Skip to main content

Gehry's design was impossible, so dropping him wasn't just cost; what do MAS and RPA say now?

None of the news coverage this morning notices that, as I pointed out last night, the rendering omits the much-touted Urban Room, a large, glass-enclosed public space.

Given the hold-up in constructing the flagship Building 1 (formerly Miss Brooklyn), the Urban Room became an impossibility and, I'd contend, so became Gehry's design. His arena, as the New York Times's architecture critics rhapsodically reminded us, was to be different.
  • Herbert Muschamp: Instead of sitting isolated in a parking lot, the stadium will be tucked into the urban fabric, just as buildings surround a Baroque square. The arena becomes a stage, with the towers around extending the bleachers to the sky.
  • Nicolai Ouroussoff: If a new model is ever going to emerge, it may well be in Brooklyn, where Frank Gehry is designing a stadium for the Nets that will be embedded in layers upon layers of housing.
Not anymore. And even though the Ellerbe Becket arena would be more expensive, at $800 million, than the $637.2 million Gehry arena approved in 2006, at least it doesn't have Building 1. Given that Forest City has been working with Ellerbe Becket for three years, did the developer--when the plan was approved in 2006--really intend to build the Gehry design?

MAS, RPA flashback

The final version of the Times article, headlined Developer Drops Gehry’s Design for Brooklyn Arena, quotes one mend-it-don't-end-it critic, now looking increasingly tepid:
“The current Atlantic Yards plan bears increasingly less resemblance to the project that was approved in 2006,” said Vin Cipolla, the president of the Municipal Art Society [MAS]. “The replacement of Gehry further reduces the public benefits of the project, which urgently needs re-evaluation and oversight.”

The public benefits, actually, were reduced as of September 2007, when the city and state signed funding agreements giving Forest City Ratner 12 years to build Phase 1, with a minimum of only 300 affordable housing units, and no timetable for Phase 2, which would have all the open space and most of the affordable housing. (Those agreements surfaced last spring.)

The MAS, in its testimony on the project, said it couldn't support it without major changes, though it praised Gehry's design. In fact, the MAS suggested that, with a north-south re-orientation of the arena, Fifth Avenue could be kept open.

The arena has, in fact, been reoriented, as the graphic at top suggests, but there's been no evidence that the Empire State Development Corporation is reconsidering the closure of Fifth Avenue.

So, will the MAS remind people about Fifth Avenue?

Meanwhile, the Regional Plan Association (RPA), which has been increasingly critical of the project, must now realize how it was played, given its testimony at the 8/23/06 hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement:
Regional Plan Association supports construction of the signature western block of the project largely as proposed. This block, featuring the basketball arena and four towers, is an excellent example of city-making that will bring tremendous benefits to the area. These initial towers have been designed by the expert hand of Frank Gehry and, along with the arena, will become iconic images representing the borough soon after their construction.


Hockey and timing

The Times article in print includes two points made in my response to the earlier article:
If the arena is built, however, it will most likely take more than two years to complete. Unlike the Gehry design, the new arena would not accommodate a professional hockey team.

The Times, however, doesn't go further and point out that a 2011 arena opening is impossible.

Other coverage

The New York Post article [corrected 7:40 pm] appears in print, on page 26, in much truncated form, right. The Daily News article appears on page 4, though at one-quarter of the size of the piece above it, which was headlined, in print, Here's evil teen who tossed cat in the oven.

As noted on NLG, Tracy Collins has [corrected 6/6] photoshopped a revision of the anti-eminent domain mural (above) created by Patti and Schellie Hagan of the Prospect Heights Action Coalition, adapted for the new architect, Ellerbe Becket.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

Click on graphic to enlarge. This is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change, and the project is already well behind that tentative timetable.


Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …