Monday, August 29, 2016

Strong hint that developer plans only fractional office space at Site 5 tower project

It was just an aside from Swathi Bonda, Forest City Ratner's Project Manager for the 535 Carlton affordable housing tower, but it struck me as meaningful.

Introducing Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park on 8/17/16 at a session for people interested in affordable housing, she described the overall project as including not only 8 acres of open space and 250,000 square feet of retail but also 1 million square feet of office space.

If so, that suggests that the two-tower project planned for Site 5, now home to P.C. Richard and Modell's, would likely contain mostly apartments, not office space.

That's a big deal.

Keep in mind that a major justification for Greenland Forest City Ratner's plan to move the bulk of the unbuilt B1--the tower planned over the arena plaza--to Site 5 is to create an "iconic" office tower.

However, as I reported in City Limits, plans presented in January to the Department of City Planning indicated four scenarios. In only one scenario would the larger of the two Site 5 towers house office space. In another scenario, there'd be no office space at all.

In two scenarios, the smaller tower would contain some 350,000 square feet of office space. Those seem most likely as of now.

Why do I say that? Because the developer also wants to flip B4, at the northeast corner of the arena block, from residential to office space, and that building is quite large, with more than 750,000 square feet.

Tentative plan; no longer accurate, but at least shows configuration
Not set in stone

Of course, "Projects change, markets change," as former Forest City executive Jim Stuckey once said famously. So this isn't set in stone.

They could get to 1 million square feet of office space, for example, by putting more than 600,000 square feet in the larger of the Site 5 towers and turning B4 into a hybrid building.

And of course, they could increase or decrease the total amount of office space from the 1 million square feet Bonda mentioned.

But until there's evidence to the contrary, this number--and configuration--should be our working assumption. (And not the 336,000 square feet in somewhat stale project press kit.)

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