Tuesday, October 11, 2016

At stalled B12 site, footings said to be started to preserve 421-a tax break. Take a look.

So, Forest City Ratner Pacific Park project director Susi Yu told the Commercial Observer, regarding the delayed B12 condo site (aka 615 Dean) next to the 550 Vanderbilt tower, "We actually put the footings in to preserve our 421-a benefit."

In other words, only by starting construction of this building--which was introduced to the public in September 2015 as 615 Dean and is among three sites for sale--could developers Greenland Forest City Partners preserve a lucrative tax break.

But what does starting construction--a common tactic for developers-- mean? As stated in the 421-a law: "'commence' shall mean the date upon which excavation and construction of initial footings and foundations lawfully begins in good faith."

The building does have permits, granted in September 2015, for foundation work and support of excavation work, among others. But, as shown in the photos below, the work looks mostly like pretty general excavation.

Unless the footings--precursors to foundations, "typically made of concrete with rebar reinforcement that has been poured into an excavated trench"--are those very few vertical "knobs" at the north end of the first photo, or those partly buried white horizontal lines, they're tough to see.

Update: Here's what's going on at the site, according to the latest Construction Update: "Site preparation and removals of any above grade structures within the site, stripping of asphalt, and general excavation and removal of top layer of material will continue during this period."

Photos from above

Photos through the fence

The photos taken recently through the Dean Street fence--a limited portion of what is otherwise a wall--provide only a limited perspective. And, of course, it's dangerous to stand there in the traffic.

But they do suggest that the B12 site is being used for project worker parking more than anything else, and initial "footings and foundations" work is tough to ascertain.

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