Monday, August 16, 2010

Flashback: the ad in the Wall Street Journal pitching "Gehry's Newest Masterpiece, Building One at Atlantic Yards"

Let's recall the May 2008 emergence of new Frank Gehry designs (first via a Daily News exclusive) of the arena block, including a new flagship tower, simply designed as B1 rather than Miss Brooklyn.

The article quoted the dutiful Gehry:
"My enthusiasm for Atlantic Yards has grown and grown until arriving at our current design, which works better with the surrounding area than it ever had before," said Gehry of new designs obtained exclusively by the Daily News.
Some six weeks earlier, however, the New York Times had reported that Slow Economy Likely to Stall Atlantic Yards, with the flagship tower most in jeopardy:
In another indication of the problems facing the project, Forest City recently sent a letter signed by the project’s celebrity architect, Frank Gehry, to chief executives of many of the city’s biggest corporations, inviting them to become a tenant in the “centerpiece of the project,” Miss Brooklyn. It was originally scheduled to be completed in July 2009.

Brokers said that developers usually home in on companies actively looking for new headquarters, rather than cast such a wide net. Forest City’s approach was more akin to cold-calling to solicit interest, a possible sign, they said, that the developer was struggling to find tenants.
Beyond cold calls

Two days after the new designs were released in May, FCR--in a tactic previously unreported, as far as I know--placed a full page ad (left) on page A9 of the 5/7/08 Wall Street Journal.

It was another cold call, more or less, and it didn't work. No anchor tenant was found and there are no plans for Building 1 as of now. And Gehry's design for the arena block and thus Building 1 have been scrapped.

But they sure tried to link the new building to "America's creative capital." The problem, I believe, is that "tomorrow's most innovative businesses" have had a copious amount of existing office space to choose from.

And didn't Jane Jacobs say that new ideas often needed old buildings?

The copy reads:
A New Way of Thinking. A New Way of Working. Brooklyn's Newest Landmark. Gehry's Newest Masterpiece. Building One at Atlantic Yards.

Introducing 650,000 square feet of first-class office space for tomorrow's most innovative businesses, crowning Barclays Center, the new home of the Nets, and an exciting 22-acre mixed-use destination in America's creative capital, Downtown Brooklyn.
A fresh copy of the ad?

I acquired a photocopy of the ad in a response to a Freedom of Information Law request that I filed. If anyone has the actual hard copy and wishes to share it with me, please let me know.

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