Just three weeks into the summer semester, the MSRED Class of 2012 spent the afternoon in Brooklyn with Bruce Ratner (CEO Forest City Ratner) and MaryAnne Gilmartin (EVP), overlooking the currently under construction, Atlantic Yards. Situated at the corner of Flatbush and Atlantic Ave is the centerpiece of the former 22-acre rail yard, the Barclays Center. Starting next season (2012-2013), the Barclays Center will be home to the relocated NBA franchise, the New Jersey Nets.
Bruce Ratner and MaryAnne Gilmartin spoke at length of the challenges and highlights of the Atlantic Yards development process. In addition to being the largest single development of affordable housing in New York City history, the highly complex Atlantic Yards deal constituted of buying and relocating a sports franchise, contributing $50 million to the renovation of the subway station, and a last-minute road show in China to secure an enormous amount of funds which eventually proved to be a turning point in the development.
In addition to the complexities of the deal, Bruce and MaryAnne were very proud of their innovative progress of modular high rise construction. According to Bruce and MaryAnne, this technique could reduce hard costs by 20 to 25%. While it is unclear whether or not this feat of architectural engineering will be implemented for the Atlantic Yards construction, when and if perfected, the prefabricated modular high rise could be the future of real estate development.
Coincidentally, Greg Pasquarelli, a founding partner of SHoP Architects, made a surprise guest appearance. SHoP recently replaced Frank Gehry as the architect for the Barclays Center and was recently awarded the design of the first residential tower at Atlantic Yards. While Greg addressed the class only briefly, he gave a much more detailed presentation only a few weeks later as a guest lecturer for the MSRED Envisioning Studio class.
-by Immanuel Gilen & Brad Long