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

ESD notes from previous Quality of Life meeting show obfuscation on platform and Site 5, partial dodge on Dean Street question

Well, Empire State Development (ESD) has posted the official Meeting Notes (also at bottom) for the 7/21/20 Quality of Life meeting (my coverage), and they're worth checking before the next meeting, to be held 9/15/20, especially since I've added more detail on some issues.

There's clearly some obfuscation and evasion.

Timeline for platform and B5

From the notes:
There is no timeline available for the construction of the platform and B5. Details will be provided to the community when available.
Well, surely they knew more. As I reported last month:
Construction of the long-awaited platform over the first block of the Vanderbilt Yard, necessary for the construction of three towers, "will commence" in the second half of the year, according to a memo dated May 6 from the main project developer, Greenland USA, to state officials.
That obviously was known by ESD at the previous Quality of Life meeting, as well as the one in June, They just didn't tell us, perhaps because they had no more details.

Site 5 future

From the notes:
There were no updates on Site 5 condemnation proceedings or the litigation between PC Richards and Forest City Ratner/ Brookfield.
Well, there should now be an update, because ESD's effort at condemning the P.C. Richard site has been stalled.

Meeting procedures and transparency

Here's a summary of questions about meeting procedures:
Will participants be unmuted and allowed to speak during the meeting? ● Will the presentation be available before the meeting? ● Will the questions asked during the meeting be made public? ● Will the meeting presentation and notes be posted online? ● Will the names of meeting attendees be made public?
The response did not foster transparency:
The meeting presentation was not provided in advance of the meeting but is available online at esd.ny.gov/atlanticyards. Participants will not be unmuted during the meeting. Questions and comments may be submitted via chat or email and will be included in the meeting notes posted online. The names of meeting attendees will not be made public.
Well, you'd think the elected officials, or representatives of elected officials, should be made public, at least, and should be allowed (and encouraged) to affirmatively opt in.

And while indeed the questions are included in the meeting notes, they should be made public during the meeting, so others can build on them. Otherwise, it just disempowers the public.

Regarding Barclays Center

From the notes:
The arena continues to pay its hourly workers and remains committed to its charitable efforts.
That payment promise is very vague.

Parking spaces--minimum or fixed number?

From the notes:
The developer has met the parking requirement for B12 and B13; the garage will provide 455 spaces to maximize on the below-grade space available. The Project-wide requirement is for no less than 1,000 parking spaces. The lobby entrance for B12 and B13 will be on Dean Street and residents will have access to both buildings through B13.
(Emphases added)

As I reported, the document simply indicates 1,000 spaces, not as a minimum.

A bottleneck on Dean Street?

A question from the participants:
Can ESD cite any environmental analysis associated with the project that studies 758 vehicles utilizing one entrance on Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt Avenues?
The response:
The 2019 Tech Memo analyzed whether any new impacts on traffic not already examined for the Project would result if the number of parking spaces in the garage on Block 1129 were reduced. Aside from this analysis, the developer will have to satisfy the Department of Buildings that adequate queueing space would be provided inside the garage to avoid back up onto Dean Street.
Note that there's no acknowledgement of the number of entrances--or parking spaces per entrance--just the total number of spaces. The Tech Memo, quoted below, says nothing about entrances:
The Proposed Modifications would further reduce the parking supply on Block 1129 to 693 spaces (see “Reduction in Parking” below). With this reduction, fewer vehicles trips would be made to the Block 1129 parking facility than analyzed in the 2014 FSEIS. Therefore, the Proposed Modifications are not expected to result in new or different traffic impacts that were not previously identified and considered. 
But it did suggest that the important issue is the overall number of vehicle trips, not any potential bottleneck.

There may be one hurdle at the Department of Buildings, but I suspect it will be compliant.

Flashback to 2019 Tech Memo

Note this disingenuous language from the Tech Memo, which I just noticed:
With the Proposed Modifications, Site access to Building 12 and Building 13 would generally remain as previously contemplated, with most building entrances fronting Dean Street. However, it is possible that additional parking spaces associated with these buildings would connect under Building 14 and be accessed from the existing driveway serving that garage. In addition, a curbside layover or drop-off area in front of the proposed Fieldhouse may be provided to accommodate activities associated with that new use. This change, if sought, would result in the loss of up to three curb side parking spaces. 
It was "possible" or was it, in fact, planned?  Below is the previously indicated configuration, from 2014 and not updated as of the time of the Tech Memo, perhaps for obfuscatory purposes.
2014 plan
"Residential uses" on Dean Street?

A question submitted before the meeting was responded to not at the meeting but in the meeting notes:
Can you explain why B14 [535 Carlton] and B12 [the upcoming 595 Dean Street] are allowed by ESD to have no residential uses fronting Dean?
The response:
The Project’s Design Guidelines do not require residential entry on Dean Street for B14 and B12. 
(Emphasis added)

Note the linguistic shift: "residential uses" does not necessarily mean "residential entry."

The communication was a bit mangled on both ends. The actual question submitted from the North Prospect Heights Association:
1). The following is quoted from the project’s Design Guidelines. Can you explain why B14 and B12 are allowed by ESD to have no residential uses fronting Dean? Is it anticipated that B12 and B13 residents for the large residential elements will enter from a different direction than Dean?
That referenced this quote:
Along Block 1129, Dean Street would be lined with trees with the mass and placement of buildings along this street having a lower height and density that is compatible with the character of the neighborhoods to the south. These buildings – Buildings 11 through 14 – would have residential uses on the ground floor fronting Dean Street along with small local retail establishments and lobby entrances, to the larger residential elements, would be set back from Dean Street. These buildings would, similar to the Atlantic Avenue buildings, have a variety of setbacks and heights, but would all be much lower than the buildings along Atlantic Avenue. 
That's actually not from the Design Guidelines, which are part of the Modified General Project Plan, but from the MGPP itself.

The paragraph is a little confusing.

I can't be definitive, given the ambiguous use of "and" (which I also highlighted with an underline), but it reads to me that "residential uses on the ground floor fronting Dean Street along with small local retail establishments" would be along Dean. Meanwhile, "lobby entrances, to the larger residential elements, would be set back from Dean Street."

Retail--"small local retail"?--is planned in both B12 and B13, as shown in the image below, from the architect's presentation.

Residential uses

Let's focus on the gray and blue in the graphic below

B13 would have a large lobby, in blue, at Dean Street, which qualifies as both a residential use and a residential entry. However, there appears to be more space for Chelsea Piers, at pink, at both buildings.


Is there any residential use at B12 along Dean Street? Well, along with Chelsea Piers, there's retail (in yellow) and BOH, or "back of house," in dark brown. But there's a tiny sliver of gray zigging it's way to Dean Street, next to a small modified rectangle in pink, an apparent Chelsea Piers satellite.

Bottom line: it looks like they might meet the letter if not the spirit of the guideline--even if the question was evaded.


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