Monday, October 18, 2010

Is Atlantic Yards on schedule? Not beyond the arena and infrastructure

What's the schedule for Atlantic Yards? I queried the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and got the following response from spokeswoman Elizabeth Mitchell:
With respect to the arena, transit improvements and Carlton Avenue Bridge, the schedule remains unchanged. Construction is expected to be completed in advance of the 2012 Basketball Season (Fall 2012).

With respect to the overall Project Schedule – we have not updated the schedule set forth in the Technical Memorandum. We are hopeful that construction of the first residential tower will commence in 2011.
Looking at the schedule

That revised schedule in the Technical Memorandum (see third page of this PDF, marked p. 6) does update the overall schedule announced in the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

It essentially backs everything up a few years, but it's already out of date. For example, three of the first five towers are supposed to start in 2010, while the other two are supposed to start in 2011.

Also, two of those five buildings are on indefinite hold. There's no market as of now for Building 1, the office tower, which would be built only if an anchor tenant could be found.

Beyond that, the tower slated for Site 5--current home of P.C. Richard and Modell's would also be far in the future. Neither the state nor Forest City Ratner fully control the site, and the state has not yet pursued eminent domain for the site.

The project as a whole is supposed to be finished by 2019, even though penalties for delays on the third tower kick in only after a decade and penalties for the project as a whole kick in only after 25 years.

Reference, or fantasy?

So that new schedule, like the one from 2006, may turn out to be more of a fantasy than a reference.

After all, the September 2009 Kahr Report, commissioned by the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods for a lawsuit (result of reargument still pending), warned about "a stunning level of new ground-up residential and/or office development to start essentially in 2010 and 2011."

1 comment:

  1. It is difficult not to conclude at this point that the project plan and its construction schedule, the timeline of which Bruce Ratner now says he always knew was false, was anything other than a way for Forest City Ratner to justify their control of the project site and its full 22 acres.

    And now the construction schedule functions to protect Forest City Ratner's interest over that of the public generally when it comes to development at the project site because it enables FCRC to ignore genuine questions about the feasibility of what they want to do at the site, and shuts down the pursuit of alternative routes that would benefit the public more. Basically, the construction schedule saves FCRC money and maintains their flexibility, (what's cheaper than putting a fence around newly empty lots -- better yet charge people to park there!), and locks in the "vision" of the project generally, even if their project's feasibility has never been truly tested.

    It is the ESDC's job to protect the public's interest. Where are they?

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