It’s been a long an tumultuous journey for 461 Dean, also know as the B2 tower, and better known as the world’s tallest prefab tower. The fire-engine-red stacked building has seen numerous delays in the last four years thanks to lawsuits, leaks, and alignment issues. Its developer Forest City Ratner even opted to exit the modular business last month—although that’s not to say that the technology developed is any less valuable (more on that ahead). But now that celebratory champagne bottle can finally be popped, as this afternoon the developer held a grand opening ceremony to kick off the official start of leasing.
461 Dean Street
Image via Field Condition
After boasting that it had “cracked the code” on modular construction, with plans for a Brooklyn factory, developer Forest City Ratner is exiting the prefab building business, reports the New York Times. The factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard will be sold to Roger Krulak, a former Forest City executive, along with the technology used to construct the world’s tallest prefabricated steel structure, the 32-story 461 Dean Street in the Pacific Park complex in Brooklyn. Construction on the building has just been completed and 461 Dean is weeks from getting its first residents.
Photo of the construction progress at 461 Dean Street in January, via Field Condition
After suffering delays, lawsuits, leaks and alignment issues, Pacific Park’s 461 Dean Street (aka the B2 Tower) is finally wrapping up construction and has just launched its affordable housing lottery. The 32-story structure from SHoP Architects will be the world’s tallest prefab tower, and of its 363 units, 181 will be available to low- and middle-income households. This will range from $559/month studios to $3,012 two-bedrooms and from individuals earning $20,675 annually to families of four earning $144,960.
MNS has just released their 2014 report pointing to rental performance in the Manhattan and Brooklyn markets over past year. And as you’ve probably already guessed there are no surprises here—rents were up. Leading the charge in growth were Harlem where new luxury listings gave the area a major boost, and of course Brooklyn which continued see growth at remarkable rates, particularly with studio units which were up more than 20 percent in some nabes.
Photo © Field Condition
Prefab housing has taken the world by storm in the last years, lauded for its low cost and flexibility, with buildings ranging from single-family homes to art schools popping up across the globe. But not until Forest City Ratner’s plan for B2 BKLYN have we seen an attempt to build a large-scale module tower topping out at 32-stories—the world’s tallest prefab tower.
It’s well known that the project has been a big flop; construction was far slower than originally projected and was halted in August amidst disputes between the builder, Skansa USA, and the developer, Forest City Ratner. In September lawsuits went flying, both pointing fingers as to why the whole thing failed. Forest City blamed the execution of the plan, while Skanska said the design was flawed. Fast-forward to today, and the work on the tower has been shut down with only 10 stories erected. A recent WSJ article looks at where the whole thing went awry, and more importantly: Is pre-fab construction even feasible at such a scale?