Prefabricated Tower May Rise at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards

The 34-story building, with roughly 400 apartments, would comprise more than 900 modules that would be hauled to Atlantic Yards, lifted into place by crane and bolted together.

Comments: 87

  1. Would Mr. Ratner actually stay or consider living on the top floor of a 15 story Chinese Hotel that was built "in a matter of days"? Would he think about living on the top floor of a modular 35 story building that had been "bolted" together? I doubt it!
    I guess it is not a problem if these apartments are rented to low income folks!

  2. What about a massive hurricane?

  3. Now that the Times is putting some energy into belatedly skeptical reporting about Atlantic Yards, how about a look at the developer's extraordinary (but under-the-radar) effort to raise $249 million from 498 Chinese (and Korean) millionaires seeking green cards.

    My coverage
    http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com...
    http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com...

    Under the federal government's EB-5 program, each immigrant can get green cards for his/her family by parking $500,000 for a few years in an investment fund, as long as that individual investment supports ten jobs.

    The investors get low or no interest, and the developer in this case would save well more than $100 million. The justification is "jobs."

    The concept of "selling green cards" may rub people the wrong way, but if the U.S. is going to do it--as do some other countries--at least the investment should generate jobs.

    There are several problems with the "Brooklyn Arena and Infrastructure Project" (a subset of Atlantic Yards) as pitched by the New York City Regional Center, a federally authorized, privately run investment pool, and developer Forest City Ratner.

    1) The "project" wouldn't create any jobs beyond those already forecast. (In fact, if Forest City uses modular construction for the housing at the project, jobs would diminish.)

    2) The money wasn't needed and thus couldn't serve as seed money to generate new investment/jobs, as with some apparently more deserving EB-5 projects. (The proponents seem to have been taking advantage of a loophole in a poorly drawn and under-enforced law.)

    3) The marketing of the project, as confirmed in a report by Reuters and in my Atlantic Yards Report blog, was deceptive. Reuters reported on several misrepresentations:

    * that investors need not worry about getting green cards
    * that investors would be financing a new arena in Brooklyn for the National Basketball Association's Nets
    * that the government of New York State is involved in the project being presented

    Astoundingly, a representative of the New York City Regional Center admitted the claims were inaccurate, but blamed his foreign affiliates for marketing abuses.

    The problem? Those claims appear in material presented by the regional center and were repeated by the regional center's own staff at investment seminars in China and on webcasts broadcast in China, as I've reported.

    Beyond that, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, in a video appearance made to help his favorite developer attract money from gullible foreigners, made two astounding statements:

    "Brooklyn is 1000 percent behind Atlantic Yards"
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

    [Of developer Forest City Ratner] "And the most important thing: they make a promise, they keep it."
    http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com...

    The latter claim seems belied by the latest news--if Forest City proceeds with modular building, the number of promised construction jobs would go way down, and so would projected tax revenues.

  4. From Frank Gehry to prefab monstrosities; from 17,000 good construction jobs to many fewer lower paying factory jobs. Neighbors, we've been had. Thank you, Mayor Mike, Marty Markowitz and the rest of our City boondogglers!

  5. The Atlantic Yard pre-fabrication project is a great way get big - fast.

    The ground floor levels are usually conventional construction , to interface with the sidewalk level, and from there on up, repeat a pattern the same as any high-rise building does. The big advantage being that much of the work can be undertaken off-site under idealized conditions, reducing costs, increasing quality, and expedience. Most often, the actual building site is the worst place to try and construct the building that will stand there. A paradox that any NY City constructor thinks of as logistically hostile. (challenging)

    It sounds like a great job to work on.

  6. Why does this not sound like a good idea? Affordable housing? Yes! 34 stories of mobile homes stacked on top of each other? I'm not so sure about this. Besides, where will the tenants put their little yard gnome statues!

  7. Do the modules have the same little bumps as my kid's Lego?

  8. From Frank Gehry...to pre-fab.

  9. Mr. RATner. I love it. Prefabricated concrete cartons. Once a place to work the Atlantic Yards will now be a place to play and decay.

