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

As construction progresses at towers, questions about social distancing and state monitoring

This is the fourth of several posts on the 6/9/20 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting, the first ever virtual meeting, held on Zoom. The first concerned non-transparency. The second concerned the timing for new construction. The third concerned neighborhood checkpoints.

As shown in the slideshow below, the permanent Vanderbilt Yard is substantially complete, said Greenland USA's Scott Solish.

"Obviously, the railroad and MTA, like we all did, went through a difficult period of operations," he said, indicating the coronavirus crisis. "We’ve been working with them to get the final track work finished" and "should be finished over the next week or so."

At that point, he said, "the yard should be in permanent final completion," which is the MTA requirement.

 Construction progress 

Solish showed photos of the B4 (18 Sixth Avenue) and B15 (37 Sixth Avenue, 662-664 Pacific Street) towers, both of which have risen in the past few months.

"Hopefully you will see facade and windows over the summer," he said.

I assume that was a reference to B4, which Greenland is building with The Brodsky Organization, rather than B15, which Brodsky is building after leasing the site from Greenland.

Solish said someone had asked about staging areas, having seen cement mixers on demapped Pacific Street next to the 550 Vanderbilt condo tower.

"Per the MEC," or Memorandum of Environmental Commitments, "the goal is to keep as much construction traffic off neighboring streets as possible," he noted, indicating that the street will be used for other project sites.

Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, if and when Pacific Park is finished, will be transformed into the heart of the open space.

After-hours work for social distance

Solish noted that both had shut down during the initial stages of the coronavirus crisis, then each reopened as a "socially distanced construction site."

He thus explained, for the first time, that the after-hours permits were sought to enable staggered start times and fewer workers at the same time.

Workers have their temperature checked, are required to wear personal protective equipment, and have additional hand-washing for workers. "So far it’s been working quite well," he said.

Questions about compliance

Various residents have said they've seen construction workers in the neighborhood without masks. Solish said they were required on site, "but just like anyone else, when you walk around," some people wear masks and some don't. "We continue to stress be a good neighbor."

Tobi Jaiyesimi of Empire State Development (ESD) responded to a question about whether the state monitors--an environmental monitor and an owner's representative--are checking on the new rules instituted by the state.

"Monitoring compliance with social distance," she said, is "not within the scope of work of ESD’s consultants."

That of course reflects that the contracts were written before the coronavirus crisis, though, as noted below, one was renewed in the early stages of the crisis.

As the photo--sent by a community member--at right of the B15 site in mid-May indicates, social distancing may be impossible.

That said, state guidelines offer a significant loophole: "Ensure 6 ft. distance between personnel, unless safety or core function of the work activity requires a shorter distance."

The contract renewal

Jaiyesemi responded to a question about the renewal of the contract of the environmental monitor, HDR, which was approved by the ESD board in March without any input from the advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation, which had its March meeting postponed because of the pandemic.

"A decision was made by ESD legal to move forward with all contracts and necessary budget approvals," she said, noting that it was an agency-wide decision not specific to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park.