Wednesday, June 25, 2014

MTA board uneventfully approves Forest City's proposed changes to Vanderbilt Yard plan

With no discussion or drama, the board of the Metropolitan Transportation this morning approved revised deal terms regarding the Vanderbilt Yard.

That will allow the Atlantic Yards developer, Forest City Ratner--and, presumably, the nearly finalized joint venture with the Chinese government-owned Greenland Group-- to move ahead to move ahead on building of the platform needed for vertical development over the Vanderbilt Yard, while getting the timetable to finish the permanent railyard extended 15 months.

The extension is not crucial to the MTA, because the plan for East Side Access--the service for which the yard will become more important--has been delayed.

As I wrote, a Technical Memorandum states that, despite the nine-month extension of time for foundation work, the foundation work would be less extensive, since it would require fewer trucks.

However, unlike in past plans, the work would require installation of 95 caisson piles, each taking two days to install, using two drill rigs. There's no discussion of the concentrated noise impact of such drilling, but the document says the net noise generated would be less than that estimated in 2006.

That's one potential pitfall, at least for the closest neighbors.

The other, as I wrote, is that the agreement might make it more difficult to unwind the deal should the developer not meet promised milestones, or give the joint venture leverage to gain future extensions or concessions in renegotiations. After all, Forest City twice previously pushed back the start of the permanent railyard.

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