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

B15 tower is now said to be due in Spring 2022, but the school will be ready in August 2022

This is the first of five articles regarding the 3/15/19 meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), set up to advise the parent Empire State Development (ESD). The second article concerned the board's inability to hire independent consultants. The third article concerned updates from the AY CDC President and from developer Greenland USA. The fourth article concerned a failed effort to get a building-by-building timetable for affordable units. The fifth article analyzed the likelihood of building all railyard towers by 2025.

After a hiatus of nearly a year, the AY CDC met Friday at the offices of parent ESD for little more than an hour and generating exactly zero public comment. (It's not always easy for civilians from Brooklyn to pop in for a 1 pm meeting in midtown Manhattan. Some previous meetings have been held in Brooklyn at Long Island University.)

While the big news--as I'll report later--concerns the failure to require an updated building-by-building timetable, we learned more specifics about the expected 2022 delivery of the B15 tower just east of the arena block between Dean and Pacific Street.
From the developer presentation. Note outline of B5 tower in background

I reported nearly two months ago, based on comments at the bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, that construction at the long-awaited middle school at B15 would start by March and take about 34 months, implying completion by January 2022.

Last Friday, we got a somewhat later date for the building, Spring 2022, based on a slide (above) presented to the AY CDC by overall developer Greenland Forest City Partners, joined by a representative of The Brodsky Organization, which is developing the specific site.

At the meeting, Thomas Brodsky of The Brodsky Organization, a third-generation executive at the family-run company, predicted a ten-month foundation period, then a 24-month construction period.

That presumably implies completion in Winter 2021-2022--indeed, the poster (left) on the construction fence predicts a Q4 2021 completion--but perhaps they're allowing for contingencies.

According to city schools officials, the middle school would be ready by August 2022, as noted below.

Excavation is starting at the site, as noted in the latest Construction Update, and, as shown in the photo below, the drilling equipment is rather close to the existing neighbors on Dean Street.

Previous ambitions hit pause

The B15 tower, unveiled in December 2015, was supposed to be finished by 2018, but never launched, given the November 2016 decision by Forest City Enterprises to pause vertical development, given a glut of luxury units in and around Downtown Brooklyn, and uncertainty regarding the 421-a tax break, which until then would've permitted a fully market-rate building to gain the tax break.

Now the building will be part of the revamped 421-a program, Affordable New York, with 312 units, 94 of them (30%) "affordable." The amount of affordability wasn't specified, but the two options that seem applicable would include a significant amount of middle-income units, meaning above 120% of Area Median Income (AMI):
  • 30% of the units must be affordable: at least 10% at up to 70% of AMI and 20% at up to 130% of AMI.
  • at least 30% of the units must be affordable at up to 130% of AMI
A shifting timetable

The school has been dubbed by advocates M.S. One Brooklyn (with an arts/culture/STEM focus), but is officially I.S. 653.

The building address was previously designated 664 Pacific Street, but it also has been described as 662 Pacific Street. The official school address is 491 Dean Street, according to the SCA, though the school entrance will be on Sixth Avenue. Here's the overall site plan.

Schools officials have offered a changing schedule. The School Construction Authority's (SCA) February 2018 Capital Plan (p. C8) pointed to July 2019 construction start and June 2021 project completion.

However, the SCA's November 2018 Capital Plan (p. C8) pointed to a June 2020 construction start--presumably after preliminary work at the site--and August 2022 project completion, in time for the 2022-23 school year.

The SCA's February 2019 Capital Plan, excerpted above, suggests a June 2020 construction start, after excavation, and completion by August 2022, which comes after Spring 2022 (presumably when the first apartments open) but would be ready for the 2022-23 school year.

According to the Capital Plan, the school would cost $126.15 million, with the final $25.41 million of that total requested in the current fiscal year. This month the capital budget should be submitted to the Mayor and City Council, and adoption by the City Council should be in June.