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

Pacific Park middle school due by summer 2023, capacity 812 (up from 640). Above-ground bulk increased 34%?

As I reported in September, plans for the middle school at the B15 tower (37 Sixth Avenue, aka 664 or 662 Pacific Street) have changed significantly. At that point, the school, announced at 640 seats, was to have 800 seats, with no explanation regarding why.

Perhaps we'll learn more at the 12/4/19 meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, especially since--as I report below--the school has not just grown in capacity, to 812 seats and, apparently, one-third more bulk above ground.

New information: 812 seats

The School Construction Authority's (SCA) November 2019 Capital Plan (p. C8), excerpted below, suggests a January 2021 construction start, after excavation, and completion by June 2023, ready when the school year starts in September, late summer. It still lists a May 2015 start for design work.

Note that the capacity has increased not to 800 but 812, from 640, a nearly 27% increase. The total cost has marginally increased, to $126.18 million from $126.15 million. The school is known as I.S. 653, though backers call it MS OneBrooklyn.

Shifting details, dimensions

The SCA's February 2018 Capital Plan (p. C8) pointed to a July 2019 construction start and June 2021 project completion. But the SCA's November 2018 Capital Plan (p. C8) pointed to a June 2020 construction start and August 2022 project completion. The SCA's February 2019 Capital Plan offered similar estimates. (Here's the SCA's overall link for updated capital plans.)

At that point, the middle school was to contain 640 seats. However, in September, an SCA rep revealed that the school would not open until September 2023--a delay based on the aim to "refresh" designs--and it would hold 800 students. She didn't state the school's square footage.

School seems to have grown

School: 73,911 sf above-grade
The school's size, long described as 100,000 square feet, seems to have grown. As of September 2015, the school was to contain 100,000 square feet, with 70,000 above-grade zoning square feet and about 30,000 square feet below-grade, according to a spokesman for the developer.

More recent filings have offered different estimates. One filing with the Department of Buildings (above right) indicates 264,674 above-grade residential square feet, plus 73,911 square feet for a "community facility," or school. That means 338,585 total zoning square feet.

School: 99,334  sf above-grade
A separate filing, similarly signed 8/3/19 and 9/3/19 by the two signatories, instead indicates 271,455 above-grade residential square feet, plus 99,334 square feet for the school, or 370,789 total zoning square feet. If accurate, that's a 34% increase in above-ground school space.

To either, add perhaps 30,000 square feet of below-grade space.

Is that permissible? 

According to a document (below right) that's part of the Modified General Project Plan, B15 is supposed to contain a maximum of 341,910 square feet. That seems to be exceeded by the current iteration of the building.

If that's accurate, can they get away with it?

The document states: "The aggregate gross square footages of the individual buildings are greater than the maximum square footage that would be developed in each phase to allow for individual buildings square footage changes.... the total square footage built in each phase would not exceed the square footage maximum for that phase."

That perhaps supplies a loophole, if other buildings are not fully built out.

B15 is part of Phase 2, which is buildings east of the arena block. We don't know the dimensions of all future buildings.

That said, it might be easier to redistribute square footage from Phase 1, since it's possible that the plan to move square footage from the unbuilt B1 tower to Site 5 does not include all that bulk.

But these questions should be answered in public.

What's the Floor Area Ratio?

Both filings, with 338,585 square feet and 370,789 square feet, are claimed to have a Floor Area Ratio (or FAR) of 16.25, which the multiple of the building lot.

Both filings say the building lot is 21,155 square feet.

The somewhat less bulky building, according to my calculation, would have an FAR of 16.0. The more bulky building would have an FAR of 17.5.

In other words, someone needs to redo the math.

Other question marks

Several documents have suggested a two-year school buildout. A 2018 Empire State Development report stated that "the Developer reported that a contract had been signed with the SCA specifying that the construction of the intermediate school must be completed within two (2) years of construction start at the B15 site."

That doesn't seem to have been followed.

Note that the various SCA Capital Plans site the school at 491 Dean Street, which is surely the delivery entrance, with students expected to enter on Sixth Avenue. (That was the address for a row house.) The building's address, for construction purposes, is 37 Sixth Avenue, while the residential entrance is on Pacific Street, either 662 or 664 Pacific.