Monday, October 12, 2015

Gilmartin: project is "about the beautiful landscape that is Brooklyn, the relative low-rise nature of the neighborhood" (!?!)

On Wednesday, 9/30/15, Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin appeared on a panel called "The Brooklyn Renaissance," held at Industry City. Thanks to ThatGreenpointBlog, for posting a transcript and audio prepared by a guest, we have Gilmartin's stunningly have-it-both-ways explanation and defense of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park scale.

"Over two years ago, I moved... to Park Slope. I can say that none of us have ever looked back," she said, responding to a question about the impact of the project on "the surrounding area."

"In many ways, it's something like London, just the scale and the sense of it, it's not the concrete jungle and as we build Pacific Park Brooklyn, which has always been for the most part about the residential and the housing, there's 2250 units of affordable housing in the project, but it's about a diverse, um, a diverse type of housing that ranges from low, moderate, middle and luxury. And we just launched our first condo, 550 Vanderbilt. Again, just anecdotally, we watch first of all the reception in the marketplace," she continued. "And it's in the definition of luxury, when you think about luxury condos: Brooklyn has its own definition--y'know, it's really not about glass and steel and 50 stories up. It's about the beautiful landscape that is Brooklyn, the relative low-rise nature of the neighborhood. The fact that you want to know your barista in the lobby of the building who makes your coffee, and you want to have a garden outside of your terrace where you can actually plant vegetables. And so we are watching and reshaping with the great work of the architects we are bringing on the project, the definition of what does it mean to have a luxury condo experience and amenitized living in Brooklyn. For a long time, Brooklynites didn't have a lot of options for high-rise living. It was brownstone or bust. And I think that we're offering more now in Downtown Brooklyn, and that's been well, well-received. So we're 30% sold on our first condo, and we launched in late July, it was a soft-open. We just had our official opening last week but have sold 30% of the building."

Well, put aside the fact that there's now a plethora of high-rise buildings in and near Downtown Brooklyn. Or that Gilmartin's firm has been claiming Pacific Park as a "new neighborhood," but also finds it convenient to claim "Downtown Brooklyn."

But "the relative low-rise nature of the neighborhood"? Keep in mind that Greenland Forest City and Forest City are building towers that are 32 and 27 stories, for now, and plan towers up to 50 stories. Using brick and masonry that reflect some Brooklyn building materials can't hide that.

A model shown in Brooklyn in September 2015, via Curbed

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