With bank and unions on board, Forest City ready to test modular constrution; Times scoop doesn't point out that number of jobs likely cut more than 50%
Now that a bank is on board, as are unions, so the news is ready to be released.
And the New York Times scoop, which describes a 25% wage cut, does not offer a comparison between the long-promised claims of Atlantic Yards total construction jobs and the potential now--though, as I describe below, there's a significant gap, greater than 50%.
Nor does the article describe what the new figures--both in terms of wage cuts and fewer jobs--do to calculations of Atlantic Yards' fiscal impact. And the construction unions offer Ratner a bye, no longer pointing out that Ratner has reneged on promises.
In At Atlantic Yards, Ready to Test Plans for Prefab Tower, the New York Times's Charles Bagli reports:
In a warehouse deep inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a small team of carpenters, electricians and engineers have secretly labored for months on an assembly system for turning tubular steel chassis into fully equipped apartments that can be stacked and bolted together at a construction site.Savings passed on?
On Dec. 18, they will be put to the test, as Bruce C. Ratner, chief executive of Forest City Ratner, breaks ground for the world’s tallest prefabricated, or modular, building, a 32-story residential tower at Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street. It is the first of 15 planned modular buildings at the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards site; some are to rise to 50 stories.
If it works, Mr. Ratner and his partners say, they will be at the forefront of a new industry.
It is an ambitious and risky undertaking, more so than the $1 billion Barclays Center arena that Mr. Ratner opened there three months ago.
The Times reports:
If Mr. Ratner has, as he claims, “cracked the code,” it could lead to more affordable housing, or it could simply mean greater profits for the developer.
The Times describes "a financing commitment from Bank of New York" and "a partnership with Skanska," a Sweden-based construction company operating the factory in the Navy Yard.
Gary La Barbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council, acknowledged that the unions had lost ground to nonunion residential contractors in recent years and were largely absent from the affordable housing field.Under the new agreement, Mr. La Barbera said union factory workers would earn $55,000 a year, 25 percent less than the average union construction worker. But, he said, the trade-off is that the factory worker will work steady hours throughout the year, regardless of the weather.We see this as an opportunity to get into markets we’re not in,” Mr. La Barbera said. We can’t ignore an emerging industry. We see it as creating more job opportunities in residential construction.”
The Times reports:
(Half of the 363 apartments in the first building will be for poor and working-class families.)Not so. Moderate-income subsidized units are hardly for "working-class families." Who can afford $2,700 a month--surely more when the building's done--for a two-bedroom unit?