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

At Quality of Life meeting, no updates on big questions (platform, affordability); obfuscation re disruptive air horns, lack of transparency re after-hours work

This is the first of four posts about the July 13, 2021 Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Quality of Life meeting. The second addressed some mysterious, unauthorized "No Parking" signs. The third concerned some Barclays Center issues. The fourth cited pending questions.

Last night’s meeting was anti-climactic and underinformative, even by the standards of past virtual meetings, given that no representative of the Barclays Center or master developer Greenland Forest City Partners was present, leaving Empire State Development representative Tobi Jaiyesimi to answer some of the questions posed, and promising to have others answered in meeting notes.

About 21 people attended the meeting, which lasted about 50 minutes.

Big questions pending

There were no updates on the big questions regarding the project:
  • the timing for the platform over the Vanderbilt Yard, crucial to future tower construction
  • the affordability of the under-completion B4 (18 Sixth Ave.) and B15 (662 Pacific St.) towers, each with 30% affordable units (but likely middle-income)
  • plans to transfer bulk from the unbuilt Miss Brooklyn, which was to loom over the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues, site of what’s now the arena plaza, but likely will be transferred across Flatbush to Site 5, currently home to P.C. Richard and the shuttered Modell’s, already approved for a large building, creating a giant two-tower project.
The platform is contingent on discussions between the Long Island Rail Road and Greenland Forest City, which are still discussing final completion of the Vanderbilt Yard, used to store and service Long Island Rail Road trains. Thus a contractor has not been announced (though the developer has said one has been selected).

B4 tower
The B4 tower is scheduled for move-ins during the fourth quarter of 2021 and the B15 tower, despite the announced “Plank Road” branding and a tentative listing of available apartments, does not have a current move-in date.

(Images from the brief slide presentation, as shown in the screenshots, came from the pro-development website NY YIMBY.)

Site 5 plans have been stalled because ESD’s condemnation petition has been stayed, pending resolution of a dispute between P.C. Richard and original developer Forest City (since absorbed by Brookfield) over promises of replacement space to the retailer.

Meeting format means partial answers

B15 tower, from Dean Street
This meeting likely will have been the last online-only meeting, with future meetings scheduled for Sept. 14 and Nov. 16 likely to be in person, possibly with a “quasi-hybrid format.”

That should allow for more follow-up, since the online format—with community participants unable to see who’s present, and with questions/comments posed in chat visible only to moderators—allows for obfuscation.

Concerns about air horns downplayed

For example, the North Prospect Heights Association submitted a question noting that they’d received “numerous complaints about the air horns [audio here] used in association with the cranes at the B12 and B13 site. Have alternative types of signals been researched? Are there ways to minimize the sound? How long is it anticipated the blasts will last?”

Amir Stein of developer TF Cornerstone took it up: “So, some questions came in with respect to the air horns, which are required attenuation and sound signals by DOB [Department of Buildings] and OSHA. So these will continue through the end of the year until we top out the structure.”

That responded in part, but didn't address the neighbors’ concerns. Meanwhile, as indicated in the slide at right, they're busy trying to get the buildings up.

Later, Jaiyesimi read a second question that had apparently been re-submitted: “has the decibel level of air horns been measured in relation to the impact on homes nearby? What specific decibel levels does the state feel is acceptable inside each home nearby?”

The question, she said, had been submitted “right before tonight's meeting and we haven't had a chance to fully review it, we'll circle back with the team, and then provide any updates accordingly.”

She said meeting notes for the previous meeting, two months ago, would be “posted shortly” and apologized for the delay, adding that both sets of notes likely would be posted at the same time.

Missing disclosure

Jaiyesimi read a question I submitted about information regularly lacking from the two-week Construction Update regarding the B12/B13 site: “Why doesn't ESD disclose the expected hours for Saturday work or cite the After-Hours Variance for 6 am weekday work? Will ESD do better in the future?”

Her response was not quite on point: "I believe the Saturday hours were previously on the two-week look ahead--I know it's listed on the B4 and B15 sites, but we will be sure to confirm the permit hours for the site, 12 and 13, and include that on the future for [B]12 and 13. The hours are from 9 am to 5 pm for Saturday work. But again, we'll be sure to update the Construction Alert to include that."

The hours are publicly disclosed by the Department of Buildings. It's not hard to check if I can do it.

Regarding the missing mention of the variance, she said, "Again, that additional information can be added to the Construction Alert. The scope of work is really just a warm up. Looking at the preparation for work related to the progression of the superstructure work at both sites. Thank you for bringing that to our attention. It wasn't done to not be transparent or to not provide adequate information to the community. It's been brought to our attention and I will be sure to clarify it accordingly."

Well, it's been brought to their attention for months.

About the increased truck activity

Given that text indicated in red in the two-week Construction Update is supposed to indicate new work, I asked about the red text indicating an increase in truck activity at the B12/B13 site.

Did that mean that the previous increase in truck activity announced didn't happen, and was now expected to happen, or was this a sloppy non-update of the previous update? 

No, said Jaiyesimi. “The increase in truck activity was specifically highlighted again just to ensure that folks in the community were made aware of the increase in activity for the B12 and B13 site, as they prepare for their concrete pours.”

Well, maybe it shouldn’t have been in red, without a further explanation.

Comments

  1. Hmmmm, 130 AMI, affordable? But many individuals like me who earn 51,600 and up less than 60,000 cant even apply for these units, where is the in between AMI, 70, 75, and 80?

    ReplyDelete

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