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More from the AY District Service Cabinet: fewer on-site workers than in May; MWBE figures but not local ones; parking problems moving toward resolution?

While the meeting yesterday of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet--a multi-agency gathering every two months--focused on rats, several other issues were discussed.

They included an update on construction, an update on jobs/contracting, and longstanding--but perhaps ameliorating--problems regarding illegal parking.

Overview: fewer workers

"By way of general overview, arena construction, including the new transit entrance, and reconstruction of the Carlton Avenue Bridge are on schedule," said Forest City Ratner executive MaryAnne Gilmartin. "Today, approximately 430 workers are on site, and since construction began approximately 180 Brooklyn residents have been working on site."

(Note that, at the 5/19/11 meeting of the cabinet, Forest City reported 500 workers on site, a larger number, and a total of 60 Brooklyn residents on site. That latter number appears to have been a snapshot, while the developer is now using a cumulative total for Brooklyn residents.)

Overview: first tower by year end?

"Work on the first residential building is progressing," Gilmartin added. "As you recall, we are designing both a conventional and a modular version of the first tower, which we call T2. This tower sits south of the arena along Dean Street. We expect to decide on our construction approach in the coming months, and we anticipate a groundbreaking by year end."

Note that the tower has long been called B2. Also, At the 11/4/10 Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting, Gilmartin said the developer intended to release designs and start construction of B2 in the first quarter of 2011.

Instead, the tower has been delayed, despite the Empire State Development Corporation's (ESDC) official pronouncement, in June 2009, that it would not be delayed.

MWBE contracting figures

FCR's Sonya Covington offered the percentages of minority- and women-owned firms gaining contracts:
  • 17% of the $340 million spent on the arena
  • 17% of the $53 million spent on the subway entrance
  • 45% of the $16 million spent on demolition
  • 37% of the $48.4 million spent on State 2 of the Carlton Avenue Bridge

Council Member Letitia James asked if she could get a report on LBE--local business enterprises. Indeed, if Forest City Ratner is achieving its numbers by hiring, say, a woman-owned firm from Long Island, then how is that helping the constituents of the Brooklyn groups that signed the Community Benefits Agreement?

As for the 430 workers, "180 of those are Brooklyn residents," Covington said, a slightly different formulation than that made by Gilmartin, who said there had been 180 Brooklyn residents "since construction began.'

Covington added that there have been 90 placements through Community Labor Exchange. That's 20 more than announced two months ago.

Note that Forest City Ratner has long been self-reporting such contracting and hiring figures, rather than relying on the Independent Compliance Monitor required by the Community Benefits Agreement.

Illegal parking crackdown?

James reminded participants of ongoing illegal parking around the site, another subject, like rats, that has drawn significant public and press attention.

Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project for the ESDC, commented that she was near the site a day earlier. "For the first time, I saw all the cars were being ticketed, and they were being threatened they'd be towed," she said.  "I think the problem of illegal parking is beginning to be resolved."

(From a report last night on Atlantic Yards Watch:
I received a call from 88th precinct executive officer, Captain Perez, 718 636-6536. In response to complaints about illegal parking I'd submitted last month, he informed me that a summons officer from the 88th has been in the AY vicinity this week ticketing illegally parked cars. I confirmed that I had observed a difference. He said that his officer was ticketing cars illegally parked on blocks under jurisdiction of the 77th , 78th and 88th precincts. He asked to be called directly if there is observation of an illegally parked vehicle.)

Offsite parking?

James asked if Forest City Ratner would provide offsite parking for workers, as was indicated in the environmental review.

Gilmartin, with a slight edge, replied, "We're going to work on the enforcement approach. We believe with a proper enforcement initiative, we can deal with the problem."

(What number of workers triggers FCR's obligation to provide a worker parking lot? The ESDC has previously been asked, but has not provided it. Hankin said yesterday she'd provide the figure at a later juncture.)

Going forward: Adams in Brooklyn?

The next meeting of the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet will be at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 8.

James told Hankin she has requested that ESDC head Ken Adams, a Brooklynite, come to a Town Hall meeting in Brooklyn. "If you can make that happen in September," she said, "that would be greatly appreciated."


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