Release Main Page
Release: May 5, 2008
New Frank Gehry
Atlantic Yards Design:
"Ridiculous" Design Has No Impact on Stalled Project
Renderings Only Show Phase 1 of Project
Leaving Out Bulk of "Affordable" Housing
BROOKLYN, NY— Today Forest City Ratner and its architect
Frank Gehry released new designs for a portion of the $4 billion Atlantic
Yards proposal in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The architectural renderings
show a new design for the project’s proposed arena and 2 other buildings
in Phase 1 of the project. But the developer shows no rendering at all for
Phase 2--the larger part of the project--which is planned to encompass about
78% of the 2,250 "affordable" units. A State
Funding Agreement provides no timeline whatsoever for Phase 2 and the
developer has not provided a credible timeline for Phase 2.
"The new design from Frank Gehry is no better than the last--in
reality it has gone from the absurd to the ridiculous aesthetically and
programmatically," said Ron Shiffman, Professor, Pratt Graduate
Center for Planning and the Environment and a New York City Planning Commissioner
[1990-1996]. "The fact that there isn’t a new design released for Phase
2 concerns me greatly. It seems like there is no plan for the bulk of the
affordable housing, which would be in Phase 2. To destroy buildings of significant
quality that could house people and jobs for what looks like an open-ended
series of parking lots, rather than housing that could be affordable to
low and moderate income area residents, is terrible planning and policy."
York Daily News published the Frank Gehry renderings as an exclusive.
The paper reports that the so-called "Miss Brooklyn" signature skyscraper,
is now called simply "Building 1." The reduction of that tower from 620
feet to 511 feet was announced as a "concession" on December 20, 2006 when
the project was approved by the Public Authorities Control Board. Today
marks the first time the reduction has been shown in a rendering. The rendering
does not show the project’s massive scale as it relates to the surrounding
neighborhood; its only context is a dark void explaining nothing about the
project's actual context.
York Post published exclusive renderings
from the Municipal Art Society (MAS) which show the project fully built
out within the existing neighborhood context, as well as built only in part
(an arena. and one building) surrounded by newly demolished, blighting parking
lots. Apparently the MAS renderings were motivated by the March
21 New York Times interview with Mr. Ratner where the developer
described the trouble he was having getting his project off the ground.
"Mr. Gehry and Mr. Ratner can release redesigns of Atlantic Yards’s buildings
every week if they’d like, but that wouldn’t respond to the core reasons
for the widespread opposition to the project," said Develop Don’t Destroy
Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein. "The new designs are a fantasy. The
project lacks committed financing (including tax-free housing bonds and
a bond for the arena), an anchor tenant, and the land needed for the project,
while Ratner faces vigorous litigation, a frightening credit market and
exponential increases in construction costs. His project is in serious jeopardy.
So when he says he ‘anticipates’ it will be completed in 2018, it's simply
not credible. It means nothing."
DON'T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community coalition
fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing
and destroying them.
DDDB is a 501c3 non-profit corporation supported by over 4,000 individual
donors from the community.