Thursday, March 19, 2015

Barclays Center on 14th Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, in part because of unresolved retail space

I'm leading a walking tour Sunday of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park/Barclays Center/Prospect Heights (via Municipal Art Society), and present several posts in preparation. One thing to remember: the project remains very much in process. Some impacts feared, expected, or welcomed have not emerged because they were calculated on a larger/full buildout. 

Instead of Fro-Yo, a couple of Nets 
The Barclays Center, two-and-a-half years in, is still not officially finished.

It's on its 14th Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO), with the latest TCO, effective 2/2/15, expiring 5/3/15. It

Why? The document is not exactly clear, but it's likely at least in part because of unresolved retail space.

The TCO indicates that, however fractionally unfinished, the building is safe and legal to occupy.

As I wrote 10/14/13, it took three and four years, respectively, for the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field to get their Final Certificates of Occupancy. For the Barclays Center, September 2015 will be the third anniversary.

WPIX is coming
The latest TCO states, unlike its predecessors, that there are 26 "outstanding requirements."

(Most previous TCOs said 30 "outstanding requirements," except for the 12th TCO, which had 22, and the 13th TCO, which had 24.)

What are those "outstanding requirements"?

The TCO states, "Please refer to BISWeb for further detail." However, the DOB's website provides no clarity.

Waiting for retail

In the case of Citi Field, the failure to fill some retail space had delayed the final sign-off.

As noted, for the Barclays Center, that's surely part of the reason. (Another may be the reconfiguration needed to adapt the arena professional hockey.)

I've mentioned the closing of Let's Yo!, the briefly operating fro-yo outlet on the Flatbush Avenue side, as well as the advent of WPIX on Flatbush. (See photos above. They're sandwiched by the Nets Shop by adidas and the Nets Lifestyle Shop by adidas.)


The latter will bring a street-level studio--good promotion for both, with the added benefit for the arena of a friendly media outlet.

But I didn't mention how the Elbow Room, the mac-and-cheese joint once located on the little-trafficked Atlantic Avenue side of the arena, closed in (approximately) fall 2013.

That left some retail space, as shown at right, that has yet to be filled.

metroPCS still has a store on the Atlantic Avenue side and, astoundingly, is open 10 am - 9 pm, but, as far as I can tell, a large majority of their business comes from in-arena crowds.

Then again, metroPCS is also an arena founding partner. (The Sugar Factory, which is located at the also remote Sixth Avenue/Pacific Street side of the arena, is open only during events.)

Dicey Atlantic Avenue foot traffic

Remember how original architect Frank Gehry in 2005 complained about City Planning Commission Chairmwoman Amanda Burden’s push for retail on Atlantic Avenue, where the sidewalk left little depth.

Another issue surely is the absence of foot traffic, which could/should change when towers emerge on the Atlantic Avenue side of the project.

For now, the Atlantic Avenue passage is even less welcoming, because a giant crane, and associated scaffolding, further encroaches on (and darkens) the passage.

By the way, a new Elbow Room location on St. Marks Avenue just off Flatbush Avenue opened in September 2013, so Elbow Room fans can get their fix. (The Elbow Room Newark location has also closed.)

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