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May 14, 2006

Gehry, Olin unveil progress on Atlantic Yards design

The Architect's Newspaper:

As the design is subject to change before the building is fully approved (final approval is expected after the Environmental Statement Impact and public review in October of this year), the purpose of the press conference remains a bit unclear. The greatest opposition to the project—concerned residents and community members—weren’t allowed into the fiercely guarded, press-only conference, which seems like an attempt to dodge accusations of secret planning that developers like the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation constantly face. Given the finality and certainty with which the designers and development team spoke, it seems that New York’s Gehryville, U.S.A. is here to stay.

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NoLandGrab: We hope we detect a bit of a facetious jab in that last line...

Dan Goldstein responds to the article:

Dear Editors:

Jaffer Kolb, in his article "Gehry, Olin unveil progress on Atlantic Yards design," is absolutely right when he says the Gehry/Ratner plan " remains largely unchanged. " The presentation of the new plan was a closed-door PR event with little meaningful substance. But Mr. Kolb gets one major thing wrong (besides his dates–the plan was first unveiled in December 2003), which is understandable due to marketing trickery by the developer's, Forest City Ratner, team.

Kolb writes:

"The development, which includes a new 850,000-square-foot arena for the soon-to-be-relocated New York Nets, 600,000 square feet of office space, 6.8 million square feet of residential space, and a 165,000-square-foot boutique hotel, has developed significantly since designs were first unveiled last in 2004. In response to an influx of criticism from the community, 500,000 square feet has been shaved off of the original proposal, said Atlantic Yards Development Corporation president Jim Stuckey. "

Only the design (look and feel) has developed "significantly" and the shift of nearly 75% of the originally proposed commercial space–not viable in this market–to residential space has made one drastic change, reducing the original speculative job numbers 70% from 10,000 to roughly 3,000 only 700 of which might be new.

Even more striking is this. In December 2003 when the project was unveiled as a done deal with a summer of 2004 ground-breaking date, the project was 8.0 million square feet. In May of 2005 it was increased to 9.1 million square feet. Today the project is 8.6 million square feet. Though Gehry and Ratner's PR spokespeople would call that a scale down, mathematicians would call it a 600,000 square foot increase.

The developer and his architect think they can pull slick ones on the people of Brooklyn and New York City. But we are not fools.

Sincerely,

Daniel Goldstein Develop--Don't Destroy (BROOKLYN)

Posted by amy at May 14, 2006 10:54 AM