The slow buildout at Battery Park City, according to the ESDC, serves as an acceptable example for Atlantic Yards. Except it doesn't.
They say it would be unimportant, and point to the example of Battery Park City--even though the latter is more than four times as large, with several other key contrasts.
The statement comes in a motion (below) arguing that Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman should not reopen the case in which she dismissed a challenge to the ESDC's 2009 approval of the Modified General Project Plan, though she criticized the ESDC’s “deplorable lack of transparency."
Would AY buildout be like Battery Park City?
One of the key issues is whether it was reasonable for the ESDC to assume a ten-year timetable for the project and thus evaluate environmental impacts based on that scenario, an issue seemingly belied by the Development Agreement that sets 25 years as an outside date. (I'll discuss more of the arguments in another post,)
The ESDC motion states:
The project site is quite large--7 1/3 City blocks. If construction were to be delayed so that, for example, only one building at a time is to be erected across the project site, then the intensity of the construction activity would be greatly reduced, compared to the construction impacts analysis presented in the FEIS....The truth about Battery Park City
Petitioners' essential contention--that decades of construction would overwhelm the local area--ignores the fact that construction of the 17-building Project on an extended schedule would be episodic rather than continuous, with each building built on a modular basis... Battery Park City in Manhattan has seen buildings constructed over many decades, as part of a master development plan, but it is generally thought to be a desirable place to live, work, recreate, and go to school.
Battery Park City is 92 acres, more than four time the 22-acre Atlantic Yards site, so the impact of staged development has been more attenuated.
It was built on a landfill, with no established neighborhood and longstanding street grid.
At Battery Park City, large portions of the 36 acres of open space were built first, while with Atlantic Yards, the buildings would come first.
Battery Park City involves multiple developers and multiple parcels, rather than a single developer controlling one site, choosing to move forward as it sees fit, with light penalties and many excuses for delay.
Will it make a difference?
These points about Battery Park City, I'll note, do not appear in the response papers filed by the attorneys for the two coalitions (led by Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and BrooklynSpeaks, respectively) challenging the ESDC project approval.
Perhaps Justice Friedman knows better.
ESDC Memorandum of Law in Opposition to the Motions to Reargue and Renew case challenging 2009 MGPP