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Major snag in modular technology causes changes in plans for arena towers

SHoP Architects

The New York Times reports that the breakthrough modular technology planned for three towers around Barclays Center has achieved neither the savings in time or money Forest City Ratner had anticipated and at least for now, only the first tower will be built using the prefabricated units. The other two will be finished using conventional steel frameworks. Forest City hopes to return to modular construction on another tower further east on Dean Street.

The Times Charles V. Bagli says Bruce Ratner's new Chinese partners want the buildings to rise quickly and are not willing to wait for kinks to be worked out with the modular technology. Prefabricated units are put together at a Brooklyn Navy Yard factory, then trucked to Flatbush and Dean Street, at the southeast corner of Barclays Center. The 34-story tower, known as B2, is behind schedule and over budget but will continue to use modular technology. While technological issues related to construction have been solved, Forest City claims, organizing the new factory, the first of its kind and size in the US, has been "frustrating."

So now, B3, the 22-story tower at the far eastern edge of the arena, to be build above the Dean Street entrance, and B4, the 52-story tower at Atlantic and Sixth on the northeast edge, will be built conventionally. The next tower, presumably B5, will go up further east along Dean where the arena's temporary parking lot is now. It may or may not be built using modular technology. No word yet on how long all this will take.

Greenland, the Chinese government-owned entity that bought 70 percent of the overall project for $200 million last year, has said it hopes to build eight towers in eight years. The original plan for the 22-acre project called for the arena and 16 towers including a 62-story office building above the entrance plaza in front of Barclays Center.

As part of his original deal to buy stakes in the Nets and Barclays, Mikhail Prokhorov was also given an option to buy up to 20 percent of the project, an option he abandoned last year.