Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Not quite as promised: delayed buildout was supposed to mean arena block amenities at sites for B3 and B4

Also see how the scoreboard can barely be seen from the plaza and roof signage is actually visible from the street.

Yesterday I wrote how the promised greenmarkets and holiday fairs at the Barclays Center plaza have not materialized.

Some other promises for interim uses of open space have not yet panned out, either. As Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, stated in a June 2009 Technical Memorandum regarding the potential for a delayed buildout:
Temporary open space and public amenity use such as retail kiosks, landscaped seating areas, and plantings would be provided on the building footprints not under development, particularly Buildings 3 and 4. These amenities would enliven the street-level environment and provide a buffer between the arena and residential district to the south.
Those are the building sites located, respectively, at Sixth Avenue, and Dean Street and Sixth and Atlantic Avenues.

At the first site, developer Forest City Ratner has provided greenery, an art-screened fence, and bicycle racks, but no more. At the second, until last month it was the storage site for construction trailers.

The official promise

According to the December 2009 Memorandum of Environmental Commitments:
In the event FCRC does not expect to commence construction of a particular portion of the Project site or to use such portion of the Project site for interim parking facilities or construction-related activities, including staging, in each case for a period of time to be set forth in the Project Documentation, then such portion of the project site shall be used as publicly accessible temporary open space, subject to safety and security requirements. FCRC shall improve and develop areas to be used as publicly accessible interim open space in accordance with a design and program subject to the approval of ESDC (which is not to be unreasonably withheld), and such open space on the Arena Block shall include amenities such as kiosks, seating areas and landscaping. FCRC shall thereafter operate and maintain such interim public open space in good and clean condition until the property is needed for construction of the Project.
Well, there's landscaping. And the document did give Forest City an out as long as the space was used for "construction-related activities."

But we've yet to see amenities that "would enliven the street-level environment and provide a buffer between the arena and residential district to the south."

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