Sunday, June 05, 2016

Daily News puffs Pacific Park virtual reality; Forest City rep claims buildings "very low density"

There's not a lot new to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park followers in the latest Daily News puff piece, Prospect Heights developers offer virtual tours of Pacific Park Brooklyn (not to be confused with some tough Sports I-Team coverage).

But the latest advertisement story regarding the developer's use of virtual reality does have a couple of good lines/quotes.

First, it calls the open space an "eight-acre park." Not so.

No lawsuits?

Then it assures people:
Neighbors initially fought the $4.9 billion development, a venture by Forest City Ratner Companies and Greenland, USA. Lawsuits have been settled and none remain that would delay construction, said Michael Rapfogel, a spokesmen for Forest City.
That's not the whole story. Neighbors are still plenty peeved, if not fighting the project, because regular construction/operation miscues go beyond normal city noise and dust.

Moreover, there is a lawsuit that has delayed construction, regarding the Site 5 property now operated by P.C. Richard/Modell's. That's only one piece of the "new neighborhood," and separated from the rest of the "neighborhood" and the "park" by wide Flatbush Avenue, so maybe it doesn't count for the purposes of real estate marketing.

How many workers?

On Thursday, as most days, some 600 workers were at the site, much of which is enclosed by a 16-foot high fence, decorated with original art.

As I wrote 4/24/16, Forest City Ratner's Ashley Cotton was quoted in a 4/11/16 New York Daily News article regarding plans to create a sticker system to identify construction workers: “At any given time we could have 1,700 construction workers out there."

However, at the Community Update meeting 4/13/16, Cotton said, regarding that sticker plan, "I have a thousand workers to ID." While that suggested there were currently 1000 workers, I said that's tough to believe. Indeed.

The Jacobs quote

The article closes:
“The buildings were designed to be of the neighborhood,” [Forest City's Adam] Greene said. “They're very low density. There's a lot of sensitivity about scale. It has the scale of a (Robert) Moses plan but with the sensitivity of Jane Jacobs. This is designed to grow out of small stoops.”
They're very low-density? There should be 6,430 apartments of 22 acres--actually less space since the arena subtracts 2+ acres. That's not low-density by any stretch of an imagination. (Either that was lousy journalistic transcription or absence of any journalistic skepticism.

The Moses+Jacobs quote is an old line from Forest City CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin, who actually didn't even go that far, as I wrote 5/6/16.

"It may surprise some here, given my developer DNA," Gilmartin once told real estate colleagues at a benefit dinner supporting Columbia University's Center for Urban Real Estate, "that I identify much more with Jane Jacobs than Robert Moses," calling Jacobs "the mother of mixed-use" while acknowledging they differed "significantly when it comes to scale."

Well, now. Simply having a mixed-use complex does not a Jacobsian project make, given the urbanist's warnings about single developers and "cataclysmic" money.

"No developer can ever develop a large-scale project or so-called new community based on Jacobs' principles," Jacobs's friend and colleague Roberta Gratz once warned. "This is an oxymoron."

No comments:

Post a Comment