Housing construction stalls at Barclays Center amid financial, timetable disputes

NYC Affordable Housing
Seen here in May, construction has since stalled. (AP)
Seen here in May, construction has since stalled. (AP)
Seen here in May, construction has since stalled. (AP)

Barclays Center was the crown jewel plopped in the center of downtown Brooklyn that brought the Nets to the borough for the 2012-13 basketball season, but the arena was also built as a gateway, with the promise of affordable, modular housing soon to follow. Modular housing meant efficiency and fiscal responsibility, and soon after the arena opened, construction began on its southwest corner, on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street.

Now, the New York Times reports that construction on the buildings has halted entirely, due to slow development, rising costs, and disputes over who’s footing the bill:

Skanska, the operating partner for a joint venture with Forest City at the factory, had a $117 million contract to supply 930 modules for the tower, she said. Skanska had also signed a contract with a separate entity, which includes Forest City, to erect the tower.

But a variety of problems resulted in the cost overruns, with the two sides arguing over who should pay.

“They owe us the building, based on a fixed price,” Ms. Gilmartin said. “They’re responsible for overruns.”

But Richard A. Kennedy, co-chief operating officer of Skanska USA, was emphatic that, contrary to Forest City’s claims, it had not “cracked the code.” Its design, he said, was flawed.

“It just doesn’t work the way it was sold to work,” he said. “We’ve had real challenges with it that’ve delayed the project and led to cost increases. We finally came to the decision to stop work on the project until our significant commercial issues are resolved.”

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Forest City, Mr. Kennedy said, had ignored its “design responsibility” under the contracts.

“It was represented to be a complete and buildable modular design,” he said. “That simply was not the case and that’s what we’ve been struggling with.”

The buildings were slated to be finished in 2015, which was a date that had already followed numerous delays. As of now, Barclays Center is the only completed building from the since-renamed Pacific Park Project.

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