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Company fabricating metal arena facade shuts down; work was supposed to extend through May; no comment from Forest City at this time

The Whitestown, IN-based company that has been fabricating the weathered steel for the Barclays Center facade unexpectedly went out of business last week, raising questions about whether and when the additional steel needed would be delivered, and how the overall project timetable may be affected.

It's unclear how much of the steel has been fabricated and delivered by ASI Limited, but a considerable amount of facade work remains to be done. Some steel has been delivered to and is stored at the southeast block, Block 1129, as shown in the photo above, taken today by Tracy Collins.

A spokesman for developer Forest City Ratner said "we cannot comment at this time." The Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing Atlantic Yards, said it was a question for Forest City.

ESD at 5:30 pm today issued a two-week Construction Alert (prepared by Forest City) covering work beginning this week; it indicates continued work on the facade, and does not disclose anything about the facade fabricator.

Work extending through May

The Exterior Skin--which likely includes more than the metalwork--is not supposed to be completed until the "Early Finish" date of 5/13/12, according to a report from Merritt & Harris, construction monitor for the arena bond trustee.

(Photo from Patch slideshow/video.)

All subcontractors must be bonded in an amount equal to its subcontract price--$32.4 million in the case of ASI Limited, according to Merritt & Harris--but this is specialized work and presumably not easily transferred.

Indeed, the factory in Whitestown was customized specifically for this weatherization process. As the facade architect, SHoP, explained on its blog:
Earlier this year ASI Limited, the facade contractor for Barclays Center, flipped the switch on for their custom built 2500′ linear conveyor system designed to accelerate the weathering process for the 12,000 individual panels and supporting rails that make up the weathering steel portion of the facade designed by SHoP Architects. 
Surprise shutdown

ASI Limited officials, according to theIndyChannel, surprised 250 employees with the closure after Christmas; another report suggested the total was closer to 150.

"Regretfully, ASI, Ltd. is no longer profitable and is winding down the business," officials told employees.

However, owner Ken Smith also stated, "Management is currently reviewing its financial viability moving forward. It is hopeful that we can re-commence operations sometime in the near future."

Presumably those building the Barclays Center want very much to ensure that operations do re-commence, since there's a tight schedule to get the arena done.

What ASI Limited does

ASI Limited, according to the company's web site (page below, as well), was hired "to provide the 219,000 square feet of total building façade and enclosure." The work includes "a custom designed unitized mega-wall system that will include blast resistant curtain wall, insulated weather wall and exterior weather steel lattice screen."

The two-week Construction Alert issued 12/19/11 described the installation of erection clips and panels on the Flatbush Avenue and along the west elevations, as well as of erection clips along the 6th Avenue  and Dean Street elevations. A second shift was needed.

While the installation of façade panels at the street level and at the Upper Concourse levels on Atlantic Avenue was substantially completed, installation of the façade panels at the uppermost elevation was expected during December. However, in the Construction Alert issued today, it states that such work will be done "at a later date."

According to the Atlantic Yards web cam accessible through Atlantic Yards Watch, the side of the arena facing Sixth Avenue clearly lacks such panels, as shown in the photo above.

Previous problems

It's not the first bump in the road involving ASI Limited, which set up shop in October 2010 in a on Dean Street east of Flatbush, right next to a well-restored 19th-century house and across from the arena site.

(Photo by Tracy Collins)

In April, Forest City Ratner executive Bob Sanna said that the process of "weathering cycles" is behind, with efforts afoot to speed up the process.

Also in April, ESD said that a planned visual mock-up of the facade had been delayed for two months.

A message left today with ASI Limited was not returned.

ASILIMITED Barclays Center