What FCR's Ratner and Gilmartin told the grad students: project on a railyard? largest single development of affordable housing?
Just three weeks into the summer semester, the MSRED Class of 2012 spent the afternoon in Brooklyn with Bruce Ratner (CEO Forest City Ratner) and MaryAnne Gilmartin (EVP), overlooking the currently under construction, Atlantic Yards. Situated at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Ave is the centerpiece of the former 22-acre rail yard, the Barclays Center. Starting next season (2012-2013), the Barclays Center will be home to the relocated NBA franchise, the New Jersey Nets.Either Ratner and Gilmartin were misleading the students or they spoke in such a way that the students were misled.
Bruce Ratner and MaryAnne Gilmartin spoke at length of the challenges and highlights of the Atlantic Yards development process. In addition to being the largest single development of affordable housing in New York City history, the highly complex Atlantic Yards deal constituted of buying and relocating a sports franchise, contributing $50 million to the renovation of the subway station, and a last-minute road show in China to secure an enormous amount of funds which eventually proved to be a turning point in the development.
In addition to the complexities of the deal, Bruce and MaryAnne were very proud of their innovative progress of modular high rise construction. According to Bruce and MaryAnne, this technique could reduce hard costs by 20 to 25%. While it is unclear whether or not this feat of architectural engineering will be implemented for the Atlantic Yards construction, when and if perfected, the prefabricated modular high rise could be the future of real estate development.
I posted comments pointing out that the project would not be "the largest single development of affordable housing in New York City history," that "last-minute road show in China" didn't quite describe the EB-5 venture, and that the project is not on “the former 22-acre rail yard,” which is not "former," either.
Also note that two said modular would reduce hard costs 20-25%, which is not as much as suggested in some documents--though Ratner and Gilmartin's numbers were likely more precise, factoring in the total amount of hard costs in construction.