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So, the ill-fated 461 Dean modular tower was a ULI Award finalist

It didn't win, but 461 Dean--Forest City New York's innovative but ill-fated (and money-losing) modular building--was actually one of the Urban Land Institute New York's four finalists for Excellence in Housing Development. And the citation, as I show below, definitely put the building in the best possible light.

According to the ULI (a developer-heavy "network of cross-disciplinary real estate and land use experts"):
Photo via Urban Land Institute
The Awards for Excellence recognize outstanding development projects in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors across New York State that best exemplify ULI’s commitment to responsible land use and creating sustainable, thriving communities. 
Forest City New York, unsurprisingly, was one of many firms sponsoring the awards, and former CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin was among many jury members.

The citation

Here's how the building was described:
Situated on the site of the Barclays Center arena, 461 Dean is the first residential building to open at the 22-acre Pacific Park Brooklyn, the borough’s newest neighborhood. Standing 32 stories high, this LEED Silver certified residential tower is the tallest modular building in the world and the only modular residential high-rise. Built on an irregular site, the fa├žade combines a unique blend of materials, colors, and fabrication techniques that change with the light over the course of the day, and entrances to the tower integrate with full-story glass storefronts. Half of the building’s 363 units are affordable for low-, moderate-, and middle-income New Yorkers and there are 23 unique apartment configurations. The building’s ground level features 4,000 square feet of retail space and a connection to Barclays Center. Amenities include a sky lounge, roof top terrace with sweeping city views, a two-level fitness center, yoga and dance studio, and children’s playroom. Less than a year after 461 Dean was completed, it has reached 98% occupancy and demonstrated that a building with modular construction methods could meet all the demands of implementation at scale in a real-world setting.
The complications

Note that the 23 unique configurations made the building more complicated, compared to a more standardized modular building, such a hotel. That complexity was part of what delayed the building, which took twice as long as planned, cost far more than the recent sale price to another company, and led to multiple impairments, or write-downs in book value.

Of course, the citation didn't mention of the leaks and mold that plagued the building, causing the delays, or that Forest City gave up its ambitious plan to build the project via modular construction, or the ongoing litigation with former partner Skanska regarding which is more responsible for cost overruns.

There's no mention of having to offer concessions on market-rate units or having to open marketing beyond the lottery to get takers for two-bedroom "affordable" units renting for $3,012/month. 

Did the building reach 98% occupancy less than a year after completion? Maybe it depends on when it was considered finally complete, which means that a building that had a groundbreaking in December 2012 took more than four years to complete.

As of 4/4/17, 461 Dean was 39% leased, which was five months after leasing officially started at the end of October 2016--though perhaps the building was not considered complete by then. It was 92% leased as of 2/1/18.

The screenshot of the text


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