Saturday, January 30, 2016

Forest City plans to sell modular plant; Gilmartin claims company never aimed to manufacture modules (the record says otherwise)

There's actually significant news in BISNOW EXCLUSIVE: MARYANNE GILMARTIN ON PACIFIC PARK AND THE FUTURE OF MODULAR CONSTRUCTION, a cheerful pre-Bisnow-sponsored conference interview with Forest City Ratner's CEO.

Not only does Gilmartin continue to blame former partner Skanska--described incorrectly as the original owner of the modular plant, which was a joint venture--for delays in building the B2 modular tower, 461 Dean Street, Forest City plans to sell the factory it reopened last year after buying out Skanska's share.

That means that, not only has Pacific Park joint venture partner/overseer Greenland USA apparently nixed modular construction for the rest of the project, Forest City has been unable to attract new business for apartments or even components.

At the end of November, employees were sent a 90-day notice about the plant shutting down; presumably by then the remaining modules for B2 would be finished.

Forgetting history

And, just as she claimed that the name "Atlantic Yards" was "always a working title" before the project could be renamed Pacific Park after 11 years, so too does Gilmartin stretch credulity:
“We’re not a manufacturing business,” she says. “It was always imagined that that process would be done by somebody else. We now need it to be taken on by others.” 
Gilmartin doesn't remember how Forest City Ratner's 2012 Opportunity Brief (see excerpt below) indicated that, with then-technology partner XSite Modular, they sought a "partner to establish and grow a viable, cost competitive modular factory business"?

Or maybe she just assumes no one will check.

Questions of timing

Interestingly, Gilmartin expects both 461 Dean, which is 50% affordable/50% market, and 535 Carlton, 100% affordable, to open this year. The 550 Carlton condo tower is supposed to open in early 2017.

Also interestingly, Gilmartin says Forest City is still interested in modular construction, just not as a manufacturer. Perhaps not until the ongoing lawsuits with Skanska are resolved.

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