Expect Barclays Center to be construction site ... forever

SHoP Architects

With emerging plans for a green roof on the arena and three apartment buildings at its eastern edge, Barclays Center is likely to be a construction site for years, certainly through next February's All-Star Game. Not only will Bruce Ratner and his new Chinese partner, Greenland, be active, but there will be construction just off-site as well.

There's already a construction crane looming over the southeast corner of the arena where B2, the must ballyhooed modular apartment building, has been slowly rising. The 33-floor tower, designed by arena architects SHoP, was supposed to be finished this year, but delays at the modular unit factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yards have caused a year's postponement of planned completion.  Erection of 6th, 7th and 8th floor modules is underway this week.

Sometime soon, three new cranes will rise over the arena to begin the process of installing a green roof on the arena, which now boasts a Barclays logo for all the passengers on flights into LaGuardia to see.  The greening of the roof will use trays of sedum laid on a new steel framework between four feet to 10 feet above the existing roof and will take between 10 months and a year to complete ... once underway. The roof will ultimately look similar to the sedum roof at the Barclays Center subway entrance in front of the Arena.

The roof will have sound-absorption qualities. Local residents have complained that sound, particularly bass associated with big concerts, has been "leaking" into their neighborhood.  The original Frank Gehry plan for the arena included open space on the roof, accessible to the public.

Later this year, Forest City Ratner has said it will start work on three other apartment towers, with more 900 apartments. Each of those towers will be 22 or more floors, with one reaching 52 stories. The three new buildings will not employ modular construction, but be built conventionally to accelerate construction. Those buildings are likely to take two or more years --and a number of other cranes-- to complete.

Beyond the towers, there will be construction just east of the arena on the new LIRR train yard and across Dean Street at the rear of the arena, the old Bergen Tile building has been torn down since the end of the season to be replaced by a mid-rise apartment tower not associated with Ratner's company or his plan for Atlantic Yards.

Local residents and politicians have complained at the slow pace of construction but Ratner says with the infusion of Greenland's cash, things should move quickly.  Ten years after the original --and long discarded-- Gehry plan for the 22-acre site, only the arena and subway entrance have been completed.

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