Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Goodbye, Modell's & P.C. Richard; final condemnations are coming (in six months) for Site 5 development

In this 2006 rendering by Gehry Partners, Site 5 is at left
and the Miss Brooklyn tower looms over the arena
The final Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Brooklyn eminent domain condemnations are coming.

That means Modell's and P.C. Richard, the cinderblock big box stores on Site 5 (of the Atlantic Terminal Urban Renewal Area) opposite the Barclays Center will be demolished for a 250-foot-high building--housing offices or apartments--with 439,050 square feet.

Sam Filler, Director of Atlantic Yards Project for Empire State Development announced tonight at the periodic Community Update meeting, "We are doing our final condemnation, two tax lots, including Modell's and P.C. Richard. That process is going to take about six months."

Asked why, Filler responded, "The developer requested that we move forward... and per our agreement with them, that's what we're obligated to do." It's unclear how long Modell's and P.C. Richard would keep operating, or when the new tower will be built.

Note that an affiliate of Forest City Ratner, which developed the property in the mid-1990s along with the Atlantic Center mall, owns the property housing Modell's, while the firm A.J. Richard owns the other tax lot, according to the Blight Study. A.J. Richard had previously expressed concerns the project. But both tax lots must be condemned to clear title.

The Blight Study called both lots drastically underutilized, but that, of course, could also have been an argument for demolishing them without eminent domain.

The adjacent Brooklyn Bear's Garden is not part of the condemnation, and some at the meeting last night expressed concern that it not be harmed by construction activities.

What's planned?

The condemnation comes as a bit of a surprise, since Greenland Forest City Partners has not announced plans for the site, and even previously released documentation did not attach a tentative construction date, as in the chart below. Site 5 had vanished from 2008 renderings of the arena block.

Though the green in the chart--which is hardly set in stone--indicates that Site 5 would be an office building, the 2009 Modified General Project Plan left it open, stating:
In addition, Site 5 (located across the street from Building 1 at the junction of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues and at the southern end of the Transportation Hub) also has high potential for either commercial or residential development, while providing a transition (in height and scale) to its surroundings.
...The development of both Site 5 and Building 1, with high density buildings, is central to the goal of the Project in order to transform this very public and prominent area by creating architecturally significant buildings that would surround and connect to the Transportation Hub and by developing uses that would activate and create a vibrant streetscape experience for the public.
Note that the goal has been attenuated by the failure, so far, to develop Building 1.

Smaller, still big

According to the document below, with revised Maximum Building Heights & Square Footages, Site 5 would be 250' and 439,050 sf. It was initially announced at 400' (and more than 600,000 sf), then cut to 350', then to 250' before project approval in late 2006.


  1. Is it possible this building will be revised to be taller again? Perhaps with transfer of air rights from the plaza?

    1. Atlantic Yards, as I've said before, is a "never say never" project.

  2. Anonymous1:24 AM

    The whole project has been a total farce with FCRC laughing all the way to the bank.the arena and the Bk nets are owned by the Russians and the most of the new construction are now owned by the Chinese.are we going to allow them to exercise eminent domain and tear down PC Richard,who in the last 18 years in the community has been extremely vital to the local community this nonsense has to end