Friday, December 20, 2013

Was module delivery last week for Atlantic Yards B2 mostly a media event? Sure looks that way.

Three building blocks of Atlantic Yards B2, the future modular tower, were brought to the site  eight days ago, on 12/12/13, including a large module at night occupying a good portion of a flatbed, and another at night.

rather small one was delivered during the day (left), so small it would cause little disruption while being moved down Flatbush Avenue or unloaded on Dean Street. Then there was a highly publicized stacking of the mods.

But no mods have been delivered since then.

The schedule: six to eight mods a day

That's no way to build a building, right? They're supposed to deliver  and install six to eight mods a day, according to a 9/13/13 affidavit (excerpted below right) from Forest City construction chief Bob Sanna, filed in response to the lawsuit challenging the developer's modular plan.
From Sanna affidavit

Yes, the first overnight delivery was delayed, apparently by weather, then postponed for two nights.

Still, it sure looks like the deliveries were orchestrated. Why? I can speculate on three reasons.

Possible reasons

First, the delivery and subsequent stacking was aimed to attract media coverage, helping divert attention from the announcement of an "impairment" in Forest City's valuation of its Atlantic Yards investment.

Second, the effort provided forward motion before the announcement of a definitive deal for the Greenland Group to invest in the remaining Atlantic Yards project.

Third, the stacking signaled the inevitability of B2 before the hearing Tuesday 12/17/13 on the lawsuit that unsuccessfully challenged the legality of the city Department of Buildings' approval of the modular construction process.

After all, ENR New York reported in November that the modules were not expected to arrive until January. Another article from Engineering News-Record, on 11/6/13, stated clearly:
Even more significantly, starting in January, [Don] Banker's ironworkers will have to transport the finished modules—complete with everything, including the kitchen sink and windows—to the B2 site and erect them without damage. "First, I'm a fabricator delivering chassis from Virginia to Brooklyn," says Don Banker. "Soon, I will be handling modules with kid gloves, stacking them on-site. It's foreign to us."

But it was clearly possible to accelerate the schedule, if only briefly.

What's the schedule? No answer

Last week, the Commercial Observer asked Forest City Ratner for a timeline regarding the next stacking, but didn't get an answer. They also asked people on site, as reported:
A crane stood motionless at the site, and a construction worker claimed he was unaware of when they would hoist the next unit atop the existing one, saying only that “we don’t know when but we’ll be ready.

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