Despite hype, 550 Vanderbilt not on "selling streak"; "soothing" feature contrasts with unfulfilled promises at B4 site
It was a momentous year for Prospect Heights and its neighborhood-inside-a-neighborhood, Pacific Park. Six of the megaproject’s buildings are now in various phases of construction, with SHoP’s prefabricated rental tower at 461 Dean Street already welcoming residents. The housing lottery for 535 Carlton, a fully-affordable development within the megaproject, opened in July, and the market-rate apartments of 550 Vanderbilt continued their selling streak. For a project that’s been in the works since 2003, that’s no small deal. The buzzy neighborhood even got a little more so when Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o was spotted perusing apartments at 550 Vanderbilt back in August.(Emphases added)
How an irregular 22-acre site, mostly unbuilt, qualifies as a "neighborhood" remains unexplained. Hint: it's not.
As to "six" buildings in construction, well, two sites (B12 and B15) have had some site clearance but are by no means poised for vertical construction. The B12 condo is on indefinite hold, and the B15 rental tower (+school) remains in legal limbo, and is at least four years away.
The real news about Pacific Park this year is that the project was once again delayed. And, rather than a "selling streak" at 550 Vanderbilt, developer Forest City Ratner--part of the joint venture Greenland Forest City Partners--in November acknowledged to the SEC, "Over the last quarter, the condominium market in New York has also softened, causing the projected sale schedule for 550 Vanderbilt to be adjusted accordingly."
A soothing building
That brings us to yesterday's DNAinfo round-up How Buildings Are Trying to Soothe Stressed-Out New Yorkers, which includes:
At 550 Vanderbilt, which is part of the Atlantic Yards mega-project now called Pacific Park, architect Rick Cook, of COOKFOX, shaped the 17-story building so residents have access lots of greenery, incorporating lushly landscaped areas, setbacks, rooftops and terraces.
That includes a 3,500-square-foot landscaped roof deck with numerous individual garden plots for residents to cultivate and nurture in order to grow their own herbs, fruits and vegetables.
The firm included the plots for the condo — where current listings range from $890,000 to $6.86 million — because of the therapeutic nature of gardening.
“To make our city healthier, we need to connect with our biological roots, which are oriented to connect with nature and grow food,” Cook said. “Gardening is proven to improve mental and physical wellness. We have integrated garden beds and a place to wash, prepare and eat food on the terrace to support residents' health and wellness, and create as many connections to nature as possible.”
Contrast that nice promotional hype with what I wrote earlier this month about how the unbuilt Pacific Park site is not as pretty as once promised.
|B4 site from Atlantic Avenue sidewalk|
The Technical Memorandum produced by Empire State Development in 2009 after project deal terms were revised claimed that delayed construction would be alleviated by new amenities:
Temporary open space and public amenity use such as retail kiosks, landscaped seating areas, and plantings would be provided on the building footprints not under development, particularly Buildings 3 and 4. These amenities would enliven the street-level environment and provide a buffer between the arena and residential district to the south.