Forest City Ratner made it official today: Frank Gehry is off the Atlantic Yards project—the arena, all of it.
Kansas City-based Ellerbe Becket will design the arena, which, according to an article in the New York Times and obvious from the rendering published by the Times, looks like an airplane hangar and just as incongruent with its neighborhood surroundings as the Gehry designs were.
The jettisoning of Gehry is just the latest in broken promises from Ratner and the disappearing benefits touted by the developer and his supporters when the project was approved in 2006.
If constructed, the arena would be a monument to one of the most notorious bait and switches in City history, built on a foundation of Ratner's broken promises.
Nearly all of the purported public benefits of the project have disappeared or dwindled to nearly nothing over the past year:
With the focus on the arena, the "affordable" housing is barely still in the picture, with the number of units and income levels unknown and financing non-existent.
> The world class, one-of-a-kind Frank Gehry arena is now gone.
> The office jobs and their projected revenue are gone, as there are no plans to buld the office tower.
The so-called "urban room," a glorified lobby at the base of the office tower and entrance to the arena, touted as a great public amenity will not come to fruition without the office tower and with the new hangar-like arena design.
Last week the Independent Budget Office (IBO) testified that the arena would be a money-loser for NYC.
> Purported "blight" would be replaced with the real blight of Ratner's demolished properties and parking lots.
Bye-bye Gehry calls into question whether Barclays Bank, which bought $400 million naming rights for the starchitect's landmark design, will be willing to fork over that kind of cash for...an airplane hangar. It's doubtful. And the same goes for other arena sponsors, and the unfortunate few who have put deposits down on the slow-to-sell luxury suites. Ratner's entire arena revenue model is faulty.
It's clear that the project approved in 2006 no longer exists as a possible reality, but still does exist in official project documents. But that will change as the ESDC will soon release a new project plan, and the MTA will attempt to ram a new sweetheart deal for Ratner down the throats of taxpayers and transit-riders. The clock is ticking on Ratner as he attempts to gain concessions one last time from the MTA, the ESDC and Governor Paterson.
It is time for Governor Paterson to take control of this debacle, end the charade that the Atlantic Yards would provide any benefit for the public and make it official, on paper, that Atlantic Yards is scrapped. Then, finally, stakeholders and our elected officials can work together with mulitiple developers to construct affordable housing and reasonable density over the Vanderbilt Rail Yards. The community has the plan—the Unity Plan—and its viability and public benefits are light years ahead of the zombie project known as Atlantic Yards.
Here's the media coverage of Gehry Bye Bye/Hello Airport Hangar:
Developer Drops Gehry's Design for Brooklyn Arena
Star Architect Out of Nets Arena Project
Starchitect Frank Gehry dumped from Atlantic Yards for cheaper option
NY Daily News
Gehry ousted as Nets stadium designer
Crain's New York Business
Bruce to Gehry: You're fired
The Brooklyn Paper
And a three-fer from the Atlantic Yards Report:
NYT: Gehry, as predicted, is gone from the Brooklyn arena; it will look like Indianapolis or "airplane hangar"
Missing from the arena block: the much-touted Urban Room
The FCR press release refers to Gehry in the past tense, not as "master planner"