Skip to main content

Featured Post

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

Last month, in quick teleconference meeting, ESD board approved extending environmental monitor's contract

(Updated/revised 11/4/20 to clarify and add details regarding STV revision)

Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, last month quietly extended for two years a consulting contract with an environmental monitor, whose job it is to ensure that the Memorandum of Environmental Commitments is being met.

The decision was made at the end of the ESD's 3/26/20 ESD board meeting, conducted by teleconference.

It came after the scheduled 3/18/20 meeting of the advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC), which was moved from in-person to teleconference, then postponed.

No agenda for the AY CDC meeting had been posted. Presumably, the advisory body was expected to advise approval of the extension, as it had similarly at a meeting two years ago. But it didn't have the opportunity to do so.

Also, the ESD board voted to extend the contract with STV, the owner's representative, which also was to expire in March, for $1.25 million over two years.

Decision overview

According to the ESD board materials (at bottom), the current contract with HDR (Henningson, Durham & Richardson, Architecture and Engineering P.C.) of $5,645,000 expires May 2020, and the two year term would be at a cost not to exceed $500,000 per year.

The decision came in a voice vote, which quickly bundled multiple items, only one related to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, at the end of the ESD board meeting. The $500,000 annual contract is paid by ESD, which is then reimbursed by the project developer. (The STV contract structure is similar.)

"ESD has had a positive experience with HDR throughout the contract," the board materials state. "Staff has determined that the Project is best served by continuing to retain HDR to provide owner’s representative services to conduct mitigation monitoring of construction activities to ensure that environmental mitigation measures, as required of the Developer by the Memorandum, are provided throughout construction."

Previous extension

About two years ago, I reported 3/28/18 that the AY CDC agreed to recommend that the parent ESD extend consulting contracts for HDR and for an owners’ representative, STV, whose job is to make sure that the developer is in compliance with design and construction documents.

The essential logic was the same as the previous year—that the uncertain nature of the project’s future, with no new vertical construction planned, meant it wasn't wise to go through a full Request for Proposals process to address future impacts.

That said, the catalyst for new contracts would be the "next phase of construction, namely Site 5," then uncertain, said ESD official Marion Phillips III. Ambitious plans for that parcel, catercorner to the arena and currently home to Modell's and P.C. Richard, remain stalled--and are surely hampered by the coronavirus crisis.

The AY CDC board in 2018 voted to recommend that ESD extend the HDR contract for one year, with a one-year renewal option, for a maximum of $500,000 per year.

Monitor's scope of work

HDR's responsibilities, according to the board materials, include monitoring:
handling of hazardous materials at the site, including (i) development and implementation of procedures for pre-demolition removal of PCB-containing equipment in accordance with applicable regulations; (ii) implementation of dust suppression techniques during the demolition of buildings and any excavation, grading or earth-moving activities at the project site; (iii) additional subsurface investigations as needed to refine and supplement soil and groundwater sampling data previously collected; (iv) remediation of contaminated material where necessary (unless such activities are overseen by NYSDEC or NYCDEP); and (v) prior to remediation and excavation at the site, development and subsequent implementation of the Construction Health and Safety Plan and Community Air Monitoring Plan;
certain issues pertaining to construction, including (i) incorporation of necessary environmental commitments into construction contracts; (ii) routing of truck deliveries to minimize traffic impacts; (iii) designation of on-site staging areas to reduce truck queueing and materials storage in the streets; (iv) provision of an appropriate number of on-site construction worker parking spaces; (v) certain issues pertaining to noise mitigation, including use of equipment with the noise levels described in the FEIS, scheduling work to reduce night time and weekend noise, use of electrical powered equipment where feasible, location of noisy equipment away from the site perimeter, maintenance of noise barriers, use of quite construction procedures, maintenance of noise mufflers and use of noise curtains; (vi) provision of double-glazed windows and alternative ventilation for certain residential locations; (vii) provision of storm windows for certain windows of the Pacific Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and the Temple of Restoration; (viii) the construction-related air quality impact avoidance measures; and (ix) rodent control;
protection of cultural resources near the Project site from being impacted by construction on the Project site, as required by the Letter of Resolution;
review of the effectiveness of any modified design for stormwater management facilities;
review of fuels or boiler technologies other than those described in the FEIS;
review any proposed changes in the location of HVAC intakes in the event that the design of the relevant Project buildings changes from the design subject to air dispersion modeling in the FEIS and/or SEIS; and
review of adjustments to optimize the effectiveness of demand management measures to limit automobile traffic in connection with arena operation.
Given that weekend and overnight work have been routinely pursued and approved, it does not seem a priority to schedule work to reduce after hours noise.

The document gave an overview of construction:
Currently, construction has commenced on B15; this site will house a DOE middle school and residential tower with 30% affordable units. Construction has also commenced at B4. This building is expected to deliver 30% affordable units and complete the residential development on the “Arena Block.” Two more buildings, B12 and B13, with at least 25% affordable units, are expected to commence construction this year. Since then, of course, construction of B4 and B15 has been suspended. Also, it's not clear whether B12 and B13 will start as planned this summer. There is some work wrapping up at the railyard but, for now, there's not much for monitors to do.
The STV revision

STV would continue to review design and construction documents, observe construction activity, monitor site safety, attend progress meetings with developer staff, and coordinate with and report to ESD on a regular basis.

The current contract of $6,250,000 was to expire in March 2020. The two-year extension, with a cost not to exceed $1,250,000, would bring the total amount to $7,500,000.

STV scope of work

According to the document:
Since March 2010, STV, on behalf of ESD, has: (a) reviewed design and construction documents; (b) monitored all aspects of Project construction, including but not limited to: the Arena; MTA transit work (including LIRR Vanderbilt Rail Yard improvements); and the residential buildings (with infrastructure improvements) – checking for conformity to the Project’s General Project Plan, Design Guidelines, and other Project documents; (c) reviewed and monitored implementation of developer’s Site Safety Plan for protection of the public, including but not limited to provisions to: protect streets and sidewalks (including sidewalk bridges and construction fencing); protect adjacent properties; safeguard site ingress and egress and material storage; and monitor activities such as truck marshalling, use of cranes, and waste disposal; (d) attended regular progress meetings with developer, construction managers, and various contractors as necessary; (e) reviewed contractor documents; and (f) prepared regular reports to, and met regularly with, ESD concerning Project site conditions, conformity with Project documents, construction schedule, and anticipated activities and issues.
According to the document, the need for amendment:
On behalf of the Corporation, STV has monitored construction activity related to the delivery of the Barclays Arena, four residential buildings, upgrades to the LIRR train yards, and parcels of Open Space. Currently, construction has commenced on B15; this site will house a DOE middle school and residential tower with 30% affordable units. Construction has also commenced at B4. This building is expected to deliver 30% affordable units and complete the residential development on the “Arena Block.” Two more buildings, B12 and B13, with at least 25% affordable units, are expected to commence construction this year.
Start at p. 336 below.