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

The irony! 461 Dean modular apartments hyped as "handcrafted locally"

Potential renters in the new 461 Dean apartment tower flanking the Barclays Center can not only snag two months free rent, they also can move to a unit that's been "handcrafted locally in the Brooklyn Navy Yard," according to the Douglas Elliman listing.

Wait--can this 32-story tower really be pitched like a bespoke ottoman or a seasonal beer? After all, 461 Dean, the first residential building in Atlantic Yards (now Pacific Park), was supposed to revolutionize construction as the world's tallest modular building.

Rather than rely on "handcrafted" work at the building site, as is typical,  apartment sections (aka "mods") were produced at a climate-controlled, process-optimized factory, aimed to be faster and cheaper.

Alas, developer Forest City Ratner ran up against some pesky problems, namely delays, a dispute with then-partner Skanska, and cost overruns. (The former partners blame each other.) The tower took twice as long as planned and scotched the goal of building all 15 towers modularly.

In fact, water infiltration in the under-construction building caused significant damage in half of the first 39 apartments, already assembled at the site like Legos. That meant the first four floors were “largely gutted," according to a state report. Presumably, they had to be re-handcrafted even more locally.

About that park and subway lines

Douglas Elliman even tells us the building is "immediate proximity to the new Pacific Park," which 1) doesn't yet exist 2) will first emerge more than a very long block away, and 3) isn't a park (try "publicly accessible open space).

It remains to be seen whether the open space will be billed as "handcrafted in Brooklyn" too.

Note how the building is said to be "assembled on top of 11 subway lines." Or, maybe, the nine that converge at Atlantic Ave.-Barclays Center and the two that are about ten minutes away.

The purported breakthrough

According to the 1/6/12 Opportunity Brief circulated to potential investors in the modular factory, Forest City proposed "a methodology to revolutionize the way we build highly technical buildings today in dense urban environments like New York City."

"In summary, this moves operations that are traditionally completed on-site at the project location to a manufacturing environment offsite," the Brief stated. Where, it turns out, they could be made by hand.


  1. Anonymous9:33 AM

    B2 "home brewed" and "aged in situ" on Flatbush Avenue


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