Posts tagged with "Forest City Ratner":

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Forest City Ratner to sell pioneering modular factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Feeling boxed in, the company that pushed the boundaries of modular building is cutting out of the business.

Developer Forest City Ratner is selling its factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard to a Roger Krulak, a former executive at the company. The Navy Yard facility produced 930 units for the world's tallest modular structure—461 Dean Street, a 32-story tower in Pacific Park (née Atlantic Yards) designed by SHoP.

When factory first opened, Forest City planned to build structures to support the guts (plumbing, bath, kitchen, and electrical) of every one of Pacific Park's buildings. The firm touted modular building's efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and its potential impact on the construction industry—one Forest City executive called the technology at the factory its "iPhone moment."

Unlike Apple, though, which comes out with new iPhones annually, 461 Dean Street tower took four years to construct. This was due in part to the building's structural issues, but also to long-running disagreements between Forest City and Skanska, which ran the factory until Forest City regained control to streamline operations. The project has the dubious honor of having one of the most languid construction timelines for a tower of its size in city history, the New York Times reports.

Despite setbacks, modular building is appealing because all of a building's parts can be made at one site, shielded from the elements, under the watchful eye of the project's designers and engineers. Although low- and lower-rise buildings, like nArchitects' Carmel Place, are soundly modular, the Dean Street building needed extra engineering, primarily steel reinforcement to provide resilience against high winds.

“The bumps we hit, with respect to Skanska, are typical of any start-up,” a sunny MaryAnne Gilmartin, the chief executive of Forest City Ratner, told the Times. “The good news is that we’ve worked out a lot of the bugs and gotten through the growing pains of innovation.”

Although modular has more than proved its merit in smaller projects, 461 Dean Street tested the technology's limits. It remains to be seen how Krulak, and other players like Capsys, will scale modular to meet its lofty aspirations. For his part, Krulak estimates that his company, Full Stack Modular, could help clients save up to 20 percent on the project's cost.

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It’s now too expensive to build local for New York’s modular construction industry

Thanks to high rents, New York City is losing one of its longtime modular construction companies at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. And the news could send ripples through the city's prefab construction scene. Capsys, a pre-fab builder founded in 1996, was paying $4 per square foot for its space in the Navy Yard, far below what other tenants were paying. The going rent, $20 per square foot, for manufacturing space at the Navy Yard is already set below market to retain firms that would otherwise not be able to afford to do business in the city. Upon learning in 2010 that their longterm lease was not being renewed, Capsys went hunting for new space. The advantage of local prefab construction is cost and quality control. Building are constructed at the factory by (usually) nonunion workers. Architects can check in on the projects, correcting any flaws before the pieces are shipped. Although rents are lower in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, being based locally cuts down on expensive overland shipping costs. Recently, though, new regulations require modular units to have an (expensive) police escort when the units are ferried to construction sites. For almost ten years, Capsys was the only modular builder in the Navy Yard until Forest City Ratner moved its operations there. With new owners of Forest City's Pacific Park, it looks like Forest City's modular building operations may close, though this could be due less to rising rents and more to design issues that incur costs. The shortcomings of Pacific Park's B2, the SHoP Architects–designed world's tallest modular tower, have been widely documented. Capsys has designed 55 micro-apartments for Carmel Place (the building formerly known as adAPT NYC), and Alexander Gorlin's Nehemiah townhouses, among other projects. When the company closes shop, Capsys will sell its intellectual property to a Pennsylvania company.
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Renderings revealed for KPF’s new Pacific Park condominium tower in Brooklyn

Greenland Forest City Partners is building a new condominium tower at 615 Dean Street at the site of Pacific Park, a 22-acre, 15-building, mixed-use development in Park Slope and Prospect Heights, just south of Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, 615 Dean Street is a 26-story structure that will hold 245 residential units across almost 313,000 square feet. Stacked modules are fronted by a precast concrete facade, while the windows are irregularly spaced to add visual texture to the exterior. On the ground floor, there will be an additional 4,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.
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Take a trip up onto the Barclays Center’s green roof, where sedum installation is over half complete

When The Architect’s Newspaper first visited the Barclays Center’s green roof, installation had just begun and there was only one strip of sedum running up the arena. Now, six weeks later, sedum covers more than 50 percent of the roof, and, without being too hyperbolic about things, it's looking like a verdant hillside up there. On a visit to the Barclays Center this week, Linda Chiarelli, Deputy Director of Construction for Forest City Ratner, told AN that the roof's 135,000 square feet of sedum should all be in place by the end of July. The green plant is especially hardy and does not need an elaborate irrigation system. (There are four hose bibs on the roof just in case of a drought situation.) The full green roof project, which requires some additional architectural and engineering work, is on track to wrap up in September. The three-acre space will not be open to the public, but rather is designed to absorb rainwater and keep excess noise from escaping the arena. https://vimeo.com/128175007 For much more on the Barclays Center's green roof, be sure to watch our video above, and to see where things stand today, check out the gallery below.
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Barclays Center’s Bald Spot to Get Green-Roof Toupee

