Atlantic Yards developers revamp project with new name, park, towers

Developers announced a revamp to the Atlantic Yards project Monday that includes new towers, green space and a new name to mixed reviews from Brooklynites.

Forest City Ratner Companies said it will team up with Chinese-based developer Greenland USA and chose a new architect, COOKFOX, to design and build two new towers at the site, which will now be called Pacific Park. In addition to the residential buildings, one of which will be 100% affordable housing units, the developers announced the creation of an 8-acre park.

“We were looking for Brooklyn sensibility that could combine park space, interesting materials, scale and an appreciation of nature within an urban environment,” MaryAnne Gilmartin, president and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies said in a statement.

Construction on COOKFOX’s 275-unit condo at 550 Vanderbilt Avenue is slated for December followed shortly by work at 535 Carlton Avenue, which will be 100% affordable housing.

SHoP Architects, the firm that designed the Barclays Center, will design 30 Sixth Avenue, which will also be 100% affordable and start construction in June 2015, Ratner said. A spokesman for the developer said that “low income” units will be allocated for people making less than $50,000 annually, “moderate income” would be up to $84,000 and “middle income” would be $120,000 a year.

The first residential tower at 461 Dean is expected to be finished sometime next year, according to the spokesman.

The park, which will be designed in phases, will be bound by Atlantic Avenue, Vanderbilt Avenue, Dean Street and Carlton Avenue. The developers released some renderings of the park and said they would provide further details in the coming months.

Gib Veconi, the treasurer of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, which was part of the negotiations to get affordable housing, said he liked the preliminary designs of the space.

“If you add people and don’t have open space, the quality of life goes down,” he said.

He added that he and other community leaders were pleased that the developer is sticking to its promise to bring 2,250 affordable housing units in 15 buildings to the site by 2025.

“The displacement of long-term residents is so rapid that delaying those affordable housing would have meant those units would have been filled with the children who are being displaced now,” said Veconi, who lives in the neighborhood.

Some other Brooklynites, however, said the new name, park and the construction couldn’t counter what they say was unnecessary gentrification of the area.

Donald O’Finn, one of the co-owners of Freddy’s Bar, which was forced to move from its Prospect Heights location in 2010 and reopen in South Park Slope a year later, said the park is too small to do the community any good.

“It looks like a suburban mall or southern California,” he said of the renderings of the green space.

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