On Aug. 30, the city’s Department of Buildings imposed a stop-work order on an adjacent parcel after finding that there were no approved plans for the work and there was no permit posted, according to online records.
Forest City had also, according to last year’s schedule, planned to have closed the Carlton Avenue bridge last fall for nine months, but it has yet to do so. Nor has the developer vacated a pair of buildings on the western edge of the site that houses P.C. Richard & Son and Modell’s Sporting Goods, which Forest City was supposed to have demolished a month or two ago.
In April, the parapet of a former bakery collapsed onto the sidewalk while workers were preparing the building for demolition. While no one was injured, cars on the street were damaged and work was temporarily halted. The Department of Buildings said it would subject Forest City to more rigorous scrutiny.
Forest City has even fallen behind a schedule it put out as recently as last April, which anticipated that demolition on 15 buildings it owned would have begun by mid- to late June. Of those named, only six have been leveled, according to Mr. Goldstein, and demolition work has begun on just two others.
“Why they won’t follow their own schedule is a mystery,” said Mr. Goldstein, who is active in both lawsuits and also lives in the footprint. “There may be some buildings they may feel that they want to wait on in case they lose the lawsuits, so they would like to have the buildings standing. Who knows? I would think they would want to bring everything down as fast as they can.”
Mr. Goldstein says that should his side lose the appeals court case, it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and that all in all, the legal battles will tie up the project for years. The group’s war chest, he said is “strong,” although he would not give a precise amount. Develop Don’t Destroy is holding another walk-a-thon next month. While it is not releasing targets, last year’s event raised about $96,000, Mr. Goldstein said.
The delays, while creating a less pleasant place to live, are also giving opponents more time to make their case and develop alternatives, one of which they plan to unveil later this month.
“I think it is good for the opponents to have these delays,” said Ron Shiffman, a former city planning commissioner and a member of Develop Don’t Destroy’s advisory board. “We have time to raise consciousness for people in decision-making positions. It gives us time to work on a proper way of developing the rail yards.
“This is a project that will be there for a century or more. For us to have rushed into that with a plan that was totally inappropriate in terms of scale and architecture would be a serious mistake.”