Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What's going on with Site 5? Condemnation process has begun, no hint of public input

Last September, I reported that Empire State Development--the state agency overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park-- had begun a process, said to take about six months, of condemning the properties on Site 5 on the south side of Flatbush Avenue, now occupied by Modell's and P.C. Richard.
Site 5 at the farthest west part of the project footprint

An affiliate of Forest City Ratner, which developed the property in the mid-1990s along with the Atlantic Center mall, owns the property housing Modell's, while the firm A.J. Richard owns the other tax lot.

But both tax lots must be condemned to clear title. The state already has permission to condemn the full project site.

The adjacent Brooklyn Bear's Garden is not part of the condemnation, and some at a public meeting expressed concern that it not be harmed by construction activities.
The condemnation came as a bit of a surprise, since Greenland Forest City Partners had not announced plans for the site, and even previously released documentation did not attach a tentative construction date
Site 5 (arrow) in model at Pacific Park sales center
The building is supposed to be a maximum of 250' feet tall and 439,050 square feet. But things could change, and state officials in October dropped a big hint that the tower might be tweaked.
As I reported in November, Forest City aims to bring "high-end retail" to the site, comparing it to the Time Warner Center.
Checking in
I recently got other questions from some stakeholders, and forwarded them to Empire State Development:
  • what's the status of the condemnation process regarding the property on Site 5?
  • will there be any public meeting// public hearing // court hearing regarding this process? (and if so, which)
  • is there any provision for comment or input from neighbors of Site 5?
The response: “ESD has initiated the process of acquiring the site 5 properties, which includes the appraisal of the properties and notification to Modell’s and PC Richards.”

That's not exactly a full answer, so I'm assuming there will be no public role--beyond discussion at periodic Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park-related meetings. If the current occupants challenge the condemnations, they can do so in court, but that's limited to the property owner or leaseholder.

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