  10. Only in Brooklyn....

    "well I'm I'm moving on up (moving on up)
    to fort geen (moving on up)
    to a trailer park in the sky"

    payback hurts. I bet those develop don't destroy Brooklyn neighbobs are ruing stalling Forest City Ratner while they still had capital.

    Only hope now is to get the construction unions angry.

    High rise modular construction sets a bad precedent and the construction unions should recognize its threat.

    Didn't the modular construction council house high rises in the UK collapse?

  11. Bruce Ratner is one smooth operator; he should give classes on "bait-and-switch". I supported this project when he promised an inspiring, world-class complex designed by Frank Gehry. When he ditched Gehry's design (after the project was approved, of course), the project lost my support. Now Ratner's planning to stick it to the unions, his biggest supporters, by building prefabs and paying much lower wages. Why do we trust real estate developers to do what they promise?

  12. ...another prediction: Mr. Ratner pockets the millions of dollars in unnecessary subsidies that were given to him, the union members never see a dime. As the project goes on, the factory starts replacing union workers with low paid immigrant labor. The union and the city go to court, where the the case drags out for years, and gets settled for pennies on the dollar.

    As a last hurrah, Mr. Ratner uses the money he's pocketed from the state and city (and by this time, the residents by charging over inflated rents...) to lobby the new Republican governor of 2020 to make new laws making it more difficult, no, make that impossible to collectively bargain in the state of NY.

  13. It just gets worse and worse. I hope those union guys who harassed us at the public hearings are starting to be a little bit sorry now. And I'm sure there's more bad news down the pike. After all, it's Ratner.

  14. Here we go yet again - letting a billionaire developer do whatever he wants with taxpayer funds, it seems.

    This whole thing stinks so badly that it is hard to have ANY faith whatsoever in the New York City and New York State politicians that greenlighted this project in haste. History will prove that they were irresponsible - and perhaps even criminal - in their lack of public review and due diligence.

    And now this developer has the gall to cut corners to keep money in his pocket - this redefines the phrase "chump change." Guess who the chumps are?

  15. ANd let's look at the "rent stabilization" for tax incentive scheme as it has played out on the real Gehry residential building (by City Hall). The initial tenant pays a PREFERENTIAL rent, which is actually a MARKET rent (otherwise there would be no need to market them, right?!) The leases note a "LEGAL RENT" for a few thousand dollars more.. This is the base rent for future "stabilized rents" until the incentives run out. The incentive structure is a giant scam and the New York Times has yet to cover it as such. Thank you, Mr. Oder, for contributing your information.

  16. I've put up pre-fab houses that sold for almost 1 million dollars each in Long Island. The building inspectors were amazed at how solid the houses were built without any creaks in the floors, and the owners were and still are extremely pleased.

    Modular construction is great. It's SO WASTEFUL AND INEFFICIENT TO BUILD ON SITE instead of building in a factory (in controlled conditions) and then assembling the modules. On site corners can be cut, and it is a hostile environment (weather) compared to a factory.

    If he saves money great!!! Why WASTE money on inefficiency with workers building in an open environment versus a climate controlled and SAFER factory first. Oh, the poor union workers need to be fed high wages and have the money wasted. The jobs are still there. They aren't just paid the ridiculously high amounts that they hold people hostage to.

    Too bad most of the people on here don't know about modular building, and just respond like a pack of dogs criticizing it. The school authority does it with classrooms. It's a great idea. Efficiency - save time, save money, less dangerous conditions for workers - what's wrong with that people????

    I guess people like Soviet style inefficiency.

  17. so much for all the jobs this boondoggle was going to create. Another developer feeds at the public trough thanks to our warped political process. Thank you George Pataki, Bloomberg and Senator Krueger!

  18. A billionaire using the unions for support and then tossing them aside. No surprise there.

    Working people exist merely to be exploited by the rich by any means possible.

