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

Greenland: "close to being ready" to announce progress on first phase of platform; B12/B13 pushed back slightly?

This is the first of four articles on the 3/3/20 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, held by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing/shepherding the project. The second concerned the faulty elevator at the Barclays Center. The third concerned construction progress. The fourth concerned Barclays Center-related traffic issues.

The meeting was brief (some 40 minutes, of two hours allocated), lightly attended (no news expected, right?), and pretty much uneventful.

But we did get some updates, including a belated confirmation that yes, the next "quarterly" Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) meeting would be held March 18.

Announcement coming re platform

As at the previous Quality of Life meeting, Lee Warshavsky, a Prospect Heights resident and appointee on the AY CDC, asked about progress on building the first phase of the platform over the Vanderbilt Yard, between Sixth and Carlton avenues.

"We are close to being ready to be able to make an announcement" about a contractor, said Scott Solish of master developer Greenland USA. (Note that Greenland had last September garnered a New York Post article claiming the project was on the "fast track" because the platform would start this year.)

Warshavsky asked if it was for both phases, the second being between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues.

"It's been designed and built in phases," said Solish. "We don’t want to reinvent the wheel," he added.

That said, the Request for Qualifications said Greenland Forest City Partners "anticipates bidding out such work separately."

How long will it take? "It’s a multi year process," Solish said. (The RFQ said three years for the first phase, which seems far less extensive than the second.)

Affordable housing

Solish was asked about the affordability component of the buildings expected for the first phase of the platform.

"To meet the deadline," Solish said, indicating the requirement to build 2,250 units of affordable housing by 2025.

"Does that mean each building will be 100% affordable?" asked Elaine Weinstein of the North Prospect Heights Association.

"No," said Solish. "It’ll be 2,250 units by 2025."

Note that, according to an already out-of-date document filed with the state, the first three towers would be 50% affordable. I think it's unlikely all could be built by the deadline, so it's plausible one of two towers would be 100% affordable.

B12/B13 to start in June or July

Solish said that the two towers on the southeast block, B12 and B13 (595 Dean and 615 Dean), were "still planning on breaking ground in the summer, June or July." They will be built by TF Cornerstone.

That seems to represent a slight nudge back, since at the January meeting Solish said "now it’s April-May, or May-June."

Site 5 moving slowly

What's going on at Site 5, currently home to Modell's and P.C. Richard, and slated for a giant two-tower project catercorner to the Barclays Center, once ESD approves the expected transfer of bulk from the unbuilt B1 site over what's now the arena plaza?

As I wrote after the 11/19/19 Quality of Life meeting, ESD Tobi Jaiyesimi said the authority planned to go to court that week to condemn the site. "We believe the condemnation will move forward. We understand that the developer is working with P.C. Richard to reach some type of agreement."

That agreement would break a long impasse, in which P.C. Richard seemingly won the right--costly to the original developer, Forest City Ratner (now owned by Brookfield)--to gain equivalent space in future construction.

In January, Jaiyesimi said, "Last fall it was announced that ESD would be submitting a petition to the courts. There’s a hearing that’s expected to happen soon."

At the most recent meeting, she said the petition was filed, but "We haven’t gone before the condemnation judge."

It had to be filed before the end of November, she said, because the state's finding of blight, which enable eminent domain, had expired. (Note: I have not been able to find the petition on the state court web site, but have asked for more information.)

A DOT rep will eventually show up

Given questions about traffic and pedestrian flow, residents had asked for a representative of the city Department of Transportation to attend the last meeting, and that appearance was scheduled--but at the last minute, the rep couldn't make it.

How, said Jaiyesimi, that rep is on extended leave. "So I'm coordinating with DOT to make sure that their staff representative is at the next meeting," she said, adding that she hopes to have a DOT rep attend the next meeting of the North Prospect Heights Association, given that they submitted a list of questions and concerns.

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