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

“I wouldn’t make any big development decisions right now." But Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park towers face deadlines.

“I wouldn’t make any big development decisions right now,” Dr. Richard J. Jackson, professor emeritus in the department of environmental health sciences at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, told the New York Times, 5/5/20, in Coronavirus Crisis Threatens Push for Denser Housing.

He was talking more generally about cities and suburbs around the country that have resisted density, rather than already dense--and getting denser--neighborhoods in New York City.

But his warning about designing for resilience resonates here, as well:
The era of a single architect designing buildings is over, he said, and transit-oriented development will need to bring in the best minds from design, health and transit to come up with living spaces that are conducive to community but also the well-being of residents.
That raises questions about crowding in elevators--like subways, seemingly a fundamental part of New York City living--as well as shared amenity spaces like in-building gyms or play areas. As with office space reconfigured to give workers some distancing, it surely raises costs and diminishes value.

One developer in the Washington area even suggested that sharing doors and elevators might shift their work to townhouses.

Note that some condemned the article as promoting NIMBYism. One comment from Twitter: "Nothing about this article suggests that COVID-19 is "threatening" the push for housing density around transit. Just the idea we may need to rethink some aspects of it. Why is the Times framing this in a NIMBY lens???"

What does it mean to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park?

This all raises questions about not just plans for future Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park towers, such as the B12 and B13 towers said to start this summer, but the under-construction B4 and B15 towers.

Have the interiors and fixtures of those two towers been reconfigured to address the new concerns? Or are they assuming/betting that the crisis will have passed when those towers open?

Surely some changes, such as touchless commands to open doors, might be achievable. But a new elevator to diminish crowding adds significant costs.

Meanwhile, if it's unwise to make development decisions now, that sets up a challenge, given the May 2025 deadline for 2,250 units total of affordable housing, as well the pressure on developers to earn returns on funds borrowed for construction and land/leases.

Stay tuned.

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