Friday, January 27, 2012

Forest City Ratner: Carlton Avenue Bridge "projected completion" early September; arena on schedule (no mention of report on delays); facade company catching up after temporary closure

At yesterday's Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting, held at Borough Hall, Forest City Ratner officials gave several assurances about the timetable for ongoing work--but also left some questions lingering.

Carlton Avenue Bridge

Construction chief Bob Sanna provided an update on the Carlton Avenue Bridge, which is supposed to be reconstructed before the arena opens in September, thus reopening a long-closed connection between Prospect Heights and Fort Greene.

"The bulk excavation is 95% complete, there’s an extensive storm retention system that’s below the tracks. We have two of the three detention tanks now complete," he said. "The north abutment is about 60% complete, we started working on the south abutments."

"We expect to be able to cut over the yard, transfer trains into the newly laid track in February, and cover the trains over in May," he said, "which will allow us to complete the bridge in the early part of September. So the projected completion of the bridge... is the early part of September.”

That doesn't give them a lot of slack, given that the arena is supposed to open September 28, following several pre-opening events. I wrote earlier this month about the possibility of the schedule slipping, and the non-punitive penalties--a stall on starting a new tower--facing Forest City.

Arena schedule

“And the arena is on schedule, just FYI,” chimed in Forest City executive Jane Marshall.

Sanna followed up: “The framing of the arena is now complete, we had a little onsite ceremony with the workers, last of the beams. The framing system is 97% complete... Much of that [roof] tarping has been put in place, so we can advance the interior construction... We're in the process of finalizing permanent connections to the electrical system.”

Unmentioned: the report earlier this month by the construction monitor to bondholders that the arena has been behind for three months, in terms of actual vs. projected cash flow.

Facade work

Sanna took note of the closure and reopening of ASI Limited, the fabricator of the metal facade.

"And the facade work continues," he said. "It's been noted we had some difficulty with the facade contractor in December. Fortunately, all contracts of that size, we have a bond, an insurance policy that requires an insurance company to step in if the vendor can't complete the work. That bond company is part of Farmers' Fund"

"Farmer’s Fund has now taken over that entire operation, and re-employed all the employees," Sanna said. "Fabrication of the facade has resumed since the first week of January... We have people at the plant monitoring the completion of that work... It’s not quite back on schedule yet, but we are about to turn the corner and have that work in place.”

He didn't mention, as Crain's New York Business reported, that contractor Hunt Construction was looking for additional subcontractors to make the steel.

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