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Schedule creep: now middle-school at B15 tower is due March 2024 (once Fall 2018, most recently September 2023)

The schedule creep continues, and the school gets further delayed.

The 812-seat middle-school occupying the first six floors, plus below-ground space, at the B15 tower (664 Pacific St., 37 Sixth Ave.) is now due in March 2024, according to the School Construction Authority's recently updated November 2020 Capital Plan (p. C8), excerpted below.

While no explanation is offered, the shift surely relates to the estimated interior construction start of July 2021, rather than January 2021, as most recently estimated. The builders of the tower construct only the core and shell.

The new estimate suggests that the I.S. 653--called by backers MS OneBrooklyn--won't open until the 2024-25 school year, a year later than the previous prediction of September 2023. 

The under-construction residential portion of the tower is expected to be finished in 2022, with move-ins starting in late 2021. It will have 312 apartments, 94 of them designated affordable (income levels not yet announced). The later opening may provide time to prepare for the inevitable congestion spurred by residential, school, and arena uses, with active police and fire stations nearby.

A long process

Previous estimates have always been optimistic, sometimes irrationally so. As I wrote, an August 2016 letter from Empire State Development head Howard Zemsky to Assemblymember Walter Mosley, stated "A district wide middle school is also expected to open in the Fall of 2018."

That was dubious, given that 664 Pacific, then a 27-story market-rate rental building with a school at its base, had not been launched after its unveiling in 2015.

The SCA's February 2018 Capital Plan (p. C8) pointed to a July 2019 construction start and June 2021 project completion. But the SCA's November 2018 Capital Plan (p. C8) pointed to a June 2020 construction start and August 2022 project completion, in time for the 2022-23 school year.

A shift in plans

The SCA's February 2019 Capital Plan, similarly suggested a June 2020 construction start, after excavation, and completion by August 2022. That, however, presumed a May 2015 start for design work, which went through a revision, as the school--once a hybrid elementary/middle school--was expanded from 640 seats to 812 seats.

As I reported in September 2019, an SCA rep revealed that the school would not open until September 2023--a delay based on the aim to "refresh" designs over the previous nine months--and it would hold 800 students, a 25% increase. 

Two months later, I reported that the capacity had increased to 812, with the total cost marginally increasing to $126.18 million. Now it's $128.89 million.

Just last month, I reported that the February 2020 edition of the SCA Capital Plan said I.S. 653 was due by June 2023, with construction starting in January 2021. 

That, obviously, didn't hold. And it was not disclosed, for example, at last month's Quality of Life meeting, where residents get updates about the project.


  1. Anonymous10:58 AM

    Hopefully, that does not mean 5 years of scaffolding!


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