Friday, January 22, 2016

The "residential gateway" at Pacific and Sixth? Only if you forget temporary arena entrance planned if/when B1 tower is built

Arrow to arena added; screenshot from elow
At the Community Update meeting on 12/9/15, I was surprised to hear 664 Pacific Street (aka B15) architect Jonathan Marvel describe the intersection of Pacific Street and Sixth Avenue as a "residential gateway," a designation reinforced in his slideshow (screenshot below).

Yes, there ultimately will be four residential buildings at each corner, with B3 (38 Sixth Ave., at the southeast corner of the arena block) and B15 being built shortly, B4 on the northeast corner of the arena block and B5, once a deck is built over the railyard east of Sixth Avenue, will come later. (The tentative schedule is 2019 for B4 and 2025 for B5.)

But Marvel was unaware--likely because his client didn't bother to tell him--that the "residential gateway" might, for a stretch, become an "arena gateway."

If and when the B1 tower is built to replace the temporary arena plaza, a main arena entrance will be relocated to the Sixth Avenue side of the arena, very close to the school. (See p. 29 of the Second Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments, excerpted and attached to the screenshot below, which is from the slideshow at bottom.)

Marvel Architects slide, annotated by Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report with arrow
and excerpt from state Memorandum of Environmental Commitments
Differing interests?

That's not Marvel's problem. It may not even be Greenland Forest City Partner's problem. After all, Forest City Ratner has sold the 55% share it controlled in the arena operating company to Mikhail Prokhorov's Onexim Group.

The interests of the arena operator and the project developer are not always the same, with construction needs interfering with arena operations.

Consider, for example, that narrowed passageway on Dean Street at Flatbush Avenue near the arena entrance, caused by delays in completing B2, the modular tower at the corner.

But the potential problem raised the stakes for the transfer of the arena operating company to Prokhorov, which went forward only with needs staff approval from Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing/shepherding the project, despite concern from elected officials members and community members.

Of course, the growing sentiment to keep the plaza--an important safety valve for arena operations and a transition point in scale--may mean B1 never gets built. But Greenland Forest City surely won't give up more than 1.1 million square feet of development rights unless they get the equivalent value somewhere else.

"A leap of faith"

Facing questions about where buses and vehicles would do drop-offs on a block without curb cuts,
Marvel said city education agencies "aren't planning how the buses are going to arrive. It's not part of the design of the layout of the school. It's going to have to happen as management issue."

"That can evolve over time, as the building gets occupied and used," he said, suggesting onlookers "take a leap of faith."

That's asking a bit much. As I wrote,  the arena loading dock was supposed to operate seamlessly, to minimize demand on residential Dean Street, with deliveries carefully timed. That that hasn't happened.

Marvel Architects B15 Slideshow, 664 Pacific, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park by AYReport

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