As shown in the photo at right and video below, developer Forest City Ratner, which operates the modular factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in partnership with Skanska, is proudly pointing to "Made in Brooklyn," a sign of local manufacturing capability.
Not only is modular supposed to save money and time, it's supposed to mean less impact around the construction site. In many ways that's likely--there aren't any trucks coming to deliver concrete--but, as shown in the video below, the truck, when backing up, beeped in a piercing fashion several times (e.g., 5:40, 15:37).
Also, the truck, which came down Flatbush Avenue before turning left on Dean Street, had to back up into Flatbush and come back in again. At about 10 minutes into the video, the traffic backup--even in the middle of the night--caused a cascade of honking. (Forest City recently changed the delivery schedule from a promised one overnight delivery to four.)
In the Daily News
The Daily News editorialized, Brooklyn on the rise: Making progress, and history, at Atlantic Yards. An excerpt:
Half of the units in the initial tower will have rents that are in range for working- and middle-class New Yorkers. When Atlantic Yards is finished — assuming developer Bruce Ratner holds to plan — the long-vacant tracts will be home to 6,400 total apartments, more than 2,200 of which will have city-set affordable rents, and a couple hundred of which will be affordable condos.Of course, they didn't publish the range of rents for the "reasonably priced units."
The reasonably priced units can’t come soon enough. Not when one in three New Yorkers spends half of his or her income in rent.
Future former Brooklynite Bill de Blasio, who was a major Atlantic Yards supporter, has promised to ramp up production of affordable housing. He should take careful notes on how the project is moving toward fruition.
A key factor is summarized in a little word: prefab. The builders are saving money and time by doing almost all the construction inside a Brooklyn factory staffed with 125 skilled, unionized workers.
Prefabricated living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, stairways and the like will be trucked to the worksite, complete with plumbing and electric, in the form of 900 steel-framed building blocks. Crews will then lock the components together.
The innovative technique is a potentially revolutionary way to keep costs, and ultimately rents, down. There also happens to be less noise and debris on site, a bonus for neighborhoods battered by construction headaches.
As shown in the graphic above right, the family-sized subsidized units (2BR) are skewed significantly to the upper end of the affordable rents, with the plurality costing $2740 a month as of 2012, and likely more when the tower opens at the end of 2014.