  19. Marty Markowitz is such a useless hack. The one important thing this otherwise powerless borough prez could have done (other than bore and embarrass Brooklynites at all manner of public events) is to have been a forceful & focused voice for his constituents on Atlantic Yards, insisting Ratner be held to his promises. Instead, we witnessed the worst kind of corporate pandering & boosterism. Abolish the office of borough prez & dedicate its million dollar-plus annual budget to addressing the soon-to-be disastrous traffic problems at the Flatbush & Atlantic Avenues intersection.

  20. Module buildings can bring affordable housing to New Yorkers especially when it comes to steel structures. It would cost less to build a steel frame skyscraper in California and ship it to New York on the Panama canal than it would to build it here. Since the unions are international unions and proud of the fact that they have membership all over the country, they shouldn't complain too much about offsite buildings. The aren't losing welders, they could move to California and still get union pay. Developer's lose on highly paid flag waivers, coffee runners, and useless shop stewards with hundred dollars worth of benefits standing around all day sticking stickers on their helmets. They also lose on injures which don't occur during the manufacturing processes because it is harder to drink on the job. That said, I can see why the building tradesmen feel burned by Ratner. The NYC building unions asked members to come as far away as the high tax paying states of Florida and Delaware, in addition to Pennsylvania, and Long Island to threaten, menace and yell over the actual residents of the planned development areas so they could get what they wanted.

    Why can't they just have what they yelled for!

  21. "Would Mr. Ratner actually stay or consider living on the top floor of a 15 story Chinese Hotel that was built "in a matter of days"? Would he think about living on the top floor of a modular 35 story building that had been "bolted" together? I doubt it!"
    "What about a massive hurricane?"

    What's wrong with pre-fab? Do you people have solid evidence that a pre-fab building cannot be designed and built to NYC Building Code standards?

    Yeah, I thought not.

  22. There is nothing wrong with modular per se. But in the end "The Rat's" legacy will be a cheap, crummy area of designed blight leveraged for profit and supported by the taxes of those it saddles with future debt and maintenance.

  23. now let's see if mr ratner's plan includes a method to remove and replace each housing module for refurbishment and or replacement if necessary. the modular concept is very interesting.

  24. These modular building are actually stronger than the steel, rebar/concrete residential construction which is currently being used. Many of the residential towers built in the past 30 years could not sustain earthquakes even though there is a fault going through the Upper East Side. Because these building do not sway, in an earthquake the upper floor will separate from the lower part of the building. These building are essentially stabilized by gravity. When the base shifts, the forces holding the building together are lost. Imagine a house of cards.

    With the modular construction, imagine piling cubes on top of eachother and then tying them all together. You can shake them, yet they will not collapse.

    Much of the worry is being argued by the construction union -- not architects or engineers. If modular construction is used, the price to develop residential housing will drop dramatically -- something the unions have been fighting for 30 years.

  25. Whether one supported this project or not, no one could have known about this creepy prefab building. What is this thrown together glorified trailer going to look like in ten to twenty years? This project should be halted right now. Build proper construction and quit trying to hoard every dollar.

  26. Would like to hear some in-depth reporting on Ratner's Ridge Hill project in Yonkers. From the Throughway, the project looks only slightly better than New Jersey's Xanadu. Wonder about the tax money or pension funds invested in this potential boondoggle.

  27. Why is none of this a surprise? I went to one of those community meetings. Voices of reason and good faith were drowned out by hard-hats bellowing about jobs. I could care less if the unions get screwed. They'll get whatever they deserve by being in bed with the sleazy Ratner and the ESDC. Unfortunately so will downtown Brooklyn.

  28. Prediction: The new building will be drafty, the walls will be crooked, and heating the units is going to be all electric wall units that are grossly inefficient, and it will sound like your neighbors live with you. Management of the building is not going to care. The property owner is never going to be held responsible for their shoddy work, because the courts will skew heavily in their favor.

