Two days after lawsuits were filed and about a week after work stopped on the world's future tallest modular building—the planned 32-story B2 BKLYN at the $4.9-billion Pacific Park Brooklyn development—Forest City Ratner Cos. has sent an offer to Skanska USA Building Inc.—its B2 construction manager and partner in the modular building business that is producing the poster child for high-rise modular construction.
In a Sept. 4 letter to Richard A. Kennedy, co-chief operating officer of Skanska USA Building Inc., Mary Anne Gilmartin, FCRC president and CEO, says FCRC Modular is "prepared today to take over as managing member of the partnership and the factory and assume operating control and responsibility for the factory so we can resume production of the modules needed for the B2 project."

B2—the first residential building at the development formerly known as Atlantic Yards—is stalled at 10 stories. It has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, attributed to factory production problems and more, soon after construction began last year. FCRC has already pushed completion back from the end of 2014 to year-end 2015. That was before the feud between the two buildings-sector giants exploded onto the public stage, late last month.

Skanska says Forest City has refused to address serious commercial and design issues that are not Skanska's responsibility. In its complaint, it estimates the damages to be in excess of $50 million. Forest City says Skanska has mismanaged its obligations and responsibilities and, faced with cost overruns, is trying to renege on its $117-million fixed-price contract.

Gilmartin says, in the Sept. 4 letter, that she expects the courts to resolve the current financial dispute over B2. But she is trying to get the factory in the Brooklyn Navy Yard reopened. Currently, Skanska Modular has prohibited FCRC Modular access to the factory, she says. The two firms are equal partners in FC+S Modular.

Skanska is furious. "By issuing this letter to the press prior to even sending it to its partner, Skanska Modular, Forest City has proven it is more interested in engaging in a propaganda exercise to take the public's eye off the serious consequences of its failures at the B2 project, instead of simply fixing the commercial and design issues that led to the unfortunate need to shut down the project and factory on Aug. 27," says Kennedy in a statement to ENR.

"Skanska remains hopeful commercial and economic sensibilities will prevail and that Forest City will resolve its problems at the B2 project so we can get back to building and get the factory workers back to work," continues Kennedy, "but Skanska simply will not be coerced into surrendering its contractual rights by Forest City's inappropriate tactics."