Finally! World’s largest mod building lands in Atlantic Yards

Pre-fab Mod One arrives in Barclays Center shadow

December 12, 2013 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Mod Squad arrived at Atlantic Yards Thursday – and brought a pre-made studio apartment in a box along with them, complete with washer and dryer, wood flooring and paint on the walls.

Construction crews hoisted the pre-fab flat onto the construction site at Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue, in the shadow of Barclays Center, for what will be the world’s tallest modular building.

“This is Mod One,” Brooks McDaniel, project architect of SHoP Architects, told the Brooklyn Eagle as a crane hoisted the 30,000-pound rectangle with a “MADE IN BROOKLYN” sign on it into the air.

“It’s an exciting day after nearly three years of research, development and design,” he said. “It feels great.”

When it’s done, the building, known as B2, will be 322 feet tall. It will be the first housing constructed at Atlantic Yards – where Barclays Center recently completed its first year of operations and was named the Number One concert venue in America.

Though from the outside the new apartment looks like a box, it won’t seem like one to future residents, McDaniel said: “It’s designed to feel like you’re living in any other luxury apartment.”

Fifty percent of the apartments in the 32-story, 363-unit rental building will be earmarked for low- and middle-income households.

A crowd of photographers and folks involved in the project cheered as the mod soared, smooth as silk, to the sky.

“That is awesome,” a man in the crowd said.

Then workers lowered it gently into place next to a brace frame. For a few moments its four corners perched on tiny rods with stacks of small wood blocks beside them, just in case, before the mod was set in place on a plinth that will be the top of the building’s first floor.  

Taek Kim, another architect from SHoP, said he was nervous about the hoisting job.

“We did countless simulations,” he explained, both digitally and with mockups at the Brooklyn Navy Yard,  where union workers manufactured the mods.

There was no need for worry. The maneuver went off without a hitch. So did a second hoist, of a wedge-shaped piece of red and gray aluminum with two windows for the studio apartment.  

So what if it was 27 degrees out, with a biting wind? It was a dry sunny day, which is what mattered. The construction would have started earlier this week but was postponed because of snow and rain.

“You don’t want to walk on the steel – it’s too easy to slip,” said Bob Sanna, Forest City Ratner director of construction and design development.

Opponents of the Atlantic Yards mega-project have criticized the slow pace of residential development at the 22-acre site, where Forest City Ratner plans to build 6,430 housing units.

After three years of research and design, B2 should be ready for occupancy just 12 months from now, Sanna said.

Forest City Ratner hasn’t committed yet to doing modular construction for the next building in the three-building cluster of residential towers planned for the Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue site. Designs will be drawn up for both conventional and modular construction, Sanna said. 

Company Chairman Bruce Ratner showed up to watch the hoist, garbed in a knit Brooklyn Nets cap and a down vest. He’s a minority owner of the Nets basketball team that calls the arena home. Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin was there too for the big moment.

The company posted a videographer on the roof of a neighboring building to record the proceedings for posterity.

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