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Forest City pumps up the volume on 461 Dean with media preview. Media (mostly) comply.

Update: Note one skeptical piece from Realtor.com, plus some market skepticism from Bloomberg Quint.


So Forest City Ratner had a media preview yesterday to show some model units and pump up the volume for 461 Dean (aka B2), the modular rental building that's supposed to welcome tenants at the end of this month. (There's been much less coverage of the delays in Pacific Park, or Forest City's losses.)

Available market-rate units seem focused on floors 11 and 17
Note: various media outlets reported that studios start at $2,450, one-bedrooms at $3,125, and two-bedrooms at $4,750. No one mentioned the "incentives" that were being offered as of September until  Bloomberg Quint.

YIMBY said "a 690-square-foot one-bedroom on the 20th floor, which had a slightly cramped layout but offered breathtaking views" would rent for about $3,700, or about $64.35 per square foot. A 700 sf studio will rent for $3,200, or $54.86/sf. A 450 sf studio will rent for $2,500, or $66.67/sf.

(The most expensive affordable 1BR rents for $2,504, or $46.23/sf assuming it's 650 sf, and less per square foot for a larger unit. See range at bottom.)

Note that Bloomberg Quint figured out that the larger units are well above the median for Brooklyn.


Others quoted happy talk about modular construction being the wave of the future--despite the contradiction that Forest City's modular gambit has failed, and the company's factory has been sold. The building took nearly four years to build, more than twice as long as promised.

Remember, Forest City CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin has claimed, “We’re not a manufacturing business” and "It was always imagined that that process would be done by somebody else. We now need it to be taken on by others.”  Except Forest City's 2012 Opportunity Brief indicated that it sought a "partner to establish and grow a viable, cost competitive modular factory business."

From NYC Department of Buildings
Also, Curbed quoted Forest City's Adam Greene as saying triple-glazed windows block untoward sounds from the arena or passers-by. Unmentioned: that's above the standard required by the state for the developer to offer neighbors: double-paned or storm windows.

No media outlet mentioned the unpaid $25,000 fine facing the building. Nor the claim that the building was already open by the third quarter of the fiscal year. Nor the unexplained mystery about whether there was lingering mold.

A video



The coverage (with some emphases)

Building Blocks: A First Look at the World's Tallest Modular Tower as it Opens in Brooklyn by NY1:
It took much longer than expected, four years. Therefore, Forest City Ratner chose to go with standard construction for the other buildings. The company says innovation is always challenging.
"We think modular is the way of the future," Greene said.
Actually, the developer of the non-arena project excepting this one building is Greenland Forest City Partners, owned 70% by Greenland USA (the US arm of Shanghai-based Greenland Group), so the choice was made by Greenland. And modular was supposed to be the "way of the future" for the project when they announced this building. Didn't happen.

Modular Building Believed to Be World’s Tallest Makes Debut in Brooklyn, said the Wall Street Journal:
Modular construction translates into less time and fewer workers on a construction site because 80% to 90% of the building can be finished in the factory, said Roger Krulak, chief executive of Full Stack Modular LLC, which bought the core assets of Forest City’s modular manufacturing company.
Except that's not what happened.
“It was a long process because no one had taken time to build a modular building this big,” said Adam Greene, of Forest City Ratner, the developer behind the tower and the other Pacific Park properties.
Yeah, and also they and partner Skanska messed up.

Brooklyn's modular tower at Pacific Park welcomes its first residents, said Curbed:
Almost a month after leasing got underway on the market-rate units at Pacific Park’s modular rental, 461 Dean Street, the first set of residents are now getting ready to move in to what developer Forest City Ratner Companies has called the world’s tallest modular building.
As part of a media preview held Tuesday afternoon, Curbed got a chance to tour three model units at this 32-story building that’s located adjacent to the Barclays Center, and is designed by the same architects who designed that arena, SHoP.
Actually, a media preview does not mean the first residents have been welcomed.

See new photos inside the world’s tallest modular tower; leasing kicks off at 461 Dean, stated 6sqft:
But now that celebratory champagne bottle can finally be popped, as this afternoon the developer held a grand opening ceremony to kick off the official start of leasing.
Wait, didn't Curbed say that leasing started last month?

World’s tallest modular building opens in Brooklyn declared Brooklyn Reporter:
“461 Dean is a testament to innovation and creativity, built in Brooklyn and like nothing else on the market,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, president and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies. “We are excited that our vision for this cutting-edge property has come to life, and that residents will be able to experience modern living in Brooklyn’s most dynamic new neighborhood.”
A testament to innovation, creativity, delays, and losses.

World’s tallest modular building is now open – see inside, declared Inhabitat NYC:
“Offsite construction reduces environmental impact and offers a creative way forward for the construction industry to address the intersecting needs of cities today,” said SHoP principal Chris Sharples in a statement. “This is a pioneering project, and the methods we developed here can help meet the enormous demand for new housing in New York and other rapidly growing cities.”
Except not in this project as once promised.

Oh, and here's an article in Metro, which looks a lot like the press release, in REW. Also see News12 and Fox5. "Not only could it ease the borough's affordable housing crunch, it might change the construction industry going forward as a whole," said a Fox anchor. Except that's what they said four years ago, and it didn't happen.

Some comments

There were a couple of interesting comments about the location on Gothamist last April:
Mike: Who would want to live there? The noise the escapes the arena during shows is loud and goes late. Drunk sports fans wander the streets in packs at 11pm on game nights, urinating on everything and screaming. It might by Brooklyn's least desirable location, and that includes the Gowanus Canal.
maleficent:  Honestly, the transit and ability to get to shopping easily would be worth it overall for me. I mean for general household shopping, if I want to go to TJs or Target, it is a very long train schlep for me, and there is only so much I can carry at a time
DumpyJohn: You're insane. We live right around the corner on Bergen and 5th Avenue and sure there are more crowded streets on game/concert nights but the transit is unbeatable and there's so many awesome restaurants and bars and stuff to do all the time.
Mike: I live a few blocks down 5th from you. The bars used to be awesome -- O'Connor's dying to produce that terrible sports bar is one of the saddest things to happen to the neighborhood in a long time. The crowds are a nightmare, and I keep dreaming of a day when the Islanders move back to Nassau.
Bergen is just outside the truly terrible blast zone for the music from shows. Walk by the big ugly rusty arena during a concert, and you'll hear it. If you live in one of those buildings, you'll hear it and not be able to escape. Seriously, only suckers will move into those buildings.
The affordable chart

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