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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Forest City Ratner to start pile/foundation work on first tower; DOB "preliminary approval" received, but no permit (which means?)

There's some news buried in the latest two-week Atlantic Yards Construction Alert (below), dated July 2 and issued this morning by Empire State Development after preparation by Forest City Ratner: the developer is starting work on the long-delayed first tower, slated to include 50% subsidized aka "affordable" housing. Forest City has said the tower would be modular construction.

There's some murkiness, however, because it claims that "preliminary approval" has been received by the Department of Buildings, even though no permit has been issued, as confirmed by the DOB pages regarding the site.

The Construction Alert states:
Tower 2
• Work will commence on July 9th on pile and foundation work required for T2 which will need to be in place prior to arena opening. DOB preliminary approval has been received.
• Tower 2
o Installation of piles as part of the Tower 2 early work program will take place on Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15th during regular working hours adjacent to the south wall of the arena and Flatbush Avenue.
ESD explanation

I queried Arana Hankin, Director, Atlantic Yards Project, for Empire State Development. Her response:
“FCRC have been talking with DOB about this work, but a permit still has not been issued. Some of the foundation work must be completed before the arena opens because of the close proximity of B2 to the arena. Other work on B2 will commence before the end of the year.” 
Well, it certainly makes sense to get the foundation work started before a whole bunch of people start walking nearby. But if there's no permit, why offer "preliminary approval"?

I've reached out to the DOB, but haven't heard back yet. It's of course impossible to prove, but there are suspicions that the mayor's support for this project leads to influence on affected agencies.

I tried Forest City, as well, but haven't heard back yet. Wouldn't the developer have made an announcement if this were more solid?

AY Construction Alert 7-2-2012