It's not just that, as I wrote, the rendering offers a selective perspective, which minimizes the scale transition between low-rise buildings on Vanderbilt and this 202-foot tall, 17-story, 275-unit tower.
It's that the perspective itself is a lie. It makes the three-story, mixed-use red brick building across the street look shorter and wider than the reality. That allows the tilted tower to fit in the rendering.
Let's try a GIF to compare a photo of that three-story building at 552 Vanderbilt, which has the restaurant Chuko Ramen on the ground floor, with a similarly cropped piece of the rendering.
In the rendering, however, the three-story building at 552 Vanderbilt is stretched and tilted. The far side of the building points down, and both the windows and the brick between them seem widened.
The result? Minimizing the scale of 550 Vanderbilt, which is actually one of the smallest buildings planned for Atlantic Yards.
In China, a huge project
Ironically enough, in China, potential immigrant investors in "Atlantic Yards II"--the second round of immigrant investor funding, now on its third round--were in January 2014 shown the model below, which emphasizes the full scale of the project and may exaggerate at least some of the towers.
(They were shown the model at an event sponsored by the Qiao Wai migration consultancy, which works with the U.S. Immigration Fund, the "regional center" packaging the low-interest loan under the EB-5 program. The U.S. Immigration fund was working with Forest City Ratner and, presumably, the Greenland Group, its pending partner. Surely the model was produced in cooperation with Forest City.)
This model has not been shown publicly in the United States. In China, the audience is different: the immigrant investors wouldn't care about community impact but rather would be impressed by the project's grandeur. And Greenland, now the 70% owner of Atlantic Yards (minus one tower and the arena), loves to build big.
Consider that the southern wall of 550 Vanderbilt, at the southeast corner of the site, is ten stories, while the current plan, as shown in the rendering above, is for seven stories. Also note how the open space--remember, Pacific Park?--seems minimized.
Also note that the model may indicate a change in the project plan--or simply was an expedient but incorrect interim representation. The tallest building on the eastern third of the site, Building 9, over the railyard between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, is supposed to rise 419 feet.
But it looks nearly as tall as the 511-foot B1 and the 510-foot B4, both on the arena block. Could some buildings will be taller or smaller than previously represented? Stay tuned. As I've said, Atlantic Yards is a "never say never" project.
The tight view of Vanderbilt and Dean: photo
The tight view of Vanderbilt and Dean: rendering
The full view of Vanderbilt and Dean: photo
The full view of Vanderbilt and Dean: rendering
552 Vanderbilt, from Google Street View
|From Google Street View|