Forest City Ratner's new Chinese partner will help revamp Barclays Center roof. Are architectural/environmental "enhancements" a fix to limit escaping bass?
In response to my query, Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards, said Forest City "is considering improvements that would enhance the architectural and environmental attributes of the roof."
What could that mean?
Well, right now the roof --once billed as public space, with green elements--now offers a logo'd advertisement for Barclays. Also, it serves as a sieve for noise, allowing bass from particularly loud concerts to penetrate residents' apartments.
So, enhancing the "environmental attributes" could mean prettying up that roof with some vegetation, taking a cue from that green roof over the subway entrance in the arena plaza.
to pay $3,300+ for a one-bedroom and look down at a logo?
After all, few of SHoP's renderings in the press handout for B2 show any hint of the roof, and the "night [helicopter] view from Flatbush Avenue," at right, omits the logo.
As for enhancing, the "architectural attributes," well, the arena's built. The roof is built.
How could the roof need an expensive design improvement--and, if it's part of the Greenland deal, it won't be cheap? The only architectural enhancement I could imagine would involve tamping down that pesky bass. (Yes, there were defective bolts on the building's exterior, but that involved the facade, not the roof.)
As I've written, that's been a periodic problem--and source of a $3200 fine--during the arena's initial 17 months of operation. Also, arena operators arena spent more than $500,000 to install 1,800 acoustic baffles last year.
The process has hardly been transparent.
In December, documents from parent Forest City Enterprises, including a Form 8-K and a Form 10-Q submitted to the SEC, plus three press releases, similarly said the pending joint venture would exclude the Barclays Center and B2.
While the Greenland Group won't own any of the arena--the operating arm of which is owned 55% by Forest City and 45% by Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov--it will play a crucial role regarding the roof.
|From the Final Scope; click to enlarge|
What does it mean?
What does "certain modifications" mean? I initially speculated that the changes could regard integration with towers yet to be built, or better sound insulation, or even a new Greenland logo to accompany the Barclays Center one.
My query to ESD was met with the one-line response regarding "architectural and environmental attributes."
So I wouldn't bet that integration with the towers or a new logo are on the table.
But an enhanced (green?) roof could be a two-fer for Forest City Ratner: they could present it as an environmental and esthetic boost, while aiming to fix a pesky problem.
I'll bet Forest City plays down the latter, since it would acknowledge a significant flaw in the arena design. Maybe that's why they omitted the roof revamp in those initial statements about the Greenland deal.
The time to perfect the roof, of course, was when the arena is under construction. Depending on the size and scale of the roof revamp, the work could require disruption on the sidewalks, arena plaza, and/or adjacent streets.
If so, that'll be another Atlantic Yards element--like the impact of the escaping bass--neither disclosed nor acknowledged in any phase of the environmental review.