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AY CDC: building updates, railyard progress; delayed no-parking signs; school site still delayed; open space signage

Also see coverage of the Atlantic Yards CDC meeting regarding project timing, explanations for the giant green fence on Dean Street, and a planned pedestrian refuge at Atlantic and Sixth avenues.

So, where does Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park stand? Board members of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) got an update during their 6/6/17 meeting (video), along with the slideshow at bottom.

Forest City New York executive Ashley Cotton, representing the joint venture Greenland Forest City Partners, began her update at about 1:11:25 of the video.

Lease-up and construction

At 461 Dean (B2), the modular residential building, "we’re at 60% leased," she said, which strikes me as partial progress for a building that not only is half affordable (with units presumably easy to lease) and which has been leasing for about six months.

"Sidewalk replacement is complete," she said, " and final pieces are being done on the Flatbush Avenue corridor. Retail spaces actively being leased."

At 38 Sixth (B3), the under-construction "100% affordable" building at the southeast corner of the arena block, no one is living there but the leasing process has begun.

At 535 Carlton (B14), the first "100% affordable" building--and subject of an "opening" press event this week--the entire building has a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy, except for the parking garage, Cotton said. "All the fences have been removed, there are people living there.

The open space behind and flanking the building should be finished this summer.

550 Vanderbilt (B11), the condo building, has residents, and a TCO through the 16th floor. Open space work is ongoing. Retail spaces are being leased, but there are no announcements yet.

My October 2016 annotations of tentative timetable
Those delayed no-parking signs

"I will mention there’s been some frustration about these parking signs, frustration for all of us, that they’re not installed yet," she said, obliquely referencing complaints since April about vehicles parking improperly around both 535 Carlton and 550 Vanderbilt, blocking bike lanes outside the latter. The lack of no-parking signs means the regulations can't be enforced.

"It takes us and the DOT [Department of Transportation] to get this completed. So we’ll take our side of the blame, it just should have happened faster, but I’m told it’s imminent," Cotton said.

"I’m glad to see that the bike lane reinstalled appropriately, but obviously it doesn’t work that well if people can park in it, and the police can’t enforce it because it has no parking signs," Cotton said of 550 Vanderbilt. "It’s a source of frustration for all of us, and it’s actively being fixed."

Then again, at a 5/2/17 public meeting, more than a month earlier,  Cotton said the goal was two weeks: "That needs to get fixed... It's our responsibility to put those signs back in and that will happen very very very soon."

Delays at the school site

At about 1:24:38 of the video, Cotton provided an update on the B15 site, aka 664 Pacific, located across the street from the arena block between Dean and Pacific streets. This is the site of a 27-story tower with a planned middle-school, for which the best-case scenario now looks like 2021 (as opposed to 2018 or 2019 as previously suggested).

The construction was delayed by litigation with the owner of the neighboring property immediately to the east, a four-story apartment building, regarding concerns over the impact of pre-construction work. "We haven’t secured a licensing agreement, but the litigation is complete," Cotton said. "Unfortunately, it’s been a little complicated."

She noted that the developer had proposed an MPT (maintenance and protection of traffic) plan to change traffic flow on adjacent Sixth Avenue, making it one-way, given that two buildings flanking it--B15 and B3--were expected to be under construction at the same time.

That was never implemented. Given that B3 will no longer be constricting the street when B15 starts, the MPT plans will be revised.

At the railyard, progress

At the Vanderbilt Yard, Cotton said, "we’re finishing the permanent [replacement] yard," which includes a new substation, tracks, electrical work, foundation work, and an east portal and west portal for Long Island Rail Road trains.

The West Portal "is 90% is done," she said

"We have driven all the piles in B5 footprint," she said. "B6 and B7 don’t really need piles at all, we’re building on what we call the bump," indicating terra firma now occupied by warehouse buildings that have long been scheduled for demolition. That's very interesting, because the space over the railyard will still have to be reconstructed to support the open space--presumably with a lesser load than a tower.

"About 50% of the piles on B10 have been driven," she said. "So this is a very active work site." All this work is positioning the developer to build over the railyard.

"When you technically get through one phase, we’re still building a platform and buildings over it, so construction along Atlantic Ave and the railyard is obviously still a very long-term thing," she said.

Around the B4 site, northeast corner of arena block

535 Carlton interim open space
"We’re hoping the MPT around that West Portal work, at B4, should pull back in the fall of 2017," she said. "Once we do more of the railyard, in spring of 2018, the B4 footprint should actually clear, so that building can move forward."

Of course the developer has announced intentions to change B4, which has been approved as a residential building, to an office building, and that public process has not begun yet. Nor have efforts to sell a share (or more) in the building come to any announced fruition.

Making the open space public

Board member Barika Williams asked about the size and the color of signage for the upcoming publicly accessible open space. (No, it's not a park.)

535 Carlton final open space
"Because signage marketing the units is huge and big and I understand," she said. " I want to understand how the public spaces are communicated to the public… especially since they’re ultimately going to be in the interior of the site I believe it. We need to make sure it’s clear that these spaces are open and accessible to the public in a way that is very visible."

She didn't get an immediate answer but, then again, the open space isn't ready, and will be paltry at first, surely first serving the residents of the adjacent building. It will open in increments around each building, but will not be built out fully until 2025 at the earliest, including open space over and adjacent to what is now the railyard.


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