While everyone is transfixed on SHoP’s dramatic unveiling of its new plan for the Domino Sugar Factory on the Brooklyn waterfront, another SHoP-designed project began construction to the north on the Queens waterfront. The first two towers of the Hunters Point South development, what will be New York City’s largest affordable housing project since the 1970s, broke ground, and the $332-million first phase could accept its first residents as soon as 2014. The first phase includes 925 permanently-affordable housing units, 17,000 square feet of retail space, an already-under-construction 1,100-seat school, and a new five-acre park.
The first 619-unit tower at 1-50 50th Avenue will stand 37-stories tall and the adjacent 306-unit second tower at 1-55 Borden Avenue will be 32-stories tall. Both will feature breathtaking views of the Midtown Manhattan skyline including the United Nations Secretariat and the Chrysler Building. The project, developed by Related Companies with non-profit Phipps Houses, was designed by SHoP Architects with Ismael Leyva Architectsand is aiming for LEED Silver certification. The two towers will have distinct designs. During the initial design process in 2011, SHoP’s Vishaan Chakrabarti told AN, “We asked, should they be twins, sisters, cousins, friends or strangers? And I think we ended up with friends.”
“After years of planning and partnership, we’re breaking ground on the first large-scale middle-class development to be built in our city in more than three and a half decades,” said Mayor Bloomberg in a statement. “In just a few years, Hunter’s Point South will have all the makings of a great community – affordable homes, new transportation links, beautiful parks with sweeping views, and a brand-new school.”
To mitigate potential flood damage from storm surges in the future, the project’s mechanical systems are elevated on upper floors with emergency generators on the roof. A concrete base serving as a flood wall line’s the towers frontage facing the flood plain and entrances are designed so flood gates can be attached if necessary.
Residents are expected to move in as early as 2014, with the entire first phase complete by 2015. Bloomberg also announced at the ceremony that the RFP for the second phase of Hunters Point South will be issued next month, calling for another 1,000 residential units and 28,000 square feet of community and retail space. When complete, the entire Hunters Point South development will house 5,000 new housing units on the 30-acre site.