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

As B12 & B13 start looms, no info about affordability (middle-income?); Chelsea Piers still involved ("storage" was placeholder); dubious exchange on expanded parking

This is the third of three posts on the 7/21/20 Quality of Life meeting, sponsored by Empire State Development (ESD). The first concerned construction progress and open issues. The second concerned Barclays Center issues.

The B12 and B13 towers at the southeast block of the site have not actually started, TF Cornerstone's Amir Stein said at the meeting, though a construction fence has been installed. "We're working on final coordination with city agencies."

Once construction starts, it should take one year to build the foundation, part of a three-year total buildout. The towers will be built simultaneously.

There may be off-hour deliveries of construction equipment in coming weeks, he said.

He said the first five months, drilling piles, should be the noisiest, follwed by seven months of concrete pouring. Then eight months of superstructure. After that, general construction, including interior work.

He said there "likely will have to be night and weekend work, depending on certain trades." That seems related more to business objectives than neighborhood concerns. Typical work hours start at 7-7:30 am and go to 3-4 pm.

No info on affordability

Regarding the 30% affordable units, he said, "we’ve not yet determined affordability levels."

But his statement that the buildings would be participating in the 421-a tax break program, Affordable New York, suggests that either all--or two-thirds--of those units will be aimed at middle-income households.

He said that the law requires parity among unit types, for both affordable and market-rate units, and that affordable units are distributed throughout the buildings.

Chelsea Piers still involved

Responding to my report that permit documents designated space previously announced for Chelsea Piers as storage space, Stein said "this is just a temporary designation" and will be amended once Chelsea Piers drawings are finalized. "Chelsea Piers is very much part of the project."

OK, but why mislead?

He also said that B12 and B13 are fully compliant with the requirement of 327,000 square feet for residential use; I'd pointed out that the permits represent the space differently than do permits for other buildings in the project.

A dubious exchange on parking

Still unresolved is exactly how the developer got permission to add 455 below-grade parking spaces, on top of the 303 already at adjacent 535 Carlton.

Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yads/Pacific Park, approved a parking requirement reduction to 1,000 permanent spaces, including 693 spaces on Block 1129, that southeast block.

“As we’ve gone through the planning, there’s additonal capacity on the parking," Stein said. "And so we’re going to complete that additional capacity with additional parking spots.”

That's odd, because of course there’s additional capacity, since far more spaces were once planned there. The original parking configuration on Block 1129, studied in 2006, was 1,970 spaces, with three entrances, so 657 spaces per entrance. That's 5% less than the 693 officially approved, but 13% less than the currently planned 758.

The issue is less capacity than permission. "The project’s requirement is that no less than 1,000 spaces be provided in total," said ESD's Tobi Jaiyesimi. “Delivering 455 spaces will meet the project requirements."

But the language in an amendment to the guiding project plan--"The project will provide 1,000 permanent parking spaces"--does not indicate a minimum or a maximum.

Even if the required 1,000 spots might be interpreted as a minimum, the language in the underlying paragraph seems clear: that total "consists of... 693 spaces on Block 1129," according to the amendment.

Now there will be 758 spaces.

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