Thursday, April 28, 2016

History lesson: B1 was not supposed to block the bank, but even B2 would do so (and now does)

The photo below, showing the nearly finished B2 (aka 461 Dean Street) tower from Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place to the north, reminded me of a fundamental deception behind Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, one that may be relatively small (in the grand scheme of the project) but still telling.

When the project was announced in 2003, Forest City Ratner's promotional material stated that the largest tower, the (then) office building at Flatbush and Atlantic avenue since known as B1, would be "set back slightly from the intersection... to maintain the view corridor to the Williamsburg Bank building."

But that didn't make sense. Not only would the "Miss Brooklyn" tower block the view corridor whether it would be 620 feet tall as proposed or 511 feet as reduced, the tower to the south, B2, would also block the view, as Empire State Development Corporation, the state authority overseeing/shepherding the project, later acknowledged:
However, given the location of the Bank Building, even a 320-foot-tall building would substantially obstruct views of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building from the south along the Flatbush Avenue view corridor.
Indeed. Both the developer and the state should have come clean earlier. But the announcement was riddled with deception, including an estimated ten-year buildout, and the claim that "The complex has been planned to look whole and complete during each phase of construction."

Now, of course, developer Greenland Forest City Partners wants to move the bulk of the B1 tower across the street to create a giant tower at Site 5, which I've dubbed the "Brooklyn Behemoth."

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