    All that, and the buildings will be touted as "Luxury Units", and they'll never tell you what a piece of crap the building is before you move in.

  29. The new-ish apartment complex buildings in Brighton Beach, overlooking the boardwalk, built where the old baths were, are prefabricated and look good and sell for a million or so dollars. That said, they're not high rises and they weren't subsidized by taxpayers. Ratner will erect even cheaper prefabs that will not provide the jobs he promised and will overshadow and desecrate the Williamsburg Savings Bank building, up to now a beacon visible all over the city. And if another ball park goes up, there goes the neighborhood altogether. Research shows that ballparks do nothing for the economy, especially since taxpayers also subsidize the teams and their wildly rich owners.

  30. Shades of the German Democratic Republic.

  31. # 10, are you and every one else who has supporting this criminal dense ? He NEVER had capital. It's been an exercise in him getting cheap land from Bloomburg and Markowitz, as well as subsidy after subsidy, ALL THE WAY. This is what people have been fighting. Promises, with nothing, no plan, no capital, nothing in his own bank account, to back them up. All of you suckers who supported this, once again, you talk yourselves into believing the hype and the lies, and yet another New York City developer/landlord takes you to the cleaners. How is it you can get yourselves to believe Bruce Ratner cares about you, about anything. Same with the construction unions. You've been had.

  32. I'm generally pro-worker, but bristle at the union's response: "we're generally not supportive... for obvious reasons". Yeah, preserving inefficiencies and waste for the benefit of a few, instead of encouraging progress for the benefit of society. It's like the unions requiring "firemen" on diesel locomotives, decades after steam engines and their fire boxes faded from the scenes.

  33. I am sure Bruce Ratner did not learn of modular construction from a youtube video or by visiting Germany! Modular construction is not something new to Forest City. In the late 60's and early 70's Forest City was one of the world leaders in developing a module based high rise building system under "Operation Breakthrough", a HUD sponsored effort to industrialize the housing industry. Of all the various companies participating in Breathrough, Forest City had one of the best systems. Industrialized houisng did not take off at that time because there was not a large enough market without ongoing Federal assistance to justify the capital investment required. It would be interesting to know if they are reviving their own proprietary system or a trying something entirely new.

  34. I blame Marty Markowitz.

  35. Still, it must be awesome to consider $35 an hour a low-wage job.

  36. doesn't sound safe

  37. "Untested" is not the kind of structure that is going to attract residents...or am I just being cynical?

  38. This project has fallen so far from the lofty heights of megastar architects and 95 story skyscrapers dwarfing the neighborhood. It no longer resembles what the city approved in any way shape or form and should be disallowed on the grounds that it's going to be ugly and bargain basement cheap with none of the beauty or functionality or jobs promised in the original scope.

  39. in the old days you could not even bring a PreFAB, PreWIRED office partition on site in NYC without tipping IBEW or Local 3 stewards
    -- otherwise, the unions would roll out the blow up RAT and shut down your job..
    Times they are a'changin'

  40. Oh, I cant wait. I hope they make the top floor a double wide.

  41. How could building codes allow a construction method that is "untested at that height?" And haven't we learned anything about the inevitable failure of massive subsidized housing projects in the last 30 years. Thirty-four stories of warehoused impoverished people is a recipe for crime, gangs, and an insidious continuing cycle of such.

  42. Forest City Ratner is trying to save money at the expense of the "poor" -- sure, why not float a potentially dangerous idea, and use it for affordable housing? He wouldn't use it for the originally planned luxury condos, but for those who can't pay the price -- why not, they don't deserve decent construction? And if it falls over (which would send it crashing into the buildings all within 20 feet of it) -- well, life's a gamble....

    Mayor Bloomberg and all concerned should denounce this idea immediately, it's an outrage. I have to smile, as well, that the construction workers are surprised -- did they really believe Ratner's "create more jobs" claim?

