Photo Courtesy of Bess Adler/Thornton Tomasetti
Barclays Center: Forest City Ratner Cos. has submitted an application for a labor agreement for the first phase of its Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, which includes Barclays Center.
Photo courtesy of Real Goods Solar inc.
Real Goods: The acquisition provides the Colorado solar energy firm a foothold in the Northeast market.

Unions Agree to 20% Wage Cut on Project

Key unions in New York City, including laborers and structural trades, agreed to a 20% wage cut for work on Gotham West, a residential development on Manhattan's West Side that will consist of four buildings and about 1,240 residential units.

About 500 of the units, located between West 44th and West 45th streets and 10th and 11th avenues, will be deemed affordable housing.

“I'm not surprised by this,” Richard T. Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress, said of the wage cut.

“For residential and commercial projects, which have suffered the greatest declines, these [project labor] agreements are a sign of that weakness, and the unions realize that these projects need steep concessions in order to maintain union labor.”

Following Gotham's lead, developer Forest City Ratner Cos. submitted an application for a labor agreement to build a residential tower, part of the first phase of its mixed-use Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.

The first phase also includes Barclays Center arena, which broke ground in March 2010 and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2012. Five buildings—most of which will be residential with market-rate and affordable housing—and an office building are also included in this phase. The developer is also considering adding a hotel.

When asked for comment, a Forest City representative said it is too premature to say why the company applied for the agreement.

It is not a shock to see unions involved in residential projects accept such a cut, Anderson says. However, it would be surprising to see projects in sectors that are thriving, such as civil works and health care, agree to similar cost reductions, he adds.

Gotham Organization Inc., the building's Manhattan-based developer, did not respond for comment by press time.

New York

DEP Awards $3.8M for Projects Managing Stormwater Runoff

The Dept. of Environmental Protection announced 15 winning projects of its 2011 Green Infrastructure Grant Program and awarded $3.8 million to fund the building of green infrastructure projects—including green roofs, blue roofs, porous concrete and bioswales—designed to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and improve water quality in New York Harbor.

A panel, which included experts from the city's departments of Transportation, Design and Construction, and Parks and Recreation as well as the DEP, the mayor's office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability and the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, selected the 15 from a pool of 52 applicants. Together, the winning projects are expected to manage about 5.7 million gallons of stormwater per year.