Wednesday, December 09, 2015

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."

No comments:

Post a Comment