Over one-hundred-thousand-square-feet of sedum will be implanted into the Barclays Center’s massive, logo-emblazoned, bald-spot of a roof. According to the Wall Street Journal, SHoP is designing the green topper for the one billion dollar arena. Plans for a public green space on top of the arena date back over a decade, but were later scrapped due to cost constraints. But, now, Atlantic Yards developer Forest City Ratner has revived the plan—sort of. The green roof won’t so much be a public space, as it will be a marketing tool. Ratner representatives told the Journal that the new roof will help entice prospective tenants into the apartments rising around the center. Turns out, a green roof provides a better view than a Barclays logo. They also claim that the green roof will cut down on noise from concerts, which have been much louder than the developer expected.
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Forest City Ratner and SHoP to Revive Aging Nassau Coliseum

The team behind Brooklyn's Barclays Center—Forest City Ratner and SHoP Architects—will join forces again to overhaul the run-down Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island. The developer beat out the competition, Madison Square Garden Co, and took home the prize: the commission to manage and rehabilitate the 41-year old crumbling arena that has been home to the Islanders since the hockey team was first founded in 1972. The Islanders will be moving their franchise to the Barclays Center in 2014. The Wall Street Journal reported that Bruce Ratner expects the entire renovation will cost an estimated $229 million, but will require no public funding. The rent from the arena, along with ticket sales and other deals, will generate roughly $195 million over the period of its 34-year lease. Madison Square Garden, however, projected that they would raise $112 million within the same timeframe. The proposal calls for slashing 5,000 seats from the arena and for a new undulating facade designed to emulate the landscape of Long Island, with visual references to the dunes, beach fencing and boardwalks. Ratner also plans to add a new plaza, theaters, restaurants, and bowling alley, and outdoor concert venue to the 77-acre site.
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Atlantic Yards To Develop Along Vanderbilt Avenue In First Phase

While construction has just begun on the first residential tower at Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, the developer may be plotting the next construction site. SHoP Architects designed three towers clustered around the Barclays Center arena, but the Atlantic Yards Report blog reported in late March, citing documents from Forest City, that the developer is including a parcel at the southeastern corner of the site at Vanderbilt Avenue and Dean Street in its first phase construction plans. No design exists for the four buildings planned there, but an early site model by Frank Gehry and a massing diagram from the Municipal Art Society based on the approved Gehry site plan show the buildings will not be the tallest in the project. Critics like AYR-blogger Norman Oder are upset that development atop the railyards at the center and north of the site aren't being prioritized and have accused Forest City of delaying real investment in the area. The southeast parcel indicated above is the largest remaining terra-firma site at Atlantic Yards and previously was to be among the last developed.
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Forest City Breaks Ground at Atlantic Yards’ B2 Tower, Shows Off Modular Design

At Tuesday's groundbreaking of B2, the first 32-story residential tower to be built at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, New Yorkers got a sneak peek at how the world’s tallest modular building will be constructed. Just beyond the podium stood what officials call the “chassis,” a steel framed box that makes up an essential structural element of the building. “You don’t need to compromise on design when it comes to modular,” said Developer Bruce Ratner. Located on the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue, the SHoP Architects-designed tower will rise above the Barclay Center, also designed by SHoP, and offer 363 units split evenly between affordable housing and market rate units. Ratner told the audience that the affordable units at Atlantic Yards will be equipped with the exact same appliances and amenities as the market rate apartments: “You will not know an affordable unit from a market rate unit.” The bulk of the construction of the modular components will happen in a 100,000 square-foot space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with the help of 125 unionized workers, which MaryAnne Gilmartin, executive vice president of commercial and residential development at Forest City Ratner, said would help in the “reduction of traffic, dust, and waste” and Mayor Bloomberg hailed as “cheaper and less disruptive.” B2 is just the first of more than a dozen residential buildings to come.
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SHoP Updates Atlantic Yards Design as Forest City Confirms Prefab

