Well, here’s something we weren’t expecting: Forest City Ratner has rebranded Atlantic Yards. The new name of the development is Pacific Park. Forest City gave an interview to Curbed, which has a huge story, then sent us a press release this morning.
“While the development will forever be known as Atlantic Yards — there is a movie about it, after all — Pacific Park will be the new community that’s being built. Probably doesn’t hurt that a new name also sloughs off associations with past lawsuits, controversies over eminent domain, and visceral community opposition,” said Curbed. (more…)
Check out this updated map, which shows where the affordable and market rate housing at Atlantic Yards will go. The Atlantic Yards Report’s Norman Oder published it Thursday in City Limits and again on Atlantic Yards Report.
Pay no attention to the legend on the graphic — the important part is the outlines he added to the map. The two buildings outlined in yellow will be 100 percent affordable. The buildings outlined in red will be 50-50. The buildings outlined in green — six of them, apparently — will be market rate rentals or condos. That’s a lot of market rate apartments.
B4, incidentally, which is outlined in both green and red, will have a mix of 50-50 rentals and 100 percent market rate condos. (more…)
State officials, the de Blasio administration and local community groups have wrangled a deal with Forest City Ratner to accelerate the delivery of affordable housing at Atlantic Yards or pay a fine as high as $5 million, The New York Times reported. The agreement calls for all 2,250 affordable apartments to be built by 2025, and for the second and third buildings — a total of 600 units — to be 100 percent affordable. The old timetable was 2035, according to the Times.
“We are determined to jump-start affordable housing at Atlantic Yards,” said Mayor de Blasio. “And what’s remarkable is that we’ve secured nearly twice as many affordable units for our city investment,” he said.
Progress on the first apartment building, B2, pictured above, which is being built with modular methods that were supposed to speed things up, “has been painfully slow,” said the Times. (It started in December 2012 and will wrap in late 2015.)
The Times outlined a new construction schedule: The second building, at Dean and Carlton, must start by December 30. Then another tower next to the arena is planned. In addition, FCR said, it will start two luxury condos by July and December.
FCR is going to get a cash subsidy from the city of $11.75 million for each of the affordable towers. (The city paid $11.6 million to secure B2′s 182 affordable units.)
The agreement also spells out the income levels the subsidized apartments are aimed at. We find the definitions quite interesting. “The new agreement specifies that a portion of affordable units would be for low-income families of four that make $48,000 or less, moderate-income families earning up to $88,000 a year, and middle-income families earning up to $104,000,” said the Times.
Atlantic Yards Report took issue with the Times’ claim that 2035 was the “schedule.” AYR said 2035 would be permitted by state documents, but a “ten-year buildout” was always the plan:
As the project approvals were pending in 2006 and 2009, Forest City long pledged a ten-year buildout, and project benefits were always calculated on that timetable. Company CEO/Chairman Bruce Ratner later claimed that ten years “was never supposed to be” the timetable, as the buildout was market-dependent.
So if AYR is correct, the latest agreement just resets the timetable. What do you think of the announcement? Are you impressed with what de Blasio has accomplished?
Five architecture teams have reimagined Forest City Ratner’s controversial plan for Atlantic Yards with creative and cutting-edge designs for an exhibit opening next month at a Prospect Heights gallery. Each proposal had to incorporate 4,728,000 square feet of housing, 156,000 square feet of retail, and 1,234 parking spaces — numbers drawn from FCR’s master plan. The architects hope to spark a public debate and find a more contextual, less problematic way to develop the site.
OperA Studio designed a futuristic, twisting structure (pictured) where angled planes meet to create lots of public green space on top of the buildings. It links the high-rise residential towers with ground-floor commercial space, the Barclays Center and the Atlantic Terminal Mall. Then Amoia Cody Architecture takes on the problem of private green space with tetris-like “vertical lots” that include a terrace “yard” for each floor.
In a plan called “Quilted City,” Joshua Zinder Architecture examines how “layering” high-rise apartment towers around the Barclays Center and a relocated Atlantic Terminal could create several public spaces. And a fourth series of renderings from Matthias Altwicker and Farzana Gandhi envisions eight-story, movable blocks in a huge grid. Essentially, the blocks could become commercial, housing or manufacturing space, depending on the need. The fifth proposal, from David Cunningham Architecture Planning, isn’t described on the exhibit’s website.
Three community boards are fighting over jurisdiction of the 22 acres that make up the Atlantic Yards development. Most of the complex, which runs along Atlantic Avenue near the intersection of Flatbush Avenue, is technically in Prospect Heights, with a small section in Park Slope. But the community boards don’t exactly follow neighborhood lines, so bits of it belong to CB 2, 6, and 8.
Why it matters is not really clarified by a story examining the matter in detail in The New York Times. The CBs are responsible for things like trash pickup, liquor license reviews and noise complaints. Developer Forest City Ratner says “all the districts would share local hiring and affordable housing opportunities regardless of what happens.” A few observers say it would be easier to oppose the development if responsibility for it were concentrated in one community board.
Click through to the story for a helpful map showing exactly where Atlantic Yards is going to go. Above, the rail line portion that runs along Atlantic Avenue from Barclays Center to Vanderbilt Avenue in the snow in February. It’s eventually supposed to be covered by a platform and six towers.
Forest City Ratner and Greenland Holding Group will break ground on three more residential towers this year, even as the first Atlantic Yards tower, B2, is woefully delayed, The New York Times reported over the weekend in a story we missed. The towers will be built with conventional, not modular means.
