Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Times mangles the modular story: only part of the battle over B2 is over

OK, it's not the biggest article in the Atlantic Yards saga, but it's notable how the New York Times mangled Forest City Ratner Buys Out Partner in Brooklyn Residential Tower, which was published online yesterday and is not in today's paper.

I suspect that reporter Charles Bagli, who was busy writing an unrelated longer article for today's paper, was given a brief amount of time to write the Brooklyn story, and nobody cared to get it right.

The lead:
The battle over one of the slowest moving residential towers in New York City’s history is over.
No, not at all. Just the battle over control of the factory producing modules for B2. The dueling lawsuits over cost overruns continue.

The article continues:
But it may be weeks before work resumes on the modular building, which rises only 10 of its intended 32 floors at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Dean Street in Brooklyn, 24 months after work began.
It is the first residential building at Forest City Ratner’s 22-acre, $4.9 billion Pacific Park development near Downtown Brooklyn.
On Tuesday, Forest City formally settled the bitter dispute with its erstwhile partner, Skanska, that had brought work on the tower to a standstill for the past three months.
Actually, they settled only part of the dispute. While the potential reopening of the factory does allow work to re-start, it's still misleading to suggest that the "bitter dispute" over the factory is unrelated to the ongoing lawsuits over cost overruns.

And it's certainly curious that the Times, unlike other news outlets covering the story (Crain's, Capital New York, Daily News, Bloomberg), didn't manage to point out that the project now called Pacific Park is long known as Atlantic Yards.

The article continues:
Forest City bought Skanska’s 50 percent stake in the modular business and the factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that both companies had established for the project, according to a terse statement issued by the partners-turned-adversaries. 
Neither company would disclose the amount paid, but the settlement does not end the legal battle between the two sides over cost overruns.
As shown on the screenshot at right, the article for some stretch of time last night contained two contradictory paragraphs, one saying the settlement "ended the litigation" and the other saying it did "not end the legal battle between the two sides over cost overruns."

The latter was ultimately cut (after I called the Metro desk), but, actually, the whole article needed a revamp.

The article continues:
MaryAnne Gilmartin, the chief executive of Forest City Ratner, said the company was assessing the conditions at the factory and determining how many of the 157 employees and managers at the factory, who had been furloughed as a result of the dispute, were interested in returning to work.
Forest City also hopes to break ground before the end of the year on two additional residential towers at Pacific Park.
I'd say they plan to break ground, since the process seems well under way.

In general, though, it bears watching to see how soon the modular factory resumes, and what can be done about the allegedly/seemingly flawed construction so far.

H/t to Crain's for this credit (though I actually had it Sunday):
The modular subsidiaries of Forest City and Skanska USA Building, itself a division of a Swedish construction giant, jointly made the announcement Tuesday morning. Word of the impending purchase had been reported Monday by the blog Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report.

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