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.
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B2 Tower photo © Field Condition
“A new technology, designed to tame forces that could separate an astronaut’s eyeball from her retina, may also keep the one percent from throwing up,” says The Real Deal. They’re talking about a fluid harmonic disruptor, a device used during space takeoffs to protect astronauts from violent vibrations, which will be employed by structural engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti at Forest City Ratner’s B2 BKLYN, the 32-story modular tower at Pacific Park that could definitely succumb to queasy-making swaying and vibrations. The firm will put six water-filled pipes on the roof of the building, making up 0.5 percent of its total mass; then the disruptor will alter how the fluid, and therefore the building, reacts to wind and other vibrations.
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Image via Field Condition
When it was announced that Brooklyn would be host to the world’s tallest prefab tower, many believed that a new era of construction was upon us. Called the B2 Tower, the building would rise as stacked 32-story structure, affording all the perks of a conventional edifice, but be quick and inexpensive to build. But as it has been well-documented, the project, announced way back in 2012, has been a major flop. Stricken with delays and countless lawsuits flying left and right, the building today has only reached about half of its height. So where did things go so wrong? A fascinating piece by the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report‘s Norman Oder on City Limits provides some incredible insight into the project that has failed to deliver on just about every promise put forward.
Formerly known as Atlantic Yards, Pacific Park Brooklyn will be a 22-acre site anchored by the Barclays Center in Prospect Heights and containing eight million square feet of mixed-use development that includes 16 condo towers and 2,250 units of affordable housing, as well as an eight-acre park. Almost a year ago, developers Forest City Ratner Companies and Greenland USA (now merged as Greenland Forest City Partners) announced that they’d chosen Thomas Balsley Associates to design the green space. And now, we’re finally seeing the first set of renderings for the public space, in addition to a master plan.
The Daily News first shared the renderings, showing “the long, meandering park, which will follow the footprint of the new towers.” The outdoor space will boast a public plaza and promenade, toddler and children’s play areas, a bocce ball court, basketball court, dog run, glowing lanterns, sloping lawns, and a water garden.
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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?
- Forest City Enterprises is putting its 55% stake in Barclays up for sale. [Brooklyn Eagle]
- The Department of City Planning certified a five-block rezoning application today for a stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue near Grand Central Terminal that includes SL Green’s One Vanderbilt tower. [CO]
- Mayor Bill de Blasio has rejected JPMorgan Chase’s request for $1B in tax incentives to keep its headquarters in New York. However, he hasn’t ruled out offering some tax breaks. [Crain’s]
- Thor Equities has purchased two Williamsburg properties for approximately $17.8 million and is planning to turn the site into a 10,000-square-foot retail development. [CO]
Images: Barclay’s (left); One Vanderbilt (right)
- The 10 biggest real estate projects coming to the city. [TRD]
- Video views from the top of 432 Park Avenue, which tops out tomorrow. [NYT]
- Leasing starts at Naftali’s the Arthur, a luxurious prewar rental building located at 245 West 25th Street. [CityRealty]
- A 10-story parking garage will close along Fulton Street to make way for a new rental building called ‘Exhibit’. [Curbed]
- Is Extell working on a new tower? The developer is in talks with Calvary Baptist Church to acquire the church site at 123-141 West 57th Street. [TRD]
- 25 years after purchasing a Downtown Brooklyn site, Forest City Ratner is selling it for $185M or looking for a partner to help them develop it into a residential building. [Crain’s]
466 Eleventh Avenue, one of the city’s biggest projects (left); 432 Park Ave (right)
, Mon, September 22, 2014
- A tower unit at 15 Central Park West has sold for nearly $10M, about three times what the owner paid for it. [NYO]
- The Astoria Cove housing development is required to set aside 20% of its 1,700 units for lower-income residents, but the city may push for as many as 30%. [Crain’s]
- The Fiscal Policy Institute wants the city to start taxing very expensive pied-à-terres. [TRD]
- The B2 modular tower at the Atlantic Yards (a.k.a. Pacific Park Brooklyn) could leak says Skanska in documents to Forest City Ratner. The builder and developer are headed to court tomorrow. [Atlantic Yards Report]
- Brooklyn-based real estate investor and lender Alliance Private Capital Group has purchased a residential development site in Williamsburg for $35M. [Crain’s]
- A taste of the apartments at 1110 Park Avenue. [Curbed]
15 Central Park West (left); B2 Tower (right)
, Fri, September 19, 2014
- The state has gotten approval to seize seven sites for Forest City Ratner’s Pacific Park Brooklyn project (previously named Atlantic Yards). Tenants now have 90 days to vacate their units. [DNA Info]
- The $1B three-tower expansion for Silvercup West is back on track. [Curbed]
- Most of the world’s billionaires call NYC home. [TRD]
- Winston Von Engel has been appointed as the new director of the New York City’s Department of City Planning’s Brooklyn office. [TRD]
- The BAM Cultural District has received $131M from the city. [NYO]
Pacific Park/Atlantic Yards (left); What’s to come for the BAM Cultural District (right)
- The Arthur G. Cohen Estate has put in a $205M bid for the Chelsea Dream Hotel. [CO]
- New York isn’t expensive as you think it is. If you’re rich by U.S. standards, you’re probably also rich by New York standards according to these two graphs at Slate and Vox. [Slate/Vox]
- The Annabelle Selldorf-designed 42 Crosby Street will have $1M parking spots. [NYT]
- Lightstone Group has struck a deal with the EPA to clean up a toxic Gowanus site in order to bring 700 new condos the area. The decontamination effort will cost the developer $20M. [Crain’s]
42 Crosby Street (left); The proposed Gowanus condos (right)