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January 27, 2009

Learning from Rockefeller Center: building during a downturn, the role of p.r., and the difficulty of effective urbanism

Atlantic Yards Report

...Rockefeller Center occupies 22 acres, the size of the current Atlantic Yards footprint (announced at 21 acres). Rock Center has 19 commercial buildings; Atlantic Yards would have an arena, an office building or two, and the rest of the 16 towers would be housing.

Despite a distinct difference between a complex with no housing and another that would mostly contain housing, there are some interesting comparisons and contrasts, as a reading of Daniel Okrent's terrific Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center, published in 2003, suggests.

So some relevant issues, as I'll discuss below, include the shifting costs and program; the drumbeat of public relations; the relationship with holdouts; the role of zoning; the capacity to gain tax breaks; and the opportunity to build during an economic downturn.

Ultimately, however, the message is clear: even if Atlantic Yards gets built as proposed, which is enormously unlikely, Rockefeller Center would be a very difficult standard to meet.


Posted by lumi at January 27, 2009 3:53 AM