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Pacific Park’s Modular Building Is Completed And Now Leasing Apartments

After many delays, country’s largest modular construction at 461 Dean Street is finally accepting tenants.

By Jeff Vasishta November 16, 2016
Photo courtesy of Max Touhey/NY Curbed

As a kid, have you ever dreamed of living in a Lego castle? If yes, then the new Pacific Park development project at 461 Dean street next to the Barclay Center in Brooklyn has got you covered. Well, almost.

This property is the largest one in the country to be constructed modularly. Think Lego blocks: The rooms—930 in total—were built in a factory and shipped to the construction site on the corner of Dean and Flatbush Avenue, stacked and then bolted into place to create 363 rental apartments. Block party, anyone?

Forest City Ratner, the developer behind 461 Dean Street, has just started leasing the 31 story building.

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Modular housing is often favored in residential applications because it usually allows developers a faster, more streamlined construction process without having to deal with the vagaries of the weather and assembling materials on site. However, 461 Dean had been in the works since 2012, delayed through lawsuits and financial issues. The crash of 2008 also slowed the flow. It was only in 2014, after an infusion of cash from China-based Greenland Group, that the timeline was able to be accelerated.

“It was a long process because no one had taken the time to build a modular building this big,” Adam Greene of Forest City Ratner told AM New York. The property comprises 149 studios, 166 one-bedroom and 48 two-bedroom units. Half of those will be set aside for affordable rates, and 84,000 applications have already been received. The first tenants are expected to move in at the end of the month.

“To produce the amount of quality [affordable] housing in this city, we have to look at other modes of construction,” founding principal of SHoP Architects Chris Sharples told NY Curbed. “We have to expand the science of construction so it’s not limited to a certain building typology. That’s going to take some years, but I think Dean Street really started the conversation.”

There is a cluster of buildings nearing completion in the Pacific Park plan. One of the most discussed in 550 Vanderbilt, a 278 condo complex for sale which is almost sold out and which backs onto Pacific Park, formerly known as Atlantic Yards. The highest priced penthouse in the building is on the market for just shy $7 million. There are two other rentals—535 Carlton Ave and 38 Sixth Ave—both of which will offer 100 percent affordable units and will open in the next nine months. In total, the Pacific Park construction will offer 879 apartments. This obviously doesn’t include the 324 rental units available next door to Pacific Park (across Atlantic Ave) at the 32 story 300 Ashland Place, part of the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) South development.

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A decade ago, when city and state approval was first granted for the then named Atlantic Yards, it was on the back of furious protests. Brooklynites were concerned about eminent domain and ceding brownstone Brooklyn to a hulking sports and entertainment arena and high rise towers.

“We believe we’re building a neighborhood,” MaryAnne Gilmartin, the president and CEO of Forest City Ratner told NY Curbed. “We are knitting together some of the most incredible neighborhoods in the country, but we’re also building a new neighborhood. In many ways [the site is] a great Rubik’s cube,” said Gilmartin. “We knew the shapes of the various buildings because the master plan helped us with that, and we knew how many affordable [apartments] we were committed to building. [But] I don’t think we ever had a playbook that was going to prescribe what got built where.”

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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