Skip to main content

Featured Post

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

Quality of Life meeting tomorrow: issues include project progress, affordability, neighborhood conditions, protocols

Here are some questions/issues for the upcoming Quality of Life meeting, to be held tomorrow at 6 pm on Zoom, by Empire State Development (ESD) with representatives of the developer(s) and, presumably, the Barclays Center.

We do have an agenda--er, list of presenting entities--which was the minimum before previous meetings, except for the most recent meeting, the first held via Zoom.

First, some other questions about protocols:
  • will any presentations be provided beforehand?
  • will participants with questions be unmuted so they can speak, when called on, and thus ask follow-up questions?
  • will the Zoom meeting show the names of other attendees?
  • will all questions be made public in the chat?
Construction progress

What's the progress on the platform over the Vanderbilt Year, and the B5 tower? When will work on each start?

What's going on with Site 5? Has condemnation proceeded? Has Forest City (or Greenland Forest City) resolved the dispute with P.C. Richard?

Has the B12 and B13 construction actually started? Why do plans submitted to the Department of Buildings show below-ground space as storage, while previously it was designated as a field house and fitness center operated by Chelsea Piers?

Are the field house and fitness center still part of the plan? If not, how can "recreational space" be reclassifed as storage?

Regarding the replacement Vanderbilt Yard, how many work items have been certified by the MTA as achieving Substantial Completion? How many have not? Has the railyard, as a whole, achieved Substantially Completion?

Similarly, how many work items have been certified by the MTA as achieving Final Completion? How many have not? Has the railyard, as a whole, achieved Final Completion?

Affordability issues

Regarding B12 and B13, what will be the income levels of the affordable units? Will all the affordable units be middle-income?

What will be the distribution of affordable units among small and large apartments? Will that match the distribution of market-rate units in those buildings?

How much space is being devoted to residential space at those towers? Does a number exceeding the previously approved maximum indicate that the limits are being violated, or that permits are presented in a way incommensurate with the filings for previous buildings.

How does the developer plan to meet the 2025 deadline for 2,250 affordable units? How many buildings will the 876 additional required units be built in?

Neighborhood issues

How long will barriers stay on streets around the arena and the 78th Precinct?

How much are construction workers complying with required social distancing on site, and recommended social distancing offsite?

Have police been required--not just advised--to wear masks when entering residential buildings to use bathrooms?

Barclays Center issues 

What's up with the Barclays Center oculus? Is it still being lit overnight for safety purposes? While the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote has returned after recalibration of the oculus, how long will it remain?

At the previous Quality of Life meeting, arena spokeswoman Mandy Guttman said "we committed to pay [Barclays Center workers] for the events they would’ve worked, and that is continuing."

If so, why hasn't the statement on the arena website saying workers would be paid through the "end of May" been updated? Given that fewer events were scheduled after May, and the arena obviously stopped booking events, how many events will workers have been paid for in June and July?

What are plans for the MTA Video Music Awards on August 30? How many people will be involved? How many trucks?

Looking at the past meeting's notes: agenda, open space

Here's a link to coverage of the previous meeting. The official notes from ESD, embedded below, cover most of the issues raised, but I'll note a couple of things.

Asked why no agenda was sent out, the response was, "Staff was unable to distribute the meeting’s agenda in advance of the meeting, but an overview of the meeting structure and presentations was provided at the start of the meeting." That's not very forthcoming.

Asked whether construction activity at the B12 and B13 sites have any impact on the existing open space at the adjacent 550 Vanderbilt Avenue (B11) and 535 Carlton Avenue (B14), the response was, "Construction activity may result in temporary closures of the Open Space at the two neighboring buildings, but notice will be provided accordingly."

It looks like the encroachment on open space--not the closure but the diminishment--at 550 Vanderbilt may last a while.

Looking at the past meeting's notes: garage

Asked how many spaces will be provided at the parking garage under B12/B13, and what generated the decision to provide this number of spaces, the response was "TF Cornerstone decided internally to provide only the 455 spaces required by the Project."

That fudges a complicated issue, which hasn't been helped by deception from the state. There are already 303 spaces on the southeast block, under 535 Carlton. That same curb cut on Dean Street will be used to access the additional 455 spaces. 

Except... the large parking garage on that block was approved at 693 spaces, not 758 spaces, which is the total it now will have. It was not approved at "at least 693 spaces."

In other words, those 455 required spaces were not required at that location.

Still, I was told by ESD, "The Atlantic Yards Project Modified General Project Plan (MGPP) requires at least 390 parking spaces at B12 and B13. By delivering a total of 455 parking spaces, the developer would meet (and exceed) that requirement."

That doesn't make sense. The total on that block was a specific requirement, not a minimum, or a maximum.