"Roof sponsorship signage" coming to Barclays Center: does Forest City's plan meet Design Guidlines?
Preparation for the installation of the signage will begin this week or next, according to the document, which does not explain the nature and extent of such signage.
I've asked for more details; for example, will it look like the rendering above right, released in early 2010, announcing the Barclays Center?
Either way, however, roof signage was never officially permitted. So it should be seen as a multi-million-dollar giveaway.
Raising the question in 2010
I reported 3/8/10 that rooftop Barclays Center logo that appeared in the latest arena rendering arena seemed to violate the Design Guidelines as stated in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued by the ESDC.
Asked in March 2010 if the pictured rooftop signage would be allowed, ESDC spokeswoman Elizabeth Mitchell responded:
Images of the arena used for promotional purposes are renderings. Anything that is built out -- including final signage -- will meet the design guidelines, which we continue to review with Forest City Ratner Companies as specific elements of the design are finalized and evolve from renderings to reality.From the FEIS and Design Guidelines
The documents approving the project in 2006 did not mention roof signage, likely because there was supposed to be a green roof. There's been no update of the Design Guidelines nor disclosure of permission for roof signage.
From page 5 of Chapter 8, Urban Design, of the November 2006 FEIS:
With the exception of limited signage for ground-floor uses, illuminated and non- illuminated opaque signs would be limited to the westernmost 75 feet of the arena block and to the Building 1 façades along Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues and would be limited in terms of overall surface area and height. Additional signage and lighting would also be allowed on the Urban Room (80-150 feet in height) on Building 1 (to a height of 60 feet), and on the arena façade (to a height of 40 feet)...The Design Guidelines state (p. 28, 30) that signage "shall be permitted on the Arena street wall" on Atlantic and Flatbush avenues. There's no mention of the roof.
|From the Design Guidelines|
There was never any discussion of roof signage because there were never any plans for roof signage. When plans were announced in December 2003, Forest City Ratner promised:
The roof of the Arena offers an exciting opportunity to create new public space, with 52,000 square feet in four lushly landscaped areas for passive recreation and a promenade along the outside edge of the roof with outstanding panoramic vistas facing Manhattan.Herbert Muschamp, then architecture critic for the New York Times, wrote 12/11/03:
Here, the stage will be activated by a running track around the perimeter of the arena's roof. In winter, the track becomes a skating rink. Other areas of the roof will be set aside for passive recreation. Restaurants for the surrounding towers are planned at the arena's roof level.In September 2005, however, the space became private; the state reported that the "rooftop open space would be accessible to users of the buildings constructed as part of the proposed project." In a friendly 5/14/06 interview with the Daily News, architect Frank Gehry was asked about green space on the roof. His response:
The first thing we wanted to do was put a basketball court up there and invite all the kids up there to play, which was a wonderful thought until you found out what all the technical issues were: exiting requirements, soundproofing. So now the idea is making a garden that you look at, that's a piece of art from above and that becomes part of a sustainable system, which could become a bird sanctuary.
When the project was first approved, according to the November 2006 FEIS, the roof was supposed to be grass:
The approximately 850,000-sf arena would be approximately 150 feet tall and include approximately one acre of private open space on its roof... The roof would also contain approximately three acres of landscaped green space, a sustainable design feature that reduces stormwater runoff, but would not be accessible.Three years later, the project was later revised, and the green roof vanished. ESDC reported, in a June 2009 Technical Memorandum:
The arena roof would not incorporate stormwater detention tanks, a green roof, or rooftop private open space. Instead, the detention tanks would be located in the base of the arena and enlarged to accommodate the additional stormwater load associated with the elimination of the green roof.No change mentioned
In no document was there mention of a change in the Design Guidelines, nor any illustration of "roof sponsorship signage." The rendering below from the Technical Memorandum--before SHoP came on board-- states that it "does not include signage, which will conform to Design Guidelines."
I read that as saying that they will only do what is explicitly permitted, not be able to do what is not explicitly banned. Roof signage was never permitted.