  43. Ratner has lied about much of the core rationale for this project, enabled by gutless sychophants like Marty Markowitz. And he's lied about the jobs generated to his union supporters - who acted in a thuggish manner throughout the hearings on his behalf - saw for myself. Now look what they got - shafted like everyone else. This is karma at its best. A trailer park in the sky. And who will pay when these are found to be unlivable a few years later? The taxpayer. This will be a white elephant for decades. Nice work NY Times - you were behind it all the way...

  44. The density of the project was never appropriately scaled to the services in the neighborhood. The Develop Don't Destroy types are wishing we'd pushed harder. Now there may be construction guys who'll wish they'd never wasted their time with it. And when the cheap buildings prove to be unlivable, the housing advocates will have the same queasy feeling.

  45. "If he saves money great!!! Why WASTE money on inefficiency with workers building in an open environment versus a climate controlled and SAFER factory first. Oh, the poor union workers need to be fed high wages and have the money wasted. The jobs are still there. They aren't just paid the ridiculously high amounts that they hold people hostage to."

    Yes, why should workers share in the ridiculously high amounts that thieves like Ratner hold people hostage to...

  46. ...and now the conversation, if Ratner has his way, and his PR firm does their job, will turn to the merits of pre-fab. He'll tout it as a "fantastic alternative" and a lot of other catch phrases. Rather then where the conversation SHOULD be, which is "yet another broken promise", or "Ratner continues to make it up as he goes along".

  47. is it true that marty markowitz wants to get rid of the propect park bike lanes so that the prefab units can be brought down prospect park west?

  48. The fact that this project was shoved down the community's throat by the rich and powerful is a disgrace.

    I hope that people will at least learn from this terrible mistake. Another monstrocity of inhuman scale is being erected in our midst with the sole aim of increasing the wealth of a few and some sort of misguided concept of Reagan-era trickle-down...

    It's sad.

  49. If done correctly it will work. Ironically, O'Malley wanted to build there in 1950s for the Dodgers but was turned down by his emperor Mr. Moses.

  50. Not that I want to give Ratner any boost, but I'm pretty certain that Towers on the Park a/k/a 301 Cathedral Parkway (the corner of 110th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan) were prefab modular construction. They are 20 stories tall. They're a little ugly in my opinion, but I am pretty sure thay are also sitting on top an area that was reclaimed marshland so presumably there is some measure of stability in their construction. Anyone else know about these buildings?

  51. Expensive construction costs in NYC mean real estate developers build market-rate luxury housing. If the advocates of below-market housing want more "affordable" housing to be built, construction costs must be reduced.

  52. Bargaining collectively over work conditions and pay is fine; unions lose the support of people like me when they fight technological advances that increase efficiency and cut costs.

    In Philadelphia the plumbers union fought to force new sky scrapers to install 100 year old cast iron plumbing systems instead of the latest available efficient systems. Imagine the hysterical laughing that must break out in Chinese economic planning meetings when they read news like this.

    If only to retain my sanity, I tell myself that there MUST be a middle ground that most Americans agree with: unions are not all bad but they frequently over-reach to everyone's detriment including their own.

  53. Can you imagine the traffic on Atlantic Ave? Can you imagine what this will do to Atlantic Ave (upon which driving is already like off-roading).

  54. Oh my, a corporate bigwig trying to squeeze grab every dollar to line his pockets from a government-endorsed project with little regard for the poor or middle class?

    Shocked I tell you, I am shocked! This doesn't happen in America! Right?

  55. Those construction workers get no sympathy from me. They came into a neighborhood where almost none of them actually lived, drowned out the voices of the real tenants there, acted like animals at the community board meetings, and now they're upset when they get screwed by the same billionaire? Cry me a river.

  56. I think its great. We need ideas to build low-cost housing in this city. I'm sorry that the unions don't like it, but their interest is in raising construction costs as high as possible.

  57. Why not test this on luxury housing first?
    For such a deal as he got on this project one would expect all the construction to be of the same type and quality, not the same finish, but the same structure.