Two will be rentals and one a condo. Forest City is having trouble with the modular process, which was supposed to speed construction and reduce costs, the Times said. Only five of the planned 32 stories at B2 have risen so far, as others such as Atlantic Yards Report and Curbed had recently noted. The developer has stepped up its pace to install three modules a day, according to Atlantic Yards Report.
The date to finish up B2 is now late 2015, more than a year behind schedule. One of the apartment buildings, a rental, will go up next to B2. The other two will be located at the “eastern end of the site,” said the Times.
Barclays Center has kicked out a real estate conference planned for Tuesday at the venue because tenant groups planned to protest keynote speaker Forest City Chairman Bruce Ratner, The Real Deal reported. LandlordsNY conference organizers were looking for a new venue. But wherever they end up, Ratner will no longer deliver the keynote.
Tenant advocate groups the Fifth Avenue Committee, Met Council on Housing and Make the Road were planning to protest the selection of Ratner as a keynote spaker, saying he is not a good “role model for landlords” because the Atlantic Yards project displaced tenants and has not yet built promised affordable housing, according to the story.
Today, Forest City Ratner started stacking its modular apartments onto the frame of the Atlantic Yards B2 tower, which will become the world’s tallest modular building. The first mod went up at 3:30 am today, according to Atlantic Yards Report. The B2 site is located at Flatbush and Dean Street next to Barclays Center.
We took a tour around Forest City Ratner’s fascinating modular apartment factory at the Navy Yard yesterday, where reps from FCRC said they’ll begin shipping out the fully constructed units next week. They’ll stack the units to create the first Atlantic Yards residential tower, the 32-story building under construction next to the Barclays Center that is known as B2. When work finishes next year, the 363-unit tower will be the tallest modular building in the world.
Currently, Forest City expects construction to wrap by December 2014 — a faster pace than normal construction, which would take at least another 18 to 20 months. They also estimate that building modular units will be 10 percent cheaper than typical residential construction, but they hope it will become even less expensive and more efficient as they build more developments in the Atlantic Yards project. The tower will be a 50-50 mix of market rate and affordable housing, of which 20 percent will be low-income housing.
Architects SHoP and Forest City Ratner collaborated on the design and building process for the apartments. Each nut and bolt piece of the apartment is installed before it leaves the Navy Yard facility, including the electrical wiring and plumbing, hardwood floors, appliances, and even the towel bars. The hallways and stairwells are being built at the modular factory as well. Rooms in the apartment are often assembled as separate modules, e.g. bathrooms, bedrooms, and living room/kitchen could all be separate pieces. The variety of shapes allows for 25 different layouts.
After the unit is stacked in the building, contractors and electricians will connect each apartment’s utilities to the building’s common lines. The exterior sides of the apartments have the facade already attached (see pictures after the jump), and the facade will be “self-sealing” because the pieces fit together with seals between each unit.
“Affordable” rents at the first Atlantic Yards tower will range from $648 to $2,740 a month for a two-bedroom, with the average two-bedroom renting for $1,946, the Atlantic Yards Report said, based on just-published information from New York City’s Housing Development Corporation.
This is the first time any specifics have been released, although rents could change by the time the tower is completed late in 2014 because they are based on Area Median Income. Above, the ghost outlines of the B2 tower at left and another one slated to rise next to Barclays Center at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush.
Out of 363 units in 32 stories total, there will be 181 affordable units. Of these, 20 percent will be low income and 30 percent middle income. Market-rate two-bedrooms are expected to be $4,403 a month.
There will be relatively few bigger subsidized units. Here’s the breakdown: 76 studios, 69 one-bedrooms, and 36 two-bedrooms — a violation of the Community Benefits Agreement, which called for more two- and three-bedrooms, according to AYR. The average subsidized studio will go for $1,078 a month. The average subsidized one-bedroom clocks in at $1,161.
For more specifics on what the units will cost and who will qualify, click through to the Atlantic Yards Report story. Do you think these new units will be help ease the housing crunch?
A band of politicians and community groups Friday said New York State should block the sale of 70 percent of Atlantic Yards and look for a local affordable housing developer with a track record to complete it, reported a number of outlets. There will be 2,250 “affordable” units in 11 planned towers. Only one tower, B2, pictured above, is currently under construction, and that one will have only 181 affordable units.
Developer Forest City Ratner initially promised to finish the project in 2016, then 2035, and now there is no set date, said The Brooklyn Paper.
“We are very focused on accelerating the housing,” Capital New York quoted Forest City spokesman Joe DePlasco as saying. The group blamed the delays on lawsuits.
A group of 10 Brooklyn politicians are asking Atlantic Yards’ new backer, Greenland Group, to speed up delivery of 2,500 affordable apartments in exchange for their approval of Greenland taking a 70 percent interest in the project. The project was delayed by a lack of funding and lawsuits, according to The New York Daily News.
“Despite the overwhelming need, it’s unfortunate that there really is no oversight and no one is holding Forest City Ratner accountable,” the News quoted Public Advocate-elect and City Council Member Letitia James as saying. The group of 10, including City Council Members Brad Lander, James and Stephen Levin, U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries, and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, are holding a press conference today at 1 pm on Degraw Street, according to an announcement the group sent out.
Work started on the first residential tower, B2, this year. The modular tower, which is six months behind schedule, will be 32 stories high with 181 affordable, low-, moderate- and middle-income units. It is next to Barclays Center at the intersection of Flatbush and Dean Street. Above, men at work on the B2 tower in October.