Monday, October 25, 2010

News from the Construction Alert: 636 Pacific on the way down (remembered by Brownstoner), Urban Canvas program will beautify construction fence

The Empire State Development Corporation hasn't posted a Construction Update, but according to the latest Update, aka Construction Alert (below), all but one of the buildings on the arena block have been demolished, with that last building--and three smaller ones on the southeast block, Block 1129--under demolition.

That last building, of course, is 636 Pacific Street, the rehabbed warehouse dubbed the Atlantic Arts building and known as the home of Daniel Goldstein, co-founder of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, until he agreed to a settlement in April. Demolition is expected to be completed next month.

(Photo and set by Tracy Collins)

In a coincidence that could only be described as brutally weird, today Brownstoner featured 636 Pacific as the Building of the Day. The pseudonymous Montrose Morris wrote:
Had this building been anywhere else, it would easily have been eligible for landmarking, as it is a rare example of [Chep] Kingsley's work in NY, as well as for its intrinsic beauty on its own, especially with the wealth of terra-cotta in the colors, materials and motifs here. The details are in excellent shape, and it is a rare piece of commercial architecture of this type and from this era. Wastefully, it will soon be rubble. I hope the terra-cotta is salvagable. That, and pictures will be all that is left.
As one commenter suggested, salvage is unlikely.

FCR's claims of delay were overblown

Note that the affidavit filed by Forest City Ratner's MaryAnne Gilmartin in April warned (p. 22, or p. 67 of the overall document) of the enormous costs of delay, claiming it "may take several months to perform the work necessary to prepare for actual demolition" of 636 Pacific, and it would "take an additional several months--approximately five months is the current estimate--to perform and complete the actual demolition."

Actually, a demolition permit was filed in mid-September, which means the work would wind up taking two months.

The Urban Canvas program

Well, at least there will be some form of beautification coming to the site. According to the Construction Alert:
Atlantic Yards is participating in the City’s Urban Canvas program which is managed by the City’s Department of Buildings; as such a decorative covering will be installed on a portion of the construction fence facing Atlantic Avenue (approximately 200 feet in length); it is one of four sanction [sic] designs selected by the City. To find out more information about the program go to the DOB web site (www.nyc.gov/urbancanvas) and search for Urban Canvas.
Last month, the city announced competition finalists (pictured here) for the Urban Canvas program:
Supported by the Rockefeller Foundation’s grant to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the competition seeks to beautify construction sites by challenging professional artists and designers to create artwork that can be installed on construction fences, sidewalk sheds, supported scaffolds and cocoon systems, which are used to protect the public during the construction process.

...Following the announcement of the winning designs, the Department of Buildings will launch the urbancanvas Pilot Program. Under the Pilot Program, property owners, contractors and businesses will be invited to select one of the winning designs and install it on temporary protective structures located on or over City-owned property. Eligible participants will have the option of placing a pictorial rendering of the exterior of the project being built on the temporary protective structures in lieu of artwork. Selected designs will be allowed to include the name of one art sponsor displayed in accordance with the Pilot Program specifications.
So Forest City Ratner would be eligible to place a rendering of the Barclays Center on the structures in lieu of artwork. However, the Construction Alert suggests that one of four designs chosen by the city will be used. And, indeed, the New York Times reports that one design debuted today.

Atlantic Yards Construction Alert 10-25-2010

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