  58. I worked on a project to build a federal prison using this procedure. It works and the quality and integrity of the building 8floors was of higher quality elements than the traditional, sticks and stacks method. Get with the future people.

  59. I have no problem with more efficient construction, development areas spending less time as open pits, and modular/pre-fab construction in theory (that said, I know nothing about the reality of modular construction). But there are two particularly salient points here: 1) Forest City Ratner made too many promises to too many people, and ones that were possibly intentionally vague so as to be rendered barely a promise of anything, simultaneously using these promises as a way to snake-charm gov't funding and blatantly force the development down the throats of the people who live in the area; and 2) Forest City Ratner is taking a private risk with public funds, by building a possibly unsustainable building, and possibly without any teeth to rules regulating its responsibility in future decades if this experiment should fail.

    At least, that's what I think the article is trying to make salient. The "balanced" reporting does a good job of burying these points in favor of being fair to all sides. Sometimes journalism assumes too high a degree of reading comprehension.

  60. Let's review: Ratner initially proposed a huge project of stadium and a dozen tall buildings designed by Frank Gehry, paying the MTA pennies on the dollar for the real estate. The NY Times -- proudly anticipating its own building designed by Gehry -- fawned on it, mocked Brooklynites as hicks for protesting it, for proposing alternative uses for that public land, and for being skeptical that Ratner would actually come through with jobs and affordable housing. I'm not even going into all the skipped review processes and the subsidies from city and state taxes -- our money. Forest City Ratner blanketed the surrounding neighborhoods with expensive mailings convincing the credulous that they'd soon have tickets to exciting basketball games, and that the naysayers were balking Ratner's desire to put up affordable housing around the neighborhood (while knocking down actual affordable housing and displacing the people in it). He lined up construction unions to lobby for the project with the promise of abundant work for them, so they could supply photogenic faces at the tiny number of hearings where Brooklynites got to bring up objections. Then, since some of the lucrative subsidies had deadlines, Ratner had to start digging, and ditched Gehry's plan as too expensive and began putting up the stadium charitably described as looking like an airplane hanger. So having used the scaffolding of the NY Times support for a Gehry project, ACORN's support for affordable housing, unions' support for jobs, and a solid foundation of your and my tax money, he pulls the scaffolding away, and voila! an expensive prefab mess with a newly bulldozed road for zooming vast profits into the pockets of Ratner, his Russian investors.

    Can't we get a complete list of who is benefiting?

  61. There's nothing wrong with modular housing per se, it can be designed creatively and attractively and has a long history - see Habitat Montreal 1967, and all the way back to Bauhaus. There are also interesting things architects are doing today using shipping containers as housing modules/building blocks.
    What's unfortunate in this instance is that it looks cheap and hideous. It is not worth decades of eye-sore just to fulfill an obligation as cheaply as possible - what's next, tents? The city better, at minimum, make damn sure it's not a piece of junk that will start falling apart in 3 years...

  62. Remember this article when you are at the gas pump. The purpose of an economy is to combat high prices.

    I have no problem paying close to $4/gallon for fuel, as I know that at current prices, I will soon have alternatives - there is just too much at stake. Inelastic markets become elastic over time.

    Skilled labor, like oil, is expensive, so developers and engineers work to minimize the amount of labor required to build products. Does this mean buildings will lack creativity? It could, but it doesn't have to. If you don't believe it, buy a set of Legos and see what you can build.

  63. Now all the predictions of Ratner's opponents have come true. So much for urban renewal - let's just stack some shipping containers on top of one another and call it a building! For this they used eminent domain and kicked people out of their homes? For this they received subsidies and government land at a discounted price?

    I disliked Ratner's master plan even when I thought he was actually building buildings, but this direct from Ikea housing nonsense is an abomination. The next few generations of Brooklynites will thank him for the rusting metallic eyesore jutting out of what was once a pleasant neighborhood.

  64. Far less litter and waste materials you see on many construction jobs with this method. As for fixed Crain procedure, how many fell in the streets of Manhattan last year or two.

