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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

Project completion by 2031? Greenland rep says "8-9 years" from now, but much reason for doubt. Previous filing: 2035. At least 7 towers to go.

This is the second of ten articles on the 6/7/22 meeting of the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation. The first concerned the affordable housing timetable. The third addressed the impact of a potential Greenland default. The fourth concerned expectations of 421-a benefits. The fifth concerned the deadline for the Urban Room. The sixth addressed timing for the school. The seventh concerned plans for the platform. The eighth discussed community impacts of construction. The ninth concerned plans for B12/B12 affordable housing. The tenth concerned the Open Meetings Law.

As I've written, I consider the AY CDC mostly toothless, but sometimes their meetings yield, however unwittingly, some useful information or, at least, claims.

A representative of developer Greenland USA, which owns nearly all of Greenland Forest City Partners (GFCP), said in response to a question about the anticipated completion date of the full project, "We think sometime probably in the next eight-ish, eight to nine years."

GFCP has previously not been willing to offer a completion date, nor a road map to completion, and executive Scott Solish did not not offer such details. 

B5-B7, over first railyard block

If his projection was correct, that would mean completion by 2031, four years ahead of the 2035 "outside date" set in the project's guiding Development Agreement.

It also means completion of seven towers--one of them, perhaps, a two-tower project--in nine years, which is a lot of construction, and a lot of inventory.

Reasons for skepticism

So let's take that with a grain of salt, especially since GFCP has previously refused to provide a building-by-building timetable and in 2018 told buyers at the 550 Vanderbilt condo building that “the remaining buildings, and the balance of the public park, [are] projected to be completed in phases by 2035."

Also keep in mind that the image above right, of the first three towers over the MTA's Vanderbilt Yard,, was first shared in a 9/30/19 article fed to the New York Post, unwisely claiming that "Pacific Park moves to fast track."

At the time, GFCP projected starting the first phase of the two-phase platform in 2020. Now it's at least two years later. 

Yes, the pandemic intervened, but few projections regarding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park have been accurate. In fact, the Chairman of parent Greenland Holding Corp. in 2013 projected completion by November 2021!

Also keep in mind that building the second phase of the platform would be more complicated, and expensive, than the first phase, given the lack of terra firma. 

That second phase, stretching between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues, and Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue, would deliver the majority of the project's open space, given the planned conversion of demapped Pacific Street.

The discussion

During the meeting, Solish said (in the video below), "It's a big leap, but eventually, this is what the completed block would look like." That means the already-constructed B4, 18 Sixth Ave., to the left, west of Sixth Avenue.

Then B5, the first tower over the railyard, would be the building that steps down with a series of terraces with B6 and B7 to the right. The railyard block, Block 1120, is bounded by Sixth and Carlton avenues, and Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue.

Relatively small amounts of open space would border the buildings. (Solish called it "the next significant section of park.")

 

"So there's a lot to do," he continued. "It's exciting to begin work on the first phase in the platform after the completion of the [revamped] yard and getting this designed and ready to go... I know it seems like a lot of construction, but this has always been a critical part of getting the housing and open space built and we're excited to get moving."

Director Daniel Kummer asked for confirmation that the first phase of the deck would support three buildings.

"Yes," said Solish. "And then three more on the next section across the street, six in total."

Asking the question

"I'm sorry if I missed this," asked Director Julene Beckford, "but what's the anticipated completion date of the entire project?" (She hadn't missed it; neither parent ESD nor the developer had disclosed it.)

"We think sometime probably in the next eight-ish, eight to nine years," Solish said.

After hearing thanks, Solish said something about how it was "keeping me busy."

"It’s completely unrecognizable," Beckford said, with a bit of wonderment.

Neither the directors nor the ESD staff intervened to point out that Solish's schedule deserved skepticism.

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