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Touring the World’s Tallest Modular Building at 461 Dean Street in Pacific Park

461 Dean Street. all photos by Max Touhey461 Dean Street. all photos by Max Touhey

After four years of delayed construction, financial missteps, and lawsuits, Forest City Ratner and Greenland U.S.A. are finally welcoming tenants into 461 Dean Street, currently the tallest high-rise in the world constructed with modular units. The 32-story tower on the edge of Prospect Heights and Park Slope offers sweeping views of brownstone Brooklyn, but its lengthy construction saga highlights the issues developers face when they build with modular construction in New York City.

Looking across Flatbush at 461 Dean, formerly known as B2.

Looking across Flatbush at 461 Dean, formerly known as B2.

The 363-unit building sits at the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue, next to Barclays Center and at the western edge of Forest City Ratner’s 22-acre Pacific Park megaproject. SHoP Architects, who also designed the arena, are responsible for the look of 461 Dean.

461 Dean Street

The view along Dean Street.

Forest City originally teamed up with construction giant Skanska to build the Dean Street tower. Skanska brought on dozens of skilled workers to assemble modular apartments in a factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which I toured three years ago. But in 2014, construction had slowed to a crawl, and the building had only risen a few stories. The companies’ partnership ultimately dissolved in a flurry of dueling lawsuits. FCRC charged that Skanska’s poor construction management caused delays and massive cost over-runs. Then the contractor filed a counter-suit, claiming that Forest City failed to deal with design flaws that caused considerable slow-downs in production of the modular units. The legal battle is ongoing. And last month, Forest City sold the mod factory to Full Stack Modular.

SHoP principal Chris Sharples and Forest City Ratner vice president Adam Greene took journalists on a tour of the development Tuesday afternoon. We saw a large lounge with a kitchen, but not the rest of the amenities, which include a fitness center, yoga and dance studio, game room, and children’s playroom.

Living room for a one-bedroom at 461 Dean.

Living room for a one-bedroom at 461 Dean.

The bedroom in a one-bedroom.

The bedroom in a one-bedroom.

The first of three model units on the tour was a 690-square-foot one-bedroom on the 20th floor, which had a slightly cramped layout but offered breathtaking views of Flatbush Avenue and Prospect Heights. A broker from Douglas Elliman, which is handling the building’s leasing, said the apartment would rent for about $3,700.

The 700-square-foot corner studio at 461 Dean.

The 700-square-foot corner studio at 461 Dean.

A corner of the studio living room.

A corner of the studio living room.

Next up was a 700-square-foot triangular studio that curved around the edge of the building. The two walls of windows looked down Flatbush Avenue and gave us a unique view of the green roof covering the top of Barclays Center. The unusual apartment is expected to rent for at least $3,200.

Corner studio kitchen.

Corner studio kitchen.

Finally, there was a little 450-square-foot studio, which is expected to go for $2,500.

The living area in the 450-square-foot studio.

The living area in the 450-square-foot studio.

Half the apartments in the tower rented for below-market rates through a city-run lottery. By the time the lottery closed this summer, 84,000 people had applied for the 181 affordable units.

461 Dean glimpsed through curved roof opening of the Barclays Center.

461 Dean glimpsed through curved roof opening of the Barclays Center.

Thirty percent of those units went to “middle-income” families, or folks who earn between 80 and 120 percent of the Area Median Income. For a family of three, that means a household earning between $78,336 and $108,720 annually. The remaining 20 percent of affordable units went to households earning 50 percent of the Area Median Income or less, which is roughly $40,800 for a family of three. Rents for affordable studios ranged from $559 to $1,996, for one-bedrooms from $600 to $2,504, and for two-bedrooms from $727 to $3,012.

Rents for affordable units at 461 Dean Street. chart via Forest City Ratner

Rents for affordable units at 461 Dean Street. chart via Forest City Ratner

Market-rate rents in the tower start at $2,450 for studios, $3,125 for one-bedrooms, and $4,750 for two-bedrooms.

Night-time view of the Barclays Center and 461 Dean Street.

Night-time view of the Barclays Center and 461 Dean Street.

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10 Comments on "Touring the World’s Tallest Modular Building at 461 Dean Street in Pacific Park"

  1. I thought the lower costs attributed to modular construction would “trickle down” to lower costs, i.e. rent or sale price. Surprise!

  2. Interesting touring round the building, ended with an impressive after rough on the problems.

  3. I remember reading another article about what went wrong with these things. Apparently it’s only cheap if you can build them nearby where it’s being assembled but the cost of doing that in NYC is outrageous. Kinda sucks because modular stuff would be great for affordable housing.

  4. Michael Dawkins | November 18, 2016 at 10:44 am |

    Who is going to pay all that money for those tiny apartments?!

  5. Modular construction is affordable and fast to build only if its NOT in the USA. Go figure.

  6. Bob the Builder | November 27, 2016 at 1:19 pm |

    The lower cost of modular construction only means the developer has a greater ROI. It is not in their interest to lower the rent when the price per sqf in Brooklyn is booming.

  7. the price for some of these apartments is so redicuious, and its limited the amount of people that can move in a 1,2,3 bedroom,i dont think the price is about the apartment, you paying for the quality of the building its like upscale restaurant if you know what i mean….

  8. The corner studio is amazing!

Comments are closed.