Atlantic Yards Report’s Norman Oder has an extremely in-depth look at a lawsuit between two companies that Forest City Ratner worked with that sheds light on how the developer has been examining using modular construction at Atlantic Yards. The lawsuit, which was settled in August with confidentiality clauses, was brought by a company called Kullman Buildings Corp. against a firm called XSite Modular. XSite is comprised of several former Kullman employees. The suit alleged that Forest City “was effectively able to circumvent Kullman’s refusal to turn over the ownership rights in this system by the fact that Kullman’s key employees collaborated a plan to work directly with FCRC under the formation of a new rival company.” XSite entered into a contract with Forest City early this year and the developer paid for XSite’s defense. Kullman, which had been working with Forest City for a couple years, had also been up for the contract, which involved helping the developer develop a system for designing and manufacturing heretofore-untested super-tall modular buildings. Here’s a bit of Oder’s analysis on what Forest City may have gained out of the whole deal: “[T]he deal XSite signed represented a significant discount, saving the developer $3 million for each of the first three planned towers, and more after that. Crucially, with that contract Forest City keeps full ownership of emerging intellectual property: the design of the system to produce modular units for buildings of such heights. Kullman had wanted to share ownership of such methodology.” It’s still unclear whether Forest City will use modular construction for the first residential tower at Atlantic Yards or for any of the subsequent skyscrapers planned.
The Secret History of Forest City’s Prefab Plans [AY Report]
Photo by Loozrboy