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August 3, 2006

Not quite public: FCR plans private events at Urban Room & AY open space

Atlantic Yards Report

Forest City Ratner counts the glass-walled Urban Room as part of the scant seven-acres-plus of open space offered as a public amenity.

Without even going into the imprudence of putting a glass and steel "room" at one of the busiest intersections in Brooklyn, Norman Oder delves into the programming details of the "Urban Room" and learns that the space wouldn't be open to the public all the time:

A significant part of the open space promised for the Atlantic Yards project would be a soaring, 120-foot, glass-walled Urban Room at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues. According to the General Project Plan released by the Empire State Development Corporation: An Urban Room connected to the Arena will serve as a significant public amenity by accommodating the major flows of people to and from the transit center during the day and night, serving as a direct subway entrance to the Arena and allowing for a variety of public uses and programmed events throughout the year.

While the Urban Room would be open to the public from 7 am to 10 pm daily, at minimum, the guidelines (p. 24) give the developer some slack: the Developer shall be entitled to close the Urban Room for security reasons on a temporary basis and shall additionally have the right to close the Urban Room, not more than 12 times in any calendar year for private events, provided that no such closing shall occur on any national holiday and notice of which shall be posted... Access to the transit connection shall be maintained during any such private events.

Oder provides an overview of other publicly accessible private open space, where in some locations private-events programming works better than in others.

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NoLandGrab: Not to harp on the "security aspect," but it's noteworthy that there is a lot of leeway given in the Design Guidelines for "security reasons." In a post-9/11 world, "temporary basis" frequently means "until further notice."

Posted by lumi at August 3, 2006 9:43 AM