Pacific Park Modular Woes: FOIL Docs Reveal a “Rain Barrel” of Leaks Delayed B2 Tower

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The modular tower known as B2, nestled against Barclays Center at 461 Dean Street in the Pacific Park/Atlantic Yards development, cause of lawsuits and greatly delayed, reached the 17th floor a few weeks ago. Its problem days are behind it, according to the latest communique from a spokesman.

But Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards Report, in a story on City Limits and two on his own blog, has dug up some details of its construction via FOIL that reveal a tortured past indeed — and might give pause to anyone contemplating renting there.

Atlantic Yards Report today published the FOIL documents in full. They reveal problems with leaks in the misaligned modular units far more extreme than previously indicated.

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The tower in April just before work resumed. Photo by Cate Corcoran

The documents do not, however, shed light on who is at fault for the construction defects and delays — the putative subject of the multiple lawsuits former partners Skanska and Forest City Ratner are now embroiled in. (Brownstoner will not be surprised, however, if the outcome of the suits ultimately comes down to who has the strongest contract, rather than actual fault.)

As the story in City Limits puts it:

While Forest City Chairman Bruce Ratner in July 2014 claimed on NY1 that modular “worked out technically perfectly,” with delays the only problem, state documents acquired via a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request paint a more ominous picture. Half of the first 39 apartments suffered significant water damage. The first four floors were “largely gutted,” according to reports from consultant STV, which serves as owner’s representative for Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing/shepherding the entire Atlantic Yards project, which has been renamed Pacific Park Brooklyn.

To rectify the situation, the builders started delivering the modules unfinished, with drywall sections near the windows missing, in case of leaks. At one point, a report in the documents revealed, “a walk-through at B2 revealed that many [units] lacked appliances, sinks and toilets. Some had unfinished flooring and wall work. Also required was ‘on-site leak-damage repair/replacement of water-damaged ceilings, walls and floors, and possibly other elements such as electrical.'” Sounds like a lot of work!

While some units had gaps and water leaks, others were such a tight fit workers had to “shave drywall…to squeeze in mods,” said the documents. The leaks were not small, either.

After a rain-soaked weekend in April 2014, “‘a rain barrel filled up’ in one third-floor unit,” said the story in City Limits. “There was ‘significant water damage’ in half the units.”

After more heavy storms in July, workers had to tear out walls and ceilings in a sixth-floor module. By August, there was “significant water damage” in floors 2 through 8, according to the documents.

Meanwhile, Forest City PR rep Jeremy Soffin told City Limits, the issues have been solved. “Progress on B2 has been excellent since work resumed earlier this year and we are on track to complete the building next year,” he said. “We remain enthusiastic about the potential for high-rise modular construction in New York.” State agency ESD also told City Limits it is “satisfied with the pace of construction on the B2 site.”

Documents Reveal Woes at Pioneering Atlantic Yards Building [City Limits]
Behind the Troubles at the B2 Modular Building: The Full Set of Available State Documents [AYR]
Look Closely at B2. See Why “Exterior Facade Adjustments” Might Be Necessary on Modules [AYR]
Pacific Park/Atlantic Yards Coverage [Brownstoner]
Top photo by Field Condition

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