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Meeting round-up: no timetable update; tall construction fence remains; belated installation of no-parking signs should deter scofflaws

Beyond the 421-a issue raised at the 5/2/17 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, several other issues came up.

What about the bulk shift to Site 5?

Tobi Jaiyesimi of Empire State Development (ESD) said she'd gotten a question about proposed changes to Site 5 and B1--the developer has floated a plan to move much of the bulk of the unbuilt tower (B1) over the arena plaza to Site 5, for now home to P.C. Richard and Modell's, to build a huge two-tower project.

"As we’ve said, there has been no formal presentation to the state, so no starting of the public review process," Jaiyesimi said. But surely it's percolating, given how often Forest City New York CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin talks about building an "iconic" office tower.

What about construction fences on the southeast block?

The oversized, 16-foot construction fences outside the two buildings on the southeast block of the site, 550 Vanderbilt (B11) and 535 Carlton (B14) are mostly gone, so why aren't the fences--which encroach significantly on the street--pulled back along the unbuilt B12 and B13 sites?

"We’re not making a request for the developer to move back the 16-foot fence at the B12 and B13 sites," Jaiyesimi said. "Those fences are required by the MEC [Memorandum of Environmental Commitments], so they’re there to protect our neighbors from noise and environmental impacts. Though B12 and B13 might not be under active construction at the moment, those sites are still being used for construction staging for other activities, and also for the… open space for both B11 and B14."

Wait a second--the oversized fences were required to protect people from noise and dust from high-rise construction. Shouldn't lessened activities at those sites merit a smaller, standard fence?

Buildings progress

“So very exciting to see the sidewalk bridge at 461 Dean completely gone," said Forest City New York's Ashley Cotton, representing the Greenland Forest City Partners joint venture, "and I did want to announce today that the overnight work that we announced to finish this final sidewalk got delayed, so tonight we’re going to do the last bits of it."

Regarding the 38 Sixth tower at the southeast corner of the arena block, she said, "as we’ve announced before, we’re opening in late summer and work there is progressing quite quickly."

The building was, as of August 2014, expected to open in January 2017, as shown in the graphic below. More recently, Forest City Realty Trust in a February 2017 investor presentation, above, estimated that the building would open during the second quarter of 2017, which means by the end of June.

The 535 Carlton tower, Cotton said, as a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) for the entire building, except hoist runs (exterior left). The open space should be completed in July for it and also for 550 Vanderbilt, which has a TCO through Floor 14--nearly the entire building.

No-parking signs and scofflaw vehicles

Cotton acknowledged that sometimes drivers have been parking in the bike lane on Vanderbilt Avenue outside 550 Vanderbilt. (On Twitter, residents have been posting evidence since April 26.) Because of construction, signs regulating parking were removed from both Vanderbilt and Carlton avenues, and should be restored.

"That needs to get fixed," she said. "It's our responsibility to put those signs back in and that will happen very very very soon." She said the goal was within two weeks.

Without such signage, parking regulations can't be enforced. It's unclear whether there was any deadline to install the signage, but presumably it should have been coordinated with the removal of the sidewalk sheds. An answer might have been available from the Department of Transportation, but they didn't send a rep to the meeting.

The scofflaws have been called out regularly by neighbors on Twitter.

Barclays Center plans

Sarah Berlenbach of the Barclays Center noted that a schedule of May ticketed events has already been circulated. Asked about plans for the Barbra Streisand concert Saturday, given the history of many patrons coming via black cars, which inundate residential blocks, Berlenbach said details would be released shortly regarding efforts to "minimize the impact to the community."

I asked if they planned to restore to the community calendar non-ticketed events like graduations, which still have community impacts, given that large crowds might inundate the neighborhood. "We do not have plan to restore that, at the moment," Berlenbach said, but "we’ll take it into consideration."

An ESD staff departure

Jeremy Cooney, who briefly served as Empire State Development's Manager, Pacific Park Brooklyn Project Community/Government Relations, has left his state job and, for now, his role will be taken by Jaiyesimi.

She started as Executive Director of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) and also now manages the project for ESD. (Cooney now works for Mercury Public Affairs.)

A delayed AY CDC meeting

Jaiyesimi said the next Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation meeting, scheduled for May 16, will be rescheduled, since they weren't able to muster a required quorum.  She said they aimed to announce a new date for the meeting.


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