Skip to main content

Forest City: 10th floor modules in B2 prefab tower must be realigned before building higher (but what about lower floors?)

Lower floors of B2, just above scaffolding
Developer Forest City Ratner has finally admitted that modules in the long-stalled B2 tower--once touted as "cracking the code" for modular construction--require realignment before the building can be finished.

Curiously enough, Forest City on Monday disclosed plans to realign (and possibly lift-and-reset) modules only on the tenth and current highest floor, as if setting a new base for the additional 22 floors.

Forest City acknowledged that the tolerances--the permissible range of variation--of the tenth floor modules require tightening.

However, as shown in the photo at right, the lower floors seem slightly out of alignment as well. Former contractor Skanska has warned that "No one knows if the building is going to leak."

So the announcement--which said work could begin April 1--leaves some question marks. Realigning the lower floor modules would be more complicated and likely require modules to be removed.  (It's unclear when the cumulative effect of out-of-tolerance modules becomes a problem.)

Forest City, which sunk millions of dollars into the modular factor at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, has said only a finished building will be proof of concept and, potentially, the launch of a new business line. It has been producing new modules at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and should have a stream available for construction.

In the shorter term, it likely wants simply to finish the 32-story B2, not default on construction loans, and deliver the promised housing. Half of the 363 units will be below-market/affordable.

Stalled since August

The tower at Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street, the first started in the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Project, has been stalled at ten stories since last August, after a bitter dispute between Forest City and Skanska--also the lead partner in the modular factory--emerged.

The two parties have filed dueling lawsuits; Skanska asserts that Forest City's plan was flawed, while Forest City blames Skanska's execution. Forest City has since taken over the modular factory, rehiring some workers, newly hiring others. (Updated and clarified) While not involved in the factory, Turner Construction is the new general contractor for the overall construction of the building.

While modular construction was originally supposed to save time and money, the building may take four years, not two, and Forest City announced a $146 million impairment (potential loss) only some of which may be recovered in litigation. 

Forest City's new partner/overseer, Greenland Holdings, since decided that it was feasible to build the next towers via conventional construction. That means--take your pick--that Greenland thinks (unlike Forest City) it can make a sufficient profit; or Greenland can accept a lower profit; or the market has since changed. 

Or maybe it just that modular would not work as expected, and Forest City made a deal to share some risk.

The tower, when launched in December 2012, was supposed to be the tallest modular building in the world, but has since been eclipsed.

Announcing the plans

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Brooklyn Construction Update (below), issued yesterday by Empire State Development after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners, contained the following news regarding B2:
B2 is targeting 4/01/15 as the commencement date for the activities to prepare for the erection of modules for floors 11, 12, and 13. Preparation may require 5-10 business days depending on how difficult the work is as well as weather conditions. These preparation activities will be to focus on tightening up the tolerances of the 10th floor modules that are in place in preparation for setting the next floors. Work shall include re-aligning modules in plan [updated: horizontal view] and elevation using bolt on adjustment plates and/or possibly lifting some modules with the crane and re-setting. Other activities on site that may be performed during this time will be to prepare temporary sprinkler standpipe and the metal stairs for the setting of the 11th floor.
An "easy fix"?

“Am I right that some of the mods are out of alignment,” asked resident Robert Puca at a meeting last November.

“So I know that a lot of people have asked this question, it’s been written about,” responded Forest City executive Ashley Cotton. "Any alignment issues that may exist… is an easy fix. I know what you mean, that’s why I don’t want to say you’re imagining it, but I have been assured again and again that we know exactly what's going on there, and that will be fixed."

Now we know at least the start of the fix.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…