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Latest consultant's report: arena still ahead of schedule (lead nudges ahead), transit connection barely on schedule (and slowing); 422 workers

According to the latest Arena Site Observation Report (bottom), dated 10/7/11, the Barclays Center arena remains on schedule, having increased pace slightly. By contrast, while the associated transit connection to the Atlantic Avenue subway hub is on schedule, but it's pace has continued to slow slightly.

The estimate, based on cash flow, comes in a report prepared by Merritt & Harris, the real estate consultant to the arena PILOT Bond Trustee. Two months ago, the consultant stated that the transit connection was two months ahead of schedule. There's always a time lag; this latest report is based on a 8/25/11 visit and documents made available 9/25/11,

Reading between the lines

The meaning of the pace reported is not simple to assess, as the consultant's rather opaque. This new report nudges up the arena completion by four days, to 8/23/12, while nudging the transit connection back six days, to 4/1/12. The report does not acknowledge that the latter date represents a revision of the schedule.

The report does not mention of the reason for and impact of extended construction hours--though it seems reasonable to conclude that extended hours are needed to stay on schedule.

And while Forest City Ratner officials last month acknowledged that Hurricane Irene caused some construction delays, the consultant's report doesn't mention such delays. However, the relative slowdown in work at the transit connection may reflect a greater impact from the Hurricane.

Workers on site: 422

Page 41 of the document indicates 422 workers: 370 persons at the Arena and 52 persons at the Transit Connection.

By contrast, at the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting 7/14/11, the developer reported 430 workers on site. At the meeting 9/22/11, the developer provided no numbers, but a representative of the state said, “We've estimated that there are currently 520 workers on a given shift."

Forest City Ratner likely counts additional workers on the railyard, which is not subject to bond funding and thus not subject to the consultant's report.

Still, as I've stated, such discrepancies might be explained by a report from the Independent Compliance Monitor (ICM) required by the Community Benefits Agreement, but no ICM has been hired.

Arena progress

The new document states:
The original High Level Arena Summary Construction Schedule, dated July 16, 2010, had been provided for our review. We subsequently received the Executive Level Summary for Schedule 12M, dated February 10, 2011, prepared by Hunt, that indicated substantial completion was anticipated to be attained by August 27, 2012. The latest Executive Level Summary, dated August 18, 2011, indicates substantial completion to be attained by August 23, 2012.
Punch list work and Subcontractor close-outs may extend the construction term to a final completion date of March 8, 2013.
This was the first mention of this latest Executive Level Summary, though, if it was dated 8/18/11, presumably it was available for last month's report.

The arena's slightly ahead of schedule. Note that, as indicated on the bottom row, the gap between projected and actual spending, down to 1.68% in last month's report, has risen to 2.55%. Click on graphics to enlarge.

Transit connection progress

The document states:
The latest Schedule, prepared by John Civetta & Sons, Inc., dated July 8, 2011, indicates mobilization of the Project began on August 2, 2010, with completion scheduled for April 1, 2012. The construction term of 20 months (August 2, 2010 - April 1, 2012) is reasonable, but, due to early delays with approval of the test piles, had slipped by approximately 1 month. Since excavation and demolition work was ongoing concurrently with the test piles operation, the Project is now on schedule.
As noted above, the construction term had not previously been said to end 4/1/12.
As the graphic above suggests, the project was once well ahead of schedule, but that gap has narrowed. As indicated on the bottom row, the gap between projected and actual spending has declined steadily for several months, and now is .61%.

Agreement reached

In another indication of opacity, the document no longer hints, as it has for months, that an agreement was needed to resolve schedule questions--perhaps because of the emergence of the latest Executive Level Summary

For example, according to the 6/2/11 report, Forest City Ratner and Hunt Construction were supposed to reach a resolution by May 2011.

According to the report, the transit connection was two months ahead:

Pushing things back, and some misdirection

The 9/19/11 report indicated that a resolution was expected in September:

Also, in slightly misleading language, it suggested that the mass transit project was "now on schedule" after being behind--even though the project earlier in the year had been ahead of schedule:

Concrete deficiency

The new document indicates that three separate concrete cylinders had defective concrete. The document does not explain what that means--whether the cylinders were not used, or simply to be measured again. Nor does it describe the size and function of the cylinders.

As the screenshot above indicates, the consultant stated, "we will await the results of the 56-day testing." That milestone would have been the end of June. However, no results have been mentioned.




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