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September 8, 2006

FCR's secret scaleback options--and maybe a smaller Miss Brooklyn

EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS from Atlantic Yards Report

Forget The NY Times exclusive on Forest City Ratner's (FCR) 6-8% shavedown of the Atlantic Yards proposal, which impressed few Brooklynites earlier this week. If Norman Oder and his off-the-record source are right, the shavedown just primed the pr pump for a more dramatic scaledown that has been in the can all along:

A source tells me the developer has long had a scaleback model prepared that illustrates significant concessions. And documents from the New York City Housing Development Corporation (NYC HDC) hint that several buildings could be considerably smaller than currently projected.

Indeed, no building is described as more than 40 stories tall, even though five buildings currently planned would be more than 400 feet in height. Proposed buildings are described with flexibility: 30-40 stories tall, 25-30 stories tall, or 20-35 stories tall. Still, the documents are not conclusive; they can be revised, and do not include market-rate space that could add to the size of the buildings.
A person with knowledge of the Atlantic Yards project, who asked not to be identified, confirmed that the developer has been girding for such a scenario. The source told me:
There was always a scaled-back model that made considerable concessions to the public's concern and dismay apropos of height and density issues. The model was to be hidden from public view, but would be revealed to the appropriate parties at the appropriate time.
The source said that the hidden, scaled-down model was to be produced only for "significant players."
Despite the apparent plain language of the documents regarding height and square footage, they're not definitive. I showed a few to Brad Lander, director of the Pratt Center for Community Development, and he said they suggested four potential scenarios: * the buildings would be larger than described, because the documents don't include condos on top of the rentals * Forest City Ratner would ask for the documents to be amended and thus would increase the space * FCR could get approval for subsidies at one site but move them to another building * FCR would, as the documents hint, build the buildings at a lower density.

FCR didn't get its act together to respond to Norman Oder's inquiries before "post" time.

Extra! extra, get yer Atlantic Yards Report here!

Posted by lumi at September 8, 2006 7:37 AM