmartin Aff. 40. Parking for construction personnel?
That paragraph has a footnote:
Although Ms. Gilmartin swears that Mr. Weinstein's six story building will be immediately demolished for parking should a writ of assistance ever [be] issued, that statement is difficult to reconcile with the participation of Ratner representatives when the Court inspected Mr. Weinstein's properties. On information and belief, Ratner's representatives inspected the building to assess how much work, if any, would be required to utilize the building for Project offices for the duration of arena construction.
Gilmartin's affidavit

As noted on p. 68 of the second document embedded below, according to paragraph 40, Gilmartin does say that "The prompt demolition of the buildings that remain on Block 1129 also is critical to construction of the arena."

That implies that 752 Pacific would be demolished. However, Gilmartin also said that "construction office and storage activities now located on Block 1127"--which includes the Spalding Building--"must be relocated to Block 1129" and that "construction trailers... cannot be located on Block 1121."

So, it seems, if Forest City Ratner uses only construction trailers it won't need 752 Pacific. But construction trailers aren't six stories tall, so there'd be an advantage in using the established building.

If so, why didn't they come clean?

Why so fast? Money

Brinckerhoff's motion stated:
This Court should not countenance the unprecedented acceleration of the forcible removal of condemnees simply because Petitioner and Ratner cynically conditioned the development of the arena upon vacant possession in order to leverage a result that will maximize profit to Ratner while at the same time providing convenient parking for construction personnel.
Also:
Even a cursory reading of this "compelling" presentation reveals the need to evict with alacrity is driven by the desire to protect the "Project's sponsors" from "enormous financial harm," by building the arena and moving the New Jersey Nets in time for the 2012-13 basketball season. Almost no mention is made of the fact that Ratner wisely inked a deal for the Nets to play at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey for as long as three full seasons, 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13.
SCAN0080_000

Order to Show Cause ESDC, Atlantic Yards Condemnation Case

1 comment:

  1. while i agree that it would have been "interesting" to see how the court ruled- it would have only been interesting in terms of how they have ruled in every hearing about AY. Like watching a car wrap around a tree repeatedly. The court would show deference to a state agency and given them a pass. We would have all gasped at the spectacle of the car wrapping around the tree even though we knew it was going to happen

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