Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Gilmartin: only after B2 opens can Greenland evaluate modular; seeming misalignment no problem; B3 groundbreaking this week

There are a couple of very interesting tidbits in the Real Deal's report on a question at TerraCRG’s Only Brooklyn real estate summit yesterday, Greenland must “see it to believe it” with Tower B2.

Though Forest City Ratner has invested a lot of money in modular construction, CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin yesterday said the company's joint venture partner/overseer, Greenland USA, “needs to see it to believe it.”

“It’s been hard. It’s not gone as planned. And it’s cost a lot more money,” Gilmartin said. “This model is still yet to be proven, but I am a deep believer.” She stuck to her mantra that the delays and problems relate to the dispute between Forest City former partner, Skanska USA, which has led to dueling lawsuits.

“There is no fatal flaw. It’s really about the hiccup we had with our partner,” Gilmartin said, asserting that if and when the building appears to be "just as good as the building down the street," "I would say Greenland would be enthusiastic." But she of course doesn't speak for them.

Modular misalignment?

The Real Deal reports:
Of reports from earlier this year claiming that Tower B2’s modules were misaligned, Gilmartin said that corrective work was done and that the issues were nothing more than what you would normally see on any construction project. 
That's a remarkable statement, given that the whole premise of the construction plan was to be different from "what you would normally see" and Skanska--admittedly an adversary--has said "nobody knows if the building is going to leak."

Working with de Blasio

The Real Deal reports:
Gilmartin also touted the efficiencies that modular could ideally afford, and cited it as a potentially major boon to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal to build 80,000 units of affordable housing by 2020. 
I've previously suggested that Forest City might use its ties to de Blasio to get an innovation grant or something similar. So even if the modular factory is not used--as Forest City initially intended--for the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park pipeline, the developer must find a way to recoup its investment. Stay tuned.

Groundbreaking coming

Also, Greenland Forest City "is breaking ground this week on Tower B3 at 38 Sixth Avenue, which will be 100 percent affordable." Apparently this groundbreaking won't have the same fanfare as the one last December.

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