Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Construction of the Ratner/Prokhorov (“Barclays”) Arena Is Behind Schedule. Either That, OR a 24/7 Construction Schedule Was ALWAYS Intended

Ostensibly, construction of the Ratner/Prokhorov (“Barclays”) basketball arena for the Nets, which is being erected where Park Slope, Fort Greene and Prospect Heights intersect, is now, and has always been “ahead of schedule.” That’s according to the construction reports prepared by real estate consultant Merritt & Harris, reporting to the trustee for holders of the bonds issued to finance the project. See: Wednesday, September 14, 2011, Latest consultant's report: arena still ahead of schedule (but lead is narrowing), while transit connection is on schedule (but no longer ahead) from which the above charts were cribbed.

But if construction of the arena is really on schedule, why has it been necessary for some time to accelerate with the shift to a 24/7 round-the-clock construction regime with night time jackhammering and weekend work happening on both Saturdays and Sundays throughout the project footprint? Why is it necessary for the developer/subsidy collector Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Ratner's construction people to get after-hours variances for such increasingly continuous work (which they secretly lie to obtain) except for the fact that work is actually behind schedule?. . . That is unless the round-the-clock scheduling of work was always an intended part of maintaining the construction schedule, in which case the environmental impact statement intentionally avoided depicting with truth and accuracy what was to befall the community?

Regarding the above see:
Friday, September 16, 2011
From AY Watch: Atlantic Yards-related work extends to 24 hours a day, resulting in many reported quality of life impacts

Atlantic Yards-related work extends to 24 hours a day, resulting in many reported quality of life impacts, Submitted by Peter K. on September 15, 2011.

Thursday, September 15, 2011
Forest City to launch Sunday hours in railyard for at least three months; 6 am deliveries have begun

Thursday, August 11, 2011
The mysteries of after-hours work at the arena site: do people live nearby? (yes, but most permits say "no") and what's the rationale? (not made public)

Complaints about extended hours work continue, and new sources of construction noise at night and on weekends may be on their way
Submitted by Peter K. on July 26, 2011

Tuesday, August 02, 2011
From the latest Construction Alert: more late shifts, plus a plan to begin deliveries at 6 am through the entire arena construction period

(Above video, jackhammering at 10:30 PM . . . . till morning?)
We have actually been privately skeptical from the beginning about whether reports that the arena construction was on schedule were accurate, ever since the first report that came out was accompanied by a quickly reissued “corrected” chart revised specifically with respect to its main subject: exactly how far along construction actually was. See: Thursday, March 10, 2011, Arena slightly ahead of schedule, consultant reports, but "schedule disputes" linger; report reissued after chart errors found. But what do you do with private skepticism and suspicions about whether there has been PR-motivated rejiggering of information when you are on the outside looking in at an opaque process perpetually hidden behind a PR haze?

You’ll never be able to know, but as the construction of an arena that is not theoretically behind schedule is now subjecting the surrounding community to a continuous round-the-clock onslaught of construction, it seems there are some good questions to ask Empire State Development’s CEO Kenneth Adams when he meets “Brooklynites concerns about Atlantic Yards” at a non-public invitation-only Brooklyn Borough Hall meeting on Monday, September 26 from 6-8 pm. (See: Friday, September 16, 2011, ESD CEO Kenneth Adams to meet Brooklynites concerned about Atlantic Yards; session is invite-only, questions must be submitted beforehand.)

Specifically, I would ask:
Is the construction of the arena behind schedule despite reports to the contrary?

. . . . Because, if it isn’t. . .

Doesn’t that mean that the near continuous construction . . . . late at night and through the early morning hours, on Saturdays and Sundays as well as weekdays. . . . (permitted by virtue of special questionably obtained waivers) was always intended, even while the inevitability of such a schedule was tactically excluded from the Environmental Impact Statement?

. . . . . You can’t really have it both ways . . .

Or CAN you? Is having it both ways something you are allowed if you are Forest City Ratner?
Those questions are good, essential questions to ask but there is no guarantee they will get through the gauntlet. The non-public, invitation-only aspect of the event, with questions having to be submitted beforehand, indicates how tightly controlled this event will be, with the community represented only by those who are “invited” to represent the community. Also, although the Monday, September 26th evening event may seem a fair way off, the planners are taking no chances: They wanted all questions submitted almost immediately upon announcement, by September 16th.

Perhaps another place these questions should get asked is at tomorrow’s 9:30 AM Brooklyn Borough Hall Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meeting. (See: Wednesday, September 21, 2011, On the eve of AY District Service Cabinet Meeting, new information from AY Watch about reduced capacity of lay-by lanes.)

If the questions do get asked tomorrow and the facial expressions on the part of Forest City Ratner and Empire State Development officials are deliciously uncomfortable in responding to them, you probably won’t get to savor the spectacle unless you personally attend the event because, although it is technically open to the public, it is also tightly controlled, with a prohibition on potentially illuminating videos and photographs. (See: Monday, August 15, 2011, From Borough Hall: banning photography and video at the Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet meetings is "to prevent disruptions." What are disruptions?)

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