B2’s below-market-rate housing comes with below-promised job numbers

Box fort: Atlantic Yards tower gets first building blocks

The Brooklyn Paper
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The second phase of construction on the first and only Atlantic Yards tower now being built is like a game of Jenga in reverse.

Workers began lowering apartment module boxes by crane onto the steel frame of the B2 apartment building at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street on Tuesday and the finished product will be a stack of crash pads arranged like a bunch of the game’s rectangular pieces — only instead of winning when the next guy topples it, mega-developer Forest City Ratner’s payoff comes when the structure is one solid box fort ready to rent. Company reps say the day-and-night flatbed semi trucks turning onto one-lane Dean Street will be less disruptive for neighbors and car commuters than conventional high-rise construction.

“The thing about the modular solution here is it limits the amount of deliveries, even the amount of workers, who are on the site,” said Rob Sanna, head of construction for Forest City Ratner. “In terms of impact on community, it is significantly less because you don’t have the many, many truck trips.”

Only a few stories of the structure’s metal skeleton have been assembled, but it is slated to rise to 32 stories as the boxes, 930 in all, are pegged in to form 363 apartments, half of them renting for below-market-rate.

One neighborhood activist who came out to watch the first day of unloading bemoaned the low number of jobs created by the project.

“Unfortunat­ely, for people in this economy, [the module construction] is not great for labor,” said Rich Sullivan, a member of the anti-Atlantic Yards group Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and resident of nearby Saint Marks Avenue. “It cuts down on the amount of people who will be working on the project.”

The workers fabricating the apartment-in-a-box units in a Navy Yard factory are all union, but so far there are only 72 of them despite an earlier Forest City pledge to employ 125, according to the magazine Fast Company.

The modular tower is one of three planned around the Barclays Center and one of 16 total, though the company has announced no start date for construction on any others and is trying to sell a four-fifths stake in the project to a Chinese-government-owned development company.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
Updated 10:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Norman Oder from Brooklyn says:
“In terms of impact on community, it is significantly less because you don’t have the many, many truck trips.”

That makes intuitive sense, but what he left out is that Forest City initially promised one overnight delivery, then changed that to four such deliveries.

And the first such delivery, at least, did create disruptive impacts: beeps from trucks backing up, and honking from the traffic snag on Flatbush.
Dec. 13, 2013, 10:17 am
ty from pps says:
1.) You don't employ workers just to employ workers. You employ workers to *do* something. You can "bemoan" all you want. There are 72 people working now for union wages. That is a good thing. Done.

2.) Yes, the beeping from backing up trucks must be the most disruptive things residents on and around Flatbush have lived with... Norman Oder, I understand keeping an eye on these things and pushing the company to mitigate the impact as much as possible. But when the back-up beeps are mentioned as a major concern, you lose credibility. No?

The thing that bothers be is the "affordable rent" approach that brings along with it massive tax subsidies and other costs to the taxpayer. This is absolutely not an anti-Ratner comment. It's a bad city planning comment. The combination of income restrictions and the rental rates means these are hardly affordable -- just a lower cost than other rental units (but perhaps more expensive, in terms of % of income, to the individual).
Dec. 13, 2013, 10:43 am
judahspechal from bedstuy says:
while I supported the AY development. I am disappointed w/pace of rsidential development. However, how does DDdB whole a straight face & continue to protest when they readily provided excuses for Ratner's slow pace, because of their obstructionist bent?

They have achieved "nothing" w/yrs of obstruction except getting their group leader $3mil from Ratner.
Dec. 13, 2013, 11:26 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Once again, more promises with the AY have been broken. Then again, it wasn't as if that was a surprise especially for those following it very closely such as myself. The truth about modular construction is that it has never been used for building something that big hence the fears brought on this. As usual, the sheep are being lead to the slaughterhouse as the number of those working are reduced from what was promised especially when so many still believe they had Ratner's word. As for DDDB, their lawsuits didn't delay anything, all the delays were either from Ratner himself or from the ESDC that held them, so quit looking for scapegoats on this. Meanwhile, Goldstein, who I'm probably one of the few here to probably meet in person, what he got from Ratner to move out was still less, but was only allowed this deal compared to the other one that only allowed him to stay at his place for another month only to have the compensation discuss for a while, plus this was done with his own lawyer, not the one the group was using. Overall, he was no sellout unlike the many paid supporters that believed Ratner hook, line, and sinker on this. For more on that, I suggest reading the AYR where Oder talks in depth about it. On a side note, the WSJ reported that the Barclays Center could only get half of what was needed for profits showing that once again the arena is nothing more than a net money loser.
Dec. 13, 2013, 3:47 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
DDDB has lost credibility and I've switched them off. Show me one local land owner who didn't make out like a bandid in this so-called "displacement" by eminent domain. Tell me again, tell me one more time, why I should spend my time protesting against the "displacement" of multi-millionaires, and what is wrong with the Barclay Center, and why any of this matters.
Dec. 15, 2013, 9:15 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ethan, either you have been living under a rock all this time, or you are probably one of Ratner's paid supporters. Many of those that got displaced where actually low on the ladder, not the reverse of that. I really suggest you see Battle for Brooklyn if you want to know the real story unless you have enough time to go through the entire Atlantic Yards Report from the start. As for Daniel Goldestein himself, he was living in his place for about 7 years before leaving, so he is no sellout unless in the eyes of all of Ratner's paid supporters and other development junkies. If anyone was a real sellout, it was Bertha Lewis, who is part of ACORN, and that goes all the way back to when she lived in her south Bronx apartment during the 1980's and was the only one who left when others were fighting against a renovation that would make the rents higher for the tenants to remain there. Overall, who is the real sellout here? BTW, there is plenty of things wrong with the Barclays Center, and the fact that it's a product of eminent domain abuse, corporate welfare, and backroom dealings are just to name a few, but I take it that you support that in your claim that the end will justify the means just as long as you get something that you want by whatever it takes.
Dec. 15, 2013, 3:18 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal, I've asked you before but you never told me. How do I sign up to become a "paid supporter" for Ratner? I could use the money.
Dec. 15, 2013, 10:53 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, you would only be useful as long as the developer needs to help him get his way. However, once he is done, he no longer needs you, and you are yesterday's trash to him. Let's not forget that not too long ago, there were former members of a group known as BUILD, a group Ratner clearly created, now protesting on him for his false promises. Of course, had they stood up to him while the entire project was still just a drawing, that would have really said them and stopped the neighborhood from being destroyed in the first, but the damage was already done, and I don't feel any sympathy for them being so gullible to this.
Dec. 16, 2013, 5:42 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal --
You still haven't answered. How do I get on the payroll (if only temporarily)? You obviously know all about how Ratner pays people to publicly support him. Tell me!! Why are you keeping this a secret?
Dec. 16, 2013, 7:53 pm

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