Atlantic Yards Development by Ellerbe Becket in New York, USA

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Plaza at Barclays Center


FCRC and SHoP Architects Release New Design Images of Plaza and Barclays Center

Forest City Ratner Companies, the developer of Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, and SHoP Architects today released the new design for the Plaza at the Barclays Center at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues.

The Plaza is 38,885 square feet, 74 percent open space and 26 percent soft landscape and seating, primarily around the transit entrance that will serve as the centerpiece of the Plaza. As part of the design preparation for the plaza area, SHoP Architects conducted significant research of public space designs around the world to incorporate best practices related to movement, lighting, and sustainability.

Atlantic Yards – Project Information

” The Project. Atlantic Yards is the redevelopment of 22 acres in downtown Brooklyn by Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) that will include approximately 6 million square feet of residential space (6,430 units of affordable and market-rate housing), a state of the art sports and entertainment arena, 247,000 square feet of retail use, approximately 336,000 square feet of office space and 8 acres of publicly accessible open space. The project plan permits a program variation which could allow for up to 1.6 million square feet of office space. The project also includes major transportation improvements, including a new storage and maintenance facility for the LIRR and a new subway entrance to the Atlantic Terminal Transit Hub, the third largest hub in the City. The project’s Master Plan was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.
o Phase I. The first phase of the project, as per the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), includes the arena and five other buildings, most of which will be residential with market-rate and affordable housing. Phase I is anticipated to include an office building and could include a hotel. Construction on the first residential building will begin in Spring of 2011, with construction of a new residential building beginning every 6 to 9 months thereafter.

o Phase II. The second phase of the project, as per the FEIS, includes 11 residential buildings, 8 acres of open space and neighborhood retail.

” Master Closing. On December 23, 2009 Forest City Ratner Companies, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the City of New York, and other parties executed all necessary documents and officially closed on the project.

” The Nets. In 2004 Forest City Ratner Companies led an investment team that successfully bid for the New Jersey Nets. On December 16, 2009, FCRC finalized an agreement to sell 80 percent of the Nets and 45 percent of the arena to Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim, subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors. The goal is to have the Nets playing in Brooklyn in 2012.

” The Barclays Center. In January of 2007, Barclays, a leading global financial services company, FCRC and the Nets, announced a multi-faceted strategic marketing partnership that includes the 20-year naming rights to the sports and entertainment arena at Atlantic Yards, the Barclays Center. The Barclays Center, designed by the award winning architectural firms Ellerbe Becket and SHoP Architects, will seat 18,000 for basketball and 19,000 for concerts.

” The Location. The development will be located at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, bounded by 4th Avenue, Pacific and Dean Streets and Vanderbilt Avenue, primarily situated over the MTA/LIRR’s Vanderbilt Yards. Atlantic Yards will be adjacent to New York’s third largest subway hub with 10 subway lines and the LIRR, providing easy access from all five boroughs and Long Island.

” Project Size. The Atlantic Yards project will include an arena and 16 new buildings to be utilized for residential, office and retail purposes. The height of the buildings will range from approximately 190 feet to 511 feet. The residential building street walls located on Dean Street between Vanderbilt and Carlton Avenues will range between 50 and 90 feet (or five to nine stories), with setbacks to the north of at least 60 to 70 feet. Building 1, the building that will be built at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, is anticipated to be no taller than the Williamsburg Savings Bank which stands at 512 feet. There will be approximately 400 units in the first residential building, Tower 2, approximately 350 units in Tower 3, and approximately 900 units in Tower 4. At least 30% of these units will be set aside for low-, moderate- and middle-income families.

” Economic Benefits. Atlantic Yards will be an economic engine for Brooklyn, New York City and the State generating more than $5 billion in new tax revenues over the next 30 years. In addition to tax benefits, the project will also create thousands of new jobs: upwards of 17,000 union construction jobs and up to 8,000 permanent jobs.

” Affordable Housing. Of the 6,430 units of housing, 4,500 are anticipated to be rental apartments and the rest are expected be market rate condos. Working with New York Communities for Change (NYCC) (formerly known as ACORN), FCRC has committed to an affordable housing model that sets aside 2,250 rental units for a combination of low-, moderate- and middle-income families. In addition, 10% of the rental units will be for senior citizens. In addition to the 2,250 affordable and middle-income rental units, Forest City Ratner has agreed with NYCC to build between 600-1,000 affordable homeownership units. FCRC will seek to build at least 200 of these affordable home-owner units on site (they will be part of the proposed 6,430 units of housing already approved as part of the Atlantic Yards FEIS/MGPP). FCRC will also seek to build the remaining affordable home-owner units as close to Atlantic Yards as possible.

” Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). FCRC entered into a historic and unprecedented Community Benefits Agreement, the first of its kind in New York, on June 27, 2005. This voluntary and legally binding agreement with the community focuses on delivering job training, jobs, affordable housing, small business and MWBE development and other community amenities and facilities for community residents. For example, FCRC has agreed to continue its longstanding commitment to minority and women owned businesses, by ensuring that at least 30% of contracts and 45% of all construction jobs are to be held by women and minorities. FCRC will also provide for the development of a school, a day care, youth and senior facility, as well as a health care facility to provide health care services not available in the local community. And as noted above, FCRC has agreed to work with NYCC to develop an unprecedented housing plan for low-income and working families.

” Community Involvement. FCRC continues to work with a wide array of diverse community based organizations, ministers and churches across the borough. Our CBA partners include: NYCC, Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD), the Faith In Action (FIA), the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA), the New York State Association of Minority Contractors (NYSAMC), Public Housing Communities (PHC), the Brooklyn Voices for Children (BVC) and the Brooklyn Endeavor Experience (BEE).

” Eminent Domain. While much of the 22 acre project site is made up of an LIRR storage facility, the remainder is comprised of empty lots, gas stations, auto repair shops, underutilized or vacant industrial and manufacturing buildings and some residential buildings. In 2005, FCRC promised to substantially reduce the need for eminent domain and has lived up to that promise by acquiring much of the property needed to complete the project and acquired ownership or control of 85% of the land needed to complete the project. FCRC proposed a supplementary tenant relocation program for residents who had been living on the Site for over a year when the project was announced in which tenants on site would be offered a residence to stay in during construction and a unit in the new development at the same rent they pay today. Title was vested with the State on March 1, 2010.

” Sustainability. Atlantic Yards is committed to achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for all 16 buildings and the Arena. Now that construction has begun, environmental quality-of-life measures are in place, including use of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel, diesel particulate filters installed on on-site equipment with 50 hp or greater, best available and most efficient equipment, dust suppression, restrictions on idle time for vehicles and the use of locally manufactured materials when possible is underway.

Demolition and construction waste is another priority, and of the buildings that have been demolished so far, at least 75% of the materials have been recycled (with a building high of 97%), thereby diverting 467 tons of materials from landfills.

The project will promote the use of bicycles by providing a 400 bicycle storage station for use by residents and local commuters. Storm-water management is a significant part of this plan; once completed, Atlantic Yards will reduce the volume of combined sewer overflow that currently flows into the Gowanus Canal by more than 2 million gallons per year by retaining rainwater and reusing it. Atlantic Yards’ plan calls for a $50 million clean up of the existing environmentally damaged site and transforming it into 8 acres of open public space, environmentally sustainable buildings, while reducing sewage overflows and creating a LEED certified sports arena.

” Construction on the Site. Construction work on Atlantic Yards began in February of 2007. We expect the Barclays Center to open in the spring of 2012.
o Hunt Construction Group was awarded the design build contract for the Barclays Center.

o To date 35 buildings, roughly 56% of the structures on the site have been demolished. There are 11 vacant lots and 29 other remaining structures. FCRC owns or controls approximately 85% of the site.

o Over $51 million worth of contracts have already been awarded to contractors for work on the site thus far.

o Currently approximately 80% of the total prime contracts awarded to date have gone to M/WBE firms and over 49% of the total contract dollars to M/WBE firms. The total of purchases reported to date is over $51.7 million. The MBE award total is over $21.7 million (approx. 42% of total purchases).The WBE award total is over $3.5 million (approx. 7%) which brings the total M/WBE participation thus far to over $25 million.

Additionally, 43% of the 68 contracts awarded to MWBE firms have gone to Brooklyn based firms.

o Construction of the temporary rail yard is substantially complete, and punch list items are being completed. Critical upgrades to the sewer and water infrastructure in the area are underway.

” Local Street Closures. In order to facilitate construction on Atlantic Yards certain streets in the projects footprint have been closed.
The following describes the street closures and traffic pattern changes that were implemented on March 8, 2010:
o Permanent street closures
” Fifth Avenue (between Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues)
” Pacific Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues)
” Pacific Street (between Vanderbilt and Carlton Avenues)
o Traffic pattern changes
” Northbound traffic on Fifth Avenue can use Flatbush Avenue or Sixth Avenue to continue north; southbound traffic can use Sixth Avenue.
” Eastbound traffic on Pacific Street can use Dean Street; westbound traffic can use Bergen Street.
” To facilitate vehicle circulation, Sixth Avenue (between Flatbush Avenue and Pacific Street) will become two-way and the block of Pacific Street (between Carlton and Sixth Avenues) will become one-way westbound.
” These changes necessitate the removal of the Cobble Hill-bound B63 bus stop on Fifth Avenue, between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue. Passengers can use existing bus stops on Fifth Avenue (at Bergen Street) and on Atlantic Avenue (at Fourth Avenue).
o Local and emergency vehicle access will be maintained as needed.
o Detour signs will be posted during the work.
o Traffic agents will be assigned to facilitate the flow of traffic and pedestrians.

In January 2007, Barclays, a leading global financial services company, and the NETS announced a multi-faceted strategic marketing and media partnership that includes a 20-year naming rights of the arena.

  • Source:  Ellerbe Becke/
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