  65. Atlantic Yards would be a laugh riot if it weren't destroying central Brooklyn.

    Forest City Ratner decided they wanted to build 10,000 multi-million dollar lofts in Brooklyn. They convinced New York State to seize private homes by saying they would build a basketball arena, bring in Frank Gehry as an architect, provide 17,000 construction jobs, and create "1,800 affordable housing units," whatever that means.

    Once they got approval, they promptly sold the basketball team, started scaling back their commitments to affordable housing, replaced Frank Gehry with a shoebox, and now have decided to offshore their construction jobs.

    Shame on ACORN, Marty Moskowitz, the construction unions, and all of the others who fell for their scam and railroaded this thing through, kicking people out of their homes. Same for all the enablers like our representatives David Yassky and Bill DeBlasio who didn't speak up at the time and now pretend that they had misgivings.

  66. $35/hr. is still very good money. I've never made that much in my professional life, and I'm college-educated.

  67. Why is everyone so scared about pre-fab/modular construction. It is used all over Europe. It is made of the same exact materials as traditional construction. Its just pre-made, in a module! Because its not built on-site, but in a controlled environment, many times the construction is much better.

    And to the commenter afraid of the modules being bolted together, I suggest you flee the building you are currently in. ALL steel construction is bolted!

    P.S. I'm a structural engineer.

  68. Hope there is plan to capture the entire construction at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards for youtube consumption. Can Chinese ingenuity in prefab high-rise construction be topped by Americans who are the master operators in Wall Street manipulation?

  69. I'm very impressed with all the people who know absolutely nothing about modular architecture, engineering and construction. Yet they have deemed themselves adequately informed to bless us with their snarky quips about stacking "trailer parks" and "legos". Cute.

    The reality is that modular construction can be elegant, extremely stable, and a more affordable way of providing higher quality housing. By the way, the modular technique referenced for Atlantic Yards is entirely different than the Chinese one. The Chinese building was pre-fabricated at the beam level and assembled accordingly. This is pre-fabricated at the block level and stacked. This allows the rooms to be assembled off-site.

    Yes, it does take work away from the local (and extremely overpaid) NYC construction unions.

  70. Are you kidding me!!!
    How does this happen? Developers, sports magnates, small businesses and home owners are spending billions sprucing up their homes in around this neighborhood to turn the corner of blight that permeated Atlantic ave for DECADES, and this clown get's to build a vertical Wal-Mart.
    What is going on in the country that we are so short-sighted, greedy and corrupted? Here you have one set of laws for most of society, and no laws at all for the privileged.

  71. Modular construction must meet the same building codes as conventional construction. It is aslo quicker to complete as site work can progress while the modules are manufactured in a climate controlled factory.

  72. So,this farce is a costly blunder by yet another fat cat rich mega-billionare that is already doomed to total dismal failure even before
    the first bolt is bolted in. Only in New York City do we see such greed
    at work and so many stupid ideas happen all at the same time.

  73. Hey Marty Markowitz,

    From the looks of these comments it doesn't seem like "Brooklyn is 1000% behind Atlantic Yards." Maybe if you'd knock off a couple zeros you'd be closer to the truth.

  74. One enormous bait and switch from the very beginning.

  75. So basically 2011 United States is 1957 Kruschev Soviet Union? Kruschev was known for making "worker houses" of the prefab type. And, so we're there. How retro.

  76. Perhaps Ratner could buy the Metrodome and move it to NYC instead of building an arena from scratch. Would cost less.

  77. $85/hr. is the reason that you will see prefab. Pigs at the trough get slaughtered.


  78. I watched a 7 story apartment builfing go up in Sapporo, Haikado, Japan. Trucks were lined up for blocks with the modules on them. A crane picked up the modules and lifted them into place. Workemen bolted the interlocking modules together. it went up beautifully. All the plumbing and electricty were pre-installed. It was, I was told, state of the art in safety and quality of construction, and could be modified , expaneded or redone in anyway far more easily than traditional construction. This is the way of the future.

