Monday, April 27, 2015

Forest City plants green roof article in WSJ; despite promises, Flatbush crane to be installed before Atlantic crane removed


I think we now have a clue why the Atlantic Yards Community Update Meeting planned for April 22 was recently rescheduled to May 12: developer Greenland Forest City Partners wanted to plant articles about the progress of the Barclays Center's new green roof.

(They don't pitch articles about, say, their deceptive EB-5 tactics.)

The first comes today in the Wall Street Journal, a mostly positive portrayal headlined Barclays Center Prepares to Go Green, with the subtitle "Thousands of plants will form the largest green roof on a U.S. sports arena."

The gist:
Hundreds of thousands of plants will be moved to the top of Barclays Center starting this week, the final stage in a plan to complete the largest green roof ever put on a sports arena in the U.S.
Three acres of sedum, a flowering plant that is drought-tolerant and requires little maintenance, will be brought to the arena from Connecticut. The plants will cut down on noise from Barclays events and improve views for residents of apartment buildings that developer Forest City Ratner Cos. is planning for the area.
The article does note noise complaints, a worker death, and an unspecified price tag.

Timing and traffic

Note that, according to the original project timeline, as shown in the graphic at right, the cranes on Atlantic Avenue crane and at the B3 site were supposed to arrive in August and be removed by October and January, respectively.

Instead, they both arrived in August, and both remain, as work slowed through a cold winter.

The Flatbush Avenue crane was supposed to be erected in January, only after the Atlantic Avenue crane was gone. After that, there were to be two winter months with no action. Instead, because of delays, they worked through the winter.

So that means the roof installation is proceeding (barely) on schedule, beginning in April, but only because of that winter work.

From the article:
According to Forest City Ratner, the cranes will occupy Atlantic and Flatbush avenues, both major traffic arteries, at the same time during a stage of the installation. Forest City Ratner expects to assemble the Flatbush Avenue crane on the weekend of May 16; the Atlantic Avenue crane is already there.
Norman Oder, author of Atlantic Yards Report, a blog that follows the project, expressed concern over possible traffic problems.
“In the original timeline presented to the community, construction was not supposed to close pieces of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues at the same time,” said Mr. Oder. “It’s a burden to the surrounding area.”
Forest City should have been asked why they couldn't stick to the original plan.

My statement was hardly alarmist; after all, Kenneth Adams, then CEO of Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing and promoting Atlantic Yards, last November called traffic on Atlantic "a mess" around the crane.
An ominous prediction

The close of the article:
As for the disappearing Barclays logo, Mr. Sanna said: “We are thinking up creative ways to keep the logo…We just haven’t decided where.”

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