MaryAnne Gilmartin touts housing as signature innovation of Atlantic Yards

May 02, 2013 04:30PM

Forest City Ratner’s soon-to-be CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin said that the Atlantic Yards’ innovative approach to housing – in particular affordable housing — would define the project in the years to come, the New York Observer reported.

Speaking at a Center for Urban Real Estate dinner at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library on Wednesday night, Gilmartin said that although the positive feedback on the Barclays Center had been gratifying, “it is the housing component that will truly revolutionize the project.” 

Gilmartin praised the decision to go with modular housing, which she said was based on two factors: innovation, and Forest City Ratner’s commitment to offering affordable housing. The first 32-story tower at the site will be the world’s tallest pre-fab building.

Gilmartin also asked the audience – which included SL Green’s Marc Holliday, CBRE’s Mary Ann Tighe and Two Trees Management’s Jed Walentas – to reflect upon two of the characters that have shaped New York City’s landscape, namely Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs. She expressed her admiration for Jacobs’ commitment to mixed-use projects.

“It may surprise some given my developer DNA, that I identify more with Jane Jacobs than Robert Moses,” Gilmartin — who was recently profiled by The Real Deal  — said.

Towards the end of the speech, in a line that got a warm reception from the audience, Gilmartin used herself as an example of the drawing power of Brooklyn, saying that she would soon be moving from Westchester to a $3.85 million townhouse in Park Slope. “I’m moving with my husband, my three children, three dogs, a bird and a fish.” [NYO]Hiten Samtani