Skip to main content

Developer manages release of B15/school design before tonight's meeting; coverage skates over issues of location/scale

Arrow: see scale of adjacent buildings on Dean St.
Marvel Architects, via DNAinfo; plus AYR arrow
In DNAinfo's Design for Atlantic Yards Tower School Unveiled, developer Greenland Forest City Partners has continued but modified a strategy: they're dispensing news as "exclusives" before public meetings, but, for the first time, giving it to DNAinfo.

In return, the DNAinfo article relies mainly on a single source, and dutifully skates over some of the controversial issues raised by this building, including:
  • the drastic discontinuity of scale between the tower and four-story neighbors on Dean Street
  • the original plan to build one block north, over the railyard,
  • objections by neighbors to the location (across the street from the arena, and very close to a fire station, thus potentially entangling emergency vehicles)
  • location near the arena loading dock
  • the fact that the east end of the arena right opposite the school is designated to serve as a venue entrance should the B1 tower be built over the plaza
The public meeting, the bi-monthly Community Update meeting, is tonight at 6 pm at 55 Hanson Place.

From the article

The article begins:
As work begins on a sixth residential tower at the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Parkcomplex, locals are getting a first glimpse of the 26-story building and the public school being built on its ground floor, developers announced Wednesday.
A rendering of the building, 664 Pacific St., by architect Jonathan Marvel shows a geometric facade, mostly in grayscale brick with several planted terraces and rust-colored accents reminiscent of the Barclays Center located across the street.
The building, known as tower "B15" within the 22-acre Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park complex, will include more than 300 market-rate residential units and a seven-story, 616-seat public school on the first floor, said developer Greenland Forest City Partners.
According to the new plan, which will be unveiled in full at a community meeting Wednesday night, the school’s entrance will be on Sixth Avenue between Pacific and Dean streets, separate from the residential entrance around the corner on Pacific Street.
Note that B15, even if 26 stories, is slated to rise 272 feet. The developer has already shown a willingness to fudge some height issues, claiming that the 202-foot B11 tower is 17 stories, while it's at least 19 stories.

Again, note the issues missing from this coverage.

The derivation of the school

The article continues:
In addition to seven floors of classroom space — spread over five above-ground levels and two subterranean floors — the school’s design includes a 3,000-square-foot “play yard” on the building’s fourth floor and a 2,100-square-foot open space on the ground floor, located to the east of and behind the new building.
The rendering shows the fourth-floor play yard on the southwest corner of the tower, partially enclosed by the facade, but allowing for access to the outdoors by way of several large, rectangular cut-outs in the brick.
GFCP committed to building the school as a part of an environmental agreement made with the city in 2009. The Department of Education originally sited the school as a combination elementary and middle school, but many parents and elected officials in the neighborhood pushed the department to dedicate all 616 seats to middle school students.
Note that the use of the school--mixed, or just middle-school--remains unresolved.

Actually, the commitment to build a school--not necessarily one in this tower--was made as part of the 2009 Modified General Project Plan, which is a state agreement, with Empire State Development, and later followed up in the Second Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments. From the MGPP:
At the option of the New York School Construction Authority, the New York City Department of Education or other appropriate agency (collectively, the "DOE"), FCRC will be obligated to construct, on the Phase II Site, at the expense of DOE, a public school (the "School") comprised of approximately 100,000 square feet in the base (starting on the ground floor and located on contiguous floors) for such grades as determined by DOE based on need. The exact configuration of the School would be determined by mutual agreement of DOE and FCRC. It is expected that the School would be located in Building 5 or a suitable alternative, as mutually agreed by DOE and FCRC.
As noted, Building 5, which would have been over the railyard, has been replaced by Building 15, as mentioned in the second document.

Note that the presence of a school is not a gift from the developer. It is, to quote the Second Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments, a "mitigation for the projected significant adverse impact to the supply of elementary and intermediate school seats."

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…