After the rail yard is completed and operational, work will begin on the third phase of the project – a new structural deck above the reconstructed rail yard that will become the face of the Pacific Park neighborhood, formerly known as the Atlantic Yards development.
“Once Vanderbilt Yard is operational, the structural platform can start going up,” said Yefim Gurevich, project manager for WSP’s buildings-related work on the project, including the platform and its foundation. Design work is already well under way for this phase, and the firm is providing full-service civil, structural and mechanical engineering.
While the specific configuration of the high-rise residential buildings remains to be finalized, the platform and foundation structure is being designed with load parameters in mind that match the developer’s vision for Pacific Park, and provide plenty of options for the new neighborhood.
“We do know that there will be six buildings, and the maximum dimensions have been determined for the buildings, which will range from 16 to 50 floors in height,” Gurevich said. “While there might be some commercial properties on the ground level, these will all be residential buildings.”
Gurevich, who has been involved with the project for more than eight years, said one of the challenges was the limited amount of space available for the foundation.
“Between the tracks and the utilities, we had to be very cautious with how we developed the piles, casings and platforms,” he said. The supporting platform, which transfers the loads, will be made out of structural steel.
While incorporating an urban residential community with a rail yard has been accomplished before – such as with Manhattan’s Hudson Yards project – Gurevich said the Pacific Park project is unlike anything he’s seen before.
“It’s a novel approach for New York City,” he said. “Placing the foundation between the tracks, without knowing the exact shape of the buildings, makes it rather unique.”
Collaboration among the designers, the client, and the LIRR has been essential in the project’s success thus far.
“Considering the scope of this project, and the overlapping of the many different trades, communication and collaboration has been a critical element every step of the way,” he said. “We always consider the concerns of other stakeholders involved with the project, and in the end, that collaborative mindset has made this a successful project so far.”