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.
Forest City Ranter last week sued New York City to ask for a reduction in the assessed value of one of its as-yet-unbuilt Atlantic Yards sites. Forest City is seeking to reduce the amount it would pay in tax, DNAinfo reported.
The developer already has received at least $761 million in subsidies from the government, according to the publication. The site in question, on the southern side of the project, is Block 1129 — currently a parking lot. The Finance Department valued it at $11,200,000. FCR says it’s worth about $1,600,000. Technically, FCR doesn’t pay property tax, but rather something called “payments in lieu of taxes,” or PILOTs, because it leases the land from the city.
If all this sounds familiar, that’s because last year the company filed another lawsuit charging the city had overvalued Barclays Center. Three days after DNAinfo reported the lawsuit, FCR dropped it, saying it was filed in error.
Above, the railway over which some of the Atlantic Yards project will be built.
Chinese property developer Greenland Holdings Group, which is owned by the Chinese state, has agreed to buy a majority stake, or 70 percent, in the remaining as-yet-unbuilt Atlantic Yards project, owned by Forest City Ratner, The Wall Street Journal reported. The purchase would not include the first tower, known as B2, which is already going up next to the arena. How much Greenland will pay for the ownership stake was not disclosed, and the deal will not close for some time, because it needs to be reviewed by Chinese and U.S. officials.
The purchase may hasten the construction of the remaining towers, which were originally expected to be completed as early as this year, according to the Journal. (Above, the rail yard over which some of the towers will be built.) It’s unclear how much Forest City Ratner will benefit from the deal. In September, an exec with company that owns FCR said “the company wasn’t expecting to receive more than the cost of the land in any sale at Atlantic Yards,” said the Journal.
The remaining towers are residential except for one office building and retail space. Greenland is also working on some other high-profile projects, including what will likely be China’s tallest skyscraper, in Wuhan and, in Sydney, the tallest apartment building.
The modular building process that was supposed to save Forest City Ratner money by accelerating production is instead delaying it. The opening date for B2, as the first residential tower to go up is known, is now six months later than planned, according to a story in Atlantic Yards Report. Forest City Ratner exec Jane Marshall confirmed at a meeting last night that the timetable for the opening of B2 is now the last quarter of 2014, rather than the second quarter of 2014. She attributed the delay to changes at the modular factory.
Meanwhile, at the construction site next to Barclays Center, workers are building the platform with its 12-foot steel beam over which the modular units will be placed. They are also doing concrete work on the cellar and first floor, she said. Above, the building site in July.
Shocking news from the New York Times today: Bruce Ratner is looking to sell as much as 80 percent of the as-yet-unbuilt portion of the controversial Atlantic Yards project. Real estate analysts quoted in the story spun the sale as business as usual (the story noted Forest City already sold a stake in the Nets and Atlantic Center and brought in a development partner for the first tower.) The development, cited as worth about $5 billion in the story, will include 14 residential buildings with 6,000 units, all grouped near Barclays Center at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues. So far, only Barclays Center has been completed, although work has started on the first residential tower. Barclays Center has garnered many accolades since it opened, but nonetheless the project “has had a long and tortured history,” said the Times. “Mr. Ratner first conceived of the development in 2003, when he sought to bring a major sports team to Brooklyn as a lever for a broader residential and commercial project. He received hundreds of millions of dollars in public cash and incentives. But after a long public review process, the developer was buffeted by a recession, community opposition and a weak market.” Forest City said it will continue to helm the project, and said the sale will help fund accelerated construction of several delayed buildings, which will include low-income units. Real estate company CBRE is marketing the investment. What do you think? Is this how Ratner rolls? Or is he getting out while the getting out is good?
A report from nonprofit Cause of Action charges that Forest City Enterprises has received huge government subsidies in exchange for political contributions, The New York Post was the first to report. However, the report fails to show a direct cause and effect. Even Atlantic Yards Report, which has been critical of the group’s Atlantic Yards Development, said the findings were a little too simplistic. “It should come as no surprise that we support candidates whose policies promote economic development and job creation,” said a spokesman for Forest City quoted in the Post. “However, to suggest or imply a direct connection between this support and our opportunities as a company is baseless and defamatory.”
The developers who purchased the warehouse at 594 Dean Street across from Atlantic Yards plan a complete renovation. Above is the most updated rendering of what’s to come. The renovated space will have 16,500 square feet of ground floor retail and 11,000 square feet of second floor office space. The developers will maintain the 10,000-square-foot parking lot that is situated behind the property on Bergen Street. Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates represented both the buyer and seller in the $6,000,000 transaction. According to their press release, “The building is ideal for use as a health club, medical office, restaurant or creative work space.” Warehouse Near Barclays Center Sells [Brownstoner]
Two industry associations, The Mechanical Contractors Association and The Plumbing Foundation, have sued the city, specifically the Department of Buildings, claiming that the agency has wrongly allowed Forest City Ratner to circumvent building codes in its use of prefab construction to erect the first Atlantic Yards tower, several news outlets reported. The units are partly preassembled at the Navy Yard and then delivered to the building site, at the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue. Spokespeople for Ratner and the city disputed the suit. The factory workers are union labor overseen by a licensed engineer, and they do not attach plumbing or electrical systems, according to Forest City Ratner. “The units are then delivered to the building and installed, and all plumbing connections are made by licensed plumbers,” said a spokesman quoted in the Daily News. The city said code requires “a licensed tradesman” to install plumbing and fire suppression systems only at the building site, not elsewhere. The lawsuit could potentially delay the completion of the first building, which was supposed to happen by next summer, said the Daily News.