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

Construction continues, despite rumblings from wary workers and subcontractors; such work inevitably involves close quarters

Updated: see bottom.

As I've written, there are multiple factors, including supply-chain constraints, that could hinder construction, but the big issue, for now, is up to localities.

Though a few Council Members and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams have called for suspension of non-essential construction, and workers' attitudes vary (though we have no complete survey), construction continues in New York City.

Indeed, as The City's Rosa Goldensohn reported last night, construction continues, even in interior spaces, at sites where an employee has tested positive for coronavirus, and where subcontractors are wary.

B15 site, March 23, 2020
As shown in a photo from her article, at the World Trade Center site, and as shown in the photo at right at the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park B15 site (aka 662 Pacific Street or 664 Pacific Street or 37 Sixth Avenue), work continues with employees close to each other. (The photo was sent by a reader.)

That's not social distancing. Of course, in other workplaces, such as stores, people can't keep a six-foot distance.

A set of tradeoffs

So it's a set of tradeoffs, and we're in uncharted territory.

The City quoted Mayor Bill de Blasio: “The [state] guidance was to continue that work because it is outdoors, because clearly any part of the economy can still allow people to have a livelihood, that’s so important, as we see so many other people losing their livelihood, and because a lot of what is constructed obviously is crucial to our future."

That said, health care construction--not that all or most workers could be diverted there--surely takes priority. The B15 tower will contain a middle-school, and 30% affordable (below-market, income-linked) units.

And a minority of United States cities (and states) have shut down construction: joining Boston, which took action as of 3/17/20, Pennsylvania on 3/19/20 shut down construction statewide; Philadelphia issued guidance that sites must shut down by Friday, 3/27/20, exempting work on medical, pharmaceutical, and healthcare facilities; essential infrastructure; emergency repairs, and “make-safe” work.

Some business reasons

In Slate, Henry Grabar cited developers, contractors, and labor unions arguing for continued work, "a combination of blue-collar bravura, engineering needs, hygiene logic, and societal necessity."

But it's mostly about business, such as the difficulty of shutting down a job site with exposed insulation, the challenge of keeping skilled workers on the job, and the high-interest rates of construction loans.