On Wednesday, Forest City Ratner made it official: the world's tallest prefabricated building will be coming to Brooklyn with a groundbreaking date set for December 18. As AN outlined in our recent feature on Atlantic Yards, the SHoP Architects-designed B2 Tower will climb, modular unit by modular unit, 32 stories on a slender wedge-shaped parcel adjacent to the new Barclays Center on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street. Renderings released with the groundbreaking announcement also revealed design revisions to the B2 Tower since it was unveiled in November 2011, and Chris Sharples, principal at SHoP, told AN what's new. The B2 Tower's massing remains the same as before, conforming to strict guidelines for setbacks mandated by the Empire State Development Corporation, but the facade treatments for each of the three massing types in the building have been refined. "When we first started, we were doing a conventional design," Sharples noted. "We decided to move away from emphasizing the frames or boxes. It doesn't have to look like a modular building." The red mass, nicknamed "the wedge" in SHoP's offices, has been updated to de-emphasize the repetition of modular units. Previously, the facade was comprised of a rigid grid of charcoal-colored rectangles forming deep reveals with red accents."There's still relief, the red L-frames project out from the charcoal," Sharples said. "It's a bit more subtle." The new arrangement creates a series of variegated vertical stripes, helping to create a singular unit rather than a stack of boxes. Similarly on the top-most mass, the grid was softened. "At the top, we emphasized the bevel with pewter gray and silver gray," Sharples noted. The slight color variation helps to emphasize shadow on the facade and unify the mass. ShoP also refined the cladding on the third mass, with a skin of anodized aluminum perforated panels, creating an intricate play of light on the structure. Set back, one final facade—"the glue that brings all three volumes together"—will feature black glass. Sharples noted that prefabrication is a dynamic process. "As we go into production, we'll evolve even further like we did at the arena." Each of the 930 prefabricated modules—called "mods"—will be manufactured at the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard, part of a collaboration between Forest City and construction company Skanska, where controlled conditions will speed construction times. Each mod will arrive at the construction site fully assembled with all interior finishes and appliances installed. Up to three mods, measuring nearly 400 square feet, will make up each apartment. SHoP has designed the mods with hinged panels on the exterior that can fold down to cover joints during installation. Sharples said these "mate lines" present a unique challenge with prefabricated design and will be some of the only finish work construction to take place on site. On the interior of the units, he noted, walls where two mods are joined will appear slightly thicker than traditional wall construction. When complete, the B2 Tower will house 363 residential units over retail space and will feature roof terraces, indoor bike storage, common areas, and even a yoga studio. Developers are anticipating an opening in 2014.
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QUICK CLICKS> Support, Prefab, Wright, Genius

Shigeru Ban's Tokyo office is developing temporary housing structures for those displaced by the natural disaster in Japan, reports Archinect; click here to help support the project. Stateside, AIA president Clark Manus issues a statement encouraging U.S. architects to do all they can to support Japanese recovery efforts. The New York Times covers Forest City Ratner's plan to use prefab building components for a 34-story apartment building at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Engineered by Arup and designed by SHoP, the units should be pretty high-end as far as modular housing goes, but construction workers argue that the prefab approach will mean less jobs. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy trumpets the news that twelve of the master's houses are currently on the market (starting at $800k for the Arnold and Lora Jackson House in Beaver Dam, WI), via Design Crave. Acorn Media announces that the acclaimed BBC "Genius of Design" series is available on DVD. The five part documentary focuses on the highlights of industrial design throughout the twentieth century and beyond.      
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Quick Clicks> Barrios, Shopping Atlantic, Blah, Egypt

Barrios with Altitude. A poetic study of the organically evolving perimeter of Bogotá, via Lebbeus Woods. Atlantic Aspirations. Forest City Ratner is still on the hunt for Atlantic Yards funding, but has sweetened the deal by tapping SHoP--who is already spiffing up the stadium and public plaza--to design B2, the first apartment building in the complex, says The Observer. Sterile Street. Blair Kamin calls out developer Joe Sitt for obliterating "bracing history" in exchange for "bland consistency" on State Street, in The Chicago Times. Impromptu Planning. In Egypt, protesters have organized a mini-city in Tahir Square, complete with urban planners. Listen to an NPR audio clip or read the related transcript.
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Gehry Windfall

Yesterday's high winds and rain did more than make life miserable for AN staff members with holes in their shoes. They also brought a stop work order down on Forest City Ratner's Beekman Tower. According to the DOB's complaint, metal and plywood fell from the 72-story Frank Gehry-designed structure in an approximately 2 1/2-block radius around City Hall Park. No injuries were reported, though a metal turnbuckle did collide with a parked car and emergency services shut down streets. These events followed the DOB's issuance of a high wind advisory on Sunday. In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Building Commissioner Robert LiMandri sternly reminded contractors that such advisories must be heeded. The GC at the Beekman Tower is Kreisler Borg Florman.