Design Unveiled for Tower at Atlantic Yards
The developer Bruce C. Ratner unveiled the design Thursday for what would be the world’s tallest prefabricated steel structure, a 32-story residential building in Brooklyn at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street in the $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project.
The 350-unit building would use varying rectangular shapes, colors and glass to break up the mass of the structure, which would sit snugly up against the Barclays Center, the arena for the Nets that is to open in September. Mr. Ratner, chief executive of Forest City Ratner, said that prefabrication, or modular construction, could save construction time and cut costs by as much as 25 percent. Fourteen other residential buildings would be built at Atlantic Yards using the approach. The second tower would be even taller, 50 stories.
Forest City Ratner is also negotiating a labor agreement with construction unions, which have supported Atlantic Yards but could end up with fewer jobs and lower wages for some trades if modular construction is used.
Mr. Ratner said Thursday that he hoped to begin construction early in 2012. But the start date has been a moving target for more than a year. He may ultimately decide to build the first tower conventionally. But Mr. Ratner’s company has now invested two years in studying modular construction, a technology that has existed for decades but is untested at this height. The world’s tallest modular building is a 25-story dormitory in Wolverhampton, England, that was built in 2010 in less than 12 months.