  79. Prepare for another bait and switch. This technology if approved will be used to produce greater profits and returns for FCR and its investors, help to undermine the unions but will not increase the number of affordable housing units available to low and moderate income families. In addition to the adverse social and economic implications, and given the events at the WTC on 911 and more recently in Japan there is an overriding need to construct buildings to withstand natural and man-made disasters. Whether this technology can do that is an open question. The city and state should carefully scrutinize this technology before being permitting its use in New York City.

  80. I've been watching a prefab 8 or 9 story building rise on east 102. Every day trucks bring in slabs of concrete and they sit on walls maybe 6 inches thick. That's 3 inches per slab. My point is if there ever is a serious earthquake in this city that building is going to pancake very easily. At least in China that building had serious bracing between columns.
    There must be a requirement that prefab buildings (34 story ones esp.) meet some sort of seismic bracing.

  81. One more comment sorry.
    Oh my, all this talk of how wonderful prefab is. First of all a prefab home is an unfair comparison to building a multiunit apartment building. The Federal Stimulus prefab 9 story buildings on the east side (102s) are a far cry from the prefab people like to mention as being wonderful. Walking by every day I noticed more and more crazy things happening over there. They ran heating pipes (copper at least) up the outside of the building, and between the bricks/windows. I waited to see if any insulation was installed around the pipes. There were none. And they clearly didn't even plan for radiator pipes because they chipped off the corners of the concrete slabs to run those pipes up the outside of the building.
    I'm no expert on cement but when we had weeks of subzero temperatures the bricks and mortar kept rising. I can't wait to see how long those joints last.
    I could go on and on about the horrible design of prefab buildings. The prefab plan is saving money, so do you think design or quality is going to be important?
    And if you want to talk about a Soviet system just look at how ugly prefab high rises look in those countries.
    You thought Stuyvesant town was ugly, just wait until we live in a world with prefab mediocracy.

  82. I have no problem with people being critical of the developer. I find it amazing that people with no engineering/construction backgrounds actually express opinions on the subject. It seems every single builder in these comments that has worked with pre-fab says it is a better, more technologically advanced and safer process that saves money and lives.

    I was born in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan. I know most of you aren't even from here and are transplants. New York always builds up and out. It is the very essence of what this city has always been and will be in the future. There is no city in the world that is as inspiring. Please if you hate development, move somewhere else. There are plenty of trendy places in America where development is strictly limited. The rest of us are happy to stay behind and enjoy what real estate agents call our "New York Views."

  83. The issue here isn't whether modular design is effective or not.
    The issue is that this particular developer got his monstrosity of a project passed by making grand promises to everyone involved and has been systematically reneging on each of these promises as push comes to shove. I'll bet that if people were aware of what the Atlantic Yards plan looks like today back in 2004-8, Ratner would have had a much harder time convincing the taxpayers that we needed to give him our money.

  84. The environmental and technological benefits of pre-fab construction aren't the issue here.

    Significant public subsidies in the form of cash payments and affordable housing subsidies have been committed to Forest City Ratner for this project on the basis of promised benefits (the creation of 17,000 union jobs) and anticipated costs based on industry standards. If a significant savings on labor results from pre-fab building techniques the savings should be returned to the public, not pocketed by the developer.

  85. I remember reading about a HUD sponsored a Project Breakthrough in Jersey City in the early 1970's that involved modular units. The operating engineers droped one of them... in the end it cost more than conventional construction. From what I've heard about NYC building inpsections, good luck getting these things inspected.

  86. what nobody is willing to acknowledge is the wind factor that hits the Arena and rail yard area coming from the Atlantic. It is stronger than any in New York City. Suggest they put a sign on the sidewalk by the prefab 34 stories building : "walk at your own risk, some of the above apartments could fall onto you and yours!"
    How did we elect such a crook for mayor?

  87. its more appropriate if built on Mega floats in and around the surrounding waters.