When Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner put his favorite starchitect Frank Gehry's arena design out to pasture, the story was that a less-expensive Barclays Center design would help the forever-delayed megaproject finally get off the ground during the recession. And indeed, the new SHoP/Ellerbe Becket arena is reportedly $200 million cheaper than Gehry's $1 billion house of hoops. But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal about his Beekman Tower in the Financial District (also designed for Ratner), Gehry rejects the argument that his buildings burn through mountains of cash:
The Atlantic Yards was the same client [Forest City Ratner] and there was a business decision to change and make it a much smaller building. It wasn't like everyone says that my building was more expensive. That wasn't it. My building was within the parameters of their program and not more expensive. I'm very careful about that.
So basically, as Franktastic himself would say, size does matter. Meanwhile, in other Atlantic Yards news, the Post reports that Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will not be taking a free trip to China to take part in the peddling of green cards for Atlantic Yard investment, though he was cleared by a conflict of interests board to do just that. Maybe the presentation team can pull up some Jackie Gleason clips on YouTube to give the Chinese businessmen an authentic Brooklyn character experience in Markowitz's absence.
· Gehry on New Gehry Building [WSJ]
· Markowitz pulls out of controversial China trip to benefit Nets arena [NYP]