Friday, September 27, 2013

Forest City: B2 tower pushed back six months, because of revisions at modular factory (for "all good reasons")

A Forest City Ratner executive last night acknowledged that the first modular residential tower, B2, is delayed six months, as indicated in SEC filings earlier this month, but suggested there were "all good reasons" for the delay.

Speaking at the bimonthly meeting of the Atlantic Yards Quality of Life Committee, Jane Marshall said that the developer "originally thought we would be able to open in the summer of 2014. It looks like it's going to be open in the last quarter of 2014."

"The reasons for that are actually all good reasons," she asserted, saying the delay has to do with the start-up of the factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that will be producing modules (aka "mods") that will be trucked to the site at Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street and used to build the 32-story tower.

Factory changes

"In starting up the factory, we thought that there were certain kinds of equipment and money that would need to be invested," Marshall said, "and it turned out that, as we were doing the fit-out with our partner, Skanska, we identified ways of making the modular factory work better, by purchasing different equipment, like gantries and other kinds of things to move the mods around and to plan out where modular--different pieces of the mods, where those activities would happen and then travel to other sections of the factory."

"So, that took about six months," she added. "And so we think that the mods are going to start to arrive in the winter sometime--at the end of the year, beginning of the year."

(The mods were once supposed to arrive in August, with completion about a year later. Just last month, the Daily News reported that the mods were due in October. This past Sunday, the Daily News said the mods would arrive "in the coming weeks.")

"If you've been by the site, you may have seen the enormous beam, 12-foot steel beam, that is over the Dean Street entrance of the arena," she added. "That is the platform upon which the mods will be placed. So the erection of that platform is continuing... There is some construction activity, concrete work that's happening on the cellar and the first floor."

All good reasons?

It's surely plausible that a more efficient factory would improve the process of building mods for future buildings, and thus save Forest City time and money over the life of the project. 

But it's doubtful the delay regarding B2 is wholly a good thing. After all, Forest City put a huge crane in place at the site, and surely that will cost them as it remains inert.

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