Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Timetable, New Name for Atlantic Yards Development

After years of delays, Forest City Ratner has announced a revamp of the Atlantic Yards project that includes an accelerated construction schedule with new towers, green space and a new name. The project will now be called Pacific Park. Critics have said that Forest City is taking too long to complete the housing portion of the Atlantic Yards project.

Now, Forest City as teamed up with deep-pocketed Chinese developer Greenland USA, that will inject tens of millions in fresh capital into the project. Greenland executives, who are buying a 70 percent stake in the project, want to complete Atlantic Yards in eight years.

The company will pay about $200 million for its stake in the project and cover 70 percent of future costs.

Atlantic Yards, one of the largest building projects in recent New York history, was supposed to feature the Barclay’s Center as a centerpiece and include thousands of apartments affordable to poor, working- and middle-class families who were being shut out of a rapidly changing Downtown Brooklyn.

But while the $1 billion arena opened to acclaim in September 2012, not one apartment building has been built.

Greenland, which is based in Shanghai and is an arm of the Chinese government, would be an active development partner and not just an investor - which means that it would help build about 6,000 units, or 4,100 rentals and 1,500 condos across 14 buildings, though it is not involved in the construction of the modular 363-unit rental tower going up on the site now.

The partners have chosen a new architect, COOKFOX, to design and build two new towers at the site, one of which will be 100% affordable housing units, and announced the creation of an 8-acre park.

As part of the expedited construction schedule, work on the 275-unit condominium tower at 550 Vanderbilt Avenue is slated to begin in December, followed shortly after by work at 535 Carlton Avenue, which will be 100% affordable housing.

SHoP Architects, the firm that designed the Barclays Center, will design 30 Sixth Avenue, which will also be 100% affordable and start construction in June 2015.

Revised Construction Schedule
Bldg. 2
Under construction
363 market-rate apartments
181 affordable apartments

Bldg. 14
Start Dec. 2014
299 affordable apartments

Bldg. 3
Start March 2015
301 affordable apartments

Bldg. 12
Start July 2015
265 condominium units

Bldg. 11
Start Dec. 2014
278 condominium units

The 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.

The first residential tower at 461 Dean is expected to be finished sometime next year.

The park, which will be designed in phases, will be bound by Atlantic Avenue, Vanderbilt Avenue, Dean Street and Carlton Avenue.

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