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

Quality of Life meeting: no news on platform timing, B5 start, affordability; incremental updates otherwise, including tower progress

The big question marks over the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project remain unanswered, after last night’s low-key bi-monthly Quality of Life (virtual) meeting, which lasted little more than a half hour and attracted just 25 participants at its peak.

B15, at left, is topped out;
B4 should reach the height of the crane
Scott Solish, representing master developer Greenland Forest City Partners, said they had no updates on plans for B5, the first tower to be built over the railyard. A permit application was sought in May but not approved by the Department of Buildings (DOB).

“We continue to work on the design of the building” and review it with DOB, Solish said.

Asked about whether the platform over the first of two railyard blocks would start in 2020, as once promised, and whether a contractor has been signed, Solish said they had no “formal news” on the contractor. That choice of language could mean they have gotten closer to a contract, or just could just have been cagey.

Progress at the site

Solish shared slides, including the one above right, showing progress of B4 (18 Sixth) and B15 (37 Sixth). The latter has topped out, at some 272 feet, and both are getting facade work. B4 should reach 511 feet, the height of the crane.

Work on the foundation for B12 and B13 (615 Dean and 595 Dean), on the southeast block of the site, “started a few weeks ago” and will last a year.

What about affordability?

The four pending buildings should have 30% affordable units, but at what rent levels? (There's a good chance that most--if not all--apartments would be middle-income units, for households at 130% of Area Median Income, or AMI.)

Solish said that was still being discussed. “That information will become available sometime early in 2021.”

What next?

Asked if there will be any more condos in the project, he said, “as of now,” there are no plans. (Indeed, the previous 421-a tax break, now known as Affordable New York, no longer applies to condos in the project. But, who knows, laws could change.)

Asked to share a map and describe progress of each site’s construction, Solish used the map above. It is a generation old since it indicates building addresses for B12 (615 Dean) and B15 (664 Pacific), circa 2015, when both were expected to start.

Yes, Site 5's stalled

Tobi Jaiyesimi, executive director of the advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation and project director for Empire State Development, said they had no updates on plans for Site 5, catercorner to the arena and currently occupied by P.C. Richard and the building that housed Modell’s

She did note that—as I’ve reported—the state’s effort to condemn the P.C. Richard site has been stayed, as the parties await resolution of litigation between the retailer and the original project developer Forest City Ratner (now owned by Brookfield).

P.C. Richard won a lower court ruling ordering space for the retailer in the future tower at that site; Forest City says the agreement was only tentative.

Attendees

Other than Solish, Jaiyesimi, and an arena representative, there were no other official presenters, such as representatives of The Brodsky Organization, which is developing B15 and is a partner on B4, and TF Cornerstone, which is developing B12 and B13.

There were no representatives of other city or state agencies. Of elected officials, there were reps from the offices of Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon and U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke.

Barclays Center updates

Representing the Barclays Center, Mandy Gutmann noted the announcement, with the Board of Elections, that the arena will serve as an early voting site, from Oct. 24-Nov. 1, and will be open on Nov. 3, Election Day. The building’s atrium—not its full scope—will be the location.

“In addition, we have built out a hub on BarclaysCenter.com to help address voting and census needs,” she said.

Asked by a participant if the atrium could be used for small events, as long as the Barclays Center wasn’t hosting events, Gutmann demurred, saying, “I think a lot of that depends on the state, what we’re permitted to do.”

She also cited the announcement, by the owners of the Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty, and Barclays Center (operating company, actually), Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, to contribute $50 million over ten years toward social justice initiatives.

Gutmann noted that last Thursday the arena hosted, with the Food Bank of New York, the fourth food bank pop-up since the pandemic. The more recent event served about 580 families, and overall “we have served 10,000 New Yorkers in need.”

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