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A Vision for Downtown Brooklyn (2)

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Elie During

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MessagePosté le: Vendredi 08 Septembre 2006, 8:11    Sujet du message: A Vision for Downtown Brooklyn (2) Répondre en citant

A Vision for Downtown Brooklyn (2)

Un problème de taille ?

Une vue synoptique : Atlantic Yards en chiffres et en schémas

Atlantic Yards Proposal

The 22-acre footprint is 1.3 times that of the World Trade Center site and includes:

16 tower buildings ranging from 20 to 58 stories high (see numbered and lettered buildings below)
1.08 million squ. ft. of office, retail and hotel space
An approximately 18,000-seat arena (850,000 sq. ft.)
7.2 million sq. ft. of housing (7,300 units)

How BIG is Ratner's Atlantic Yards proposal?

If built, Atlantic Yards would be:

the LARGEST single-source development in NYC history, and
the DENSEST housing tract in the nation.

Un article du New York Times retrace d'une manière inhabituellement équilibrée les dernières tractations politiques autour du projet "Atlantic Yards" (il faut savoir que le journal est activement lié à l'investisseur Bruce Ratner dans le cadre de la construction d'un nouveau bâtiment du NYTimes…).
Une réduction de 6 à 8 % de la taille des constructions fera-t-elle basculer l'opinion ? C'est douteux. Mais cette marge de manoeuvre arrange beaucoup de monde : les élus qui donnent ainsi à leurs électeurs l'impression d'avoir fait reculer les investisseurs, et ces derniers qui ont vraisemblablement intégré d'avance dans leur projet la possibilité d'un tel repli tactique.

Developer’s Plan for a Smaller Yards Project Matters Little, More or Less, in Brooklyn

Published: September 6, 2006

Ever since Forest City Ratner announced plans to build a massive residential, office and arena complex along Atlantic Avenue near Downtown Brooklyn, people have been demanding that it be made smaller.

But as word circulated yesterday through the neighborhoods near the proposed site of the developer’s reported plans to reduce the 8.7 million-square-foot project by 500,000 to 700,000 square feet, the reaction from people who work and live nearby was almost uniform: Big deal.

“That seems like a non-change,” said Alex Walker, 28, a music producer who has lived for two years in Fort Greene, a few blocks from the site. “It doesn’t seem like much of a difference.”

The potential reduction — a shrinkage of 6 to 8 percent — could allow Forest City to preserve views of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank clock tower, the borough’s tallest building. Like several residents interviewed, however, Mr. Walker said that he would prefer to see the tower unobstructed, but that it would not change his assessment of the project, adding that the developer was going to “build it anyway.”

Even those who said their positions on the project were not yet fully formed seemed to feel that downsizing would not affect their views.

“What’s 8 percent, anyway?’’ asked Stacy Mooradian, 36, an owner of a sandwich shop on Fifth Avenue near the site. “What’s going to be different? That’s what I would want to know. I’m not in favor of building a replica of Madison Square Garden here, but I do think we need more affordable housing.”

One woman interviewed did object to the possible changes — because, she said, she does not want the project to shrink at all. “I heard the story this morning and I said, ‘Oh no, please don’t make it any smaller,’ ” said Vernolla Shields, 46, who hopes to apply for one of the project’s subsidized apartments. “I think they should use all of the land and build as many apartments as they can.”

Where public debate is concerned, the project’s vast size has long been its most salient feature. And the reductions that Forest City — which is also the development partner in building a new Midtown headquarters for The New York Times Company — is considering would be only the latest in a long dance over square footage that has preoccupied proponents and critics of the project since it was unveiled in December 2003.

Originally planned to occupy about eight million square feet on 21 acres — a scale large enough to create in Brooklyn the kind of high-rise skyline more closely associated with Manhattan — the project got even bigger in September 2005. That is when the developer laid out a mostly residential variation of the proposal that ran to 9.1 million square feet on 22 acres. In April, the Empire State Development Corporation, the state agency sponsoring the project, announced that Atlantic Yards would be reduced by about 5 percent, to roughly 8.7 million square feet.

The project’s most ardent critics have said that even a large reduction would do little to assuage their concerns, which include the project’s basketball arena and the eminent domain required to piece together the space for it.

In recent weeks, some supporters of the project have also called for reductions far greater than those apparently under consideration, including Assemblyman Roger L. Green of Brooklyn, who has been one of Forest City’s allies. Mr. Green has sponsored a bill with Assemblyman James F. Brennan and other colleagues that would forbid state approval of the project unless it was reduced to 5.85 million square feet.

But a recent poll by Crain’s New York Business suggested that, for now, supporters of the project in New York City outnumber opponents, even at the current size.

The pattern of changes so far has fueled speculation in some circles that Forest City is merely following the tried and true developers’ tactic of building a cushion against inevitable calls for downsizing from planners, politicians and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods.

“With practically every large development project, people ask for far more than they need,’’ said Ron Shiffman, a former member of the New York City Planning Commission, who recently joined the advisory board of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, an umbrella organization for groups opposed to the project. “The city is never really very good at setting their own standards and criteria for scale.”

Mr. Shiffman speculated that the small reductions being contemplated are “more of a show than a substantive reduction,” aimed at politicians who do not want to stop the project but do want to claim credit for having gained concessions from the developer. “This is similar to the playbook and strategy that Ratner has used for all of his developments,” Mr. Shiffman added. “I think this is predictable, and that they concluded that the politicians needed something to go back to their constituents with.”

Forest City Ratner officials declined to comment yesterday.

Dernière édition par Elie During le Dimanche 10 Septembre 2006, 11:27; édité 11 fois
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