Plans are underway for the 750,000-square-foot Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx to become the world’s largest ice-skating complex, according to its developers. Crain’s New York reported that the development duo of Kevin Parker, former Deutsche Bank executive, and Mark Messier, former center for the New York Rangers, have secured financing for phase one of their $350 million project, which they plan to begin constructing mid-next year. Parker said that Citibank has promised his group, Kingsbridge National Ice Center, a significant loan for construction to be paired with the $35 million already raised through private investment. “Citibank is committed to doing the first phase of the project,” he told Crain’s. “And they’ve indicated a strong desire to finance the second phase. But we’re going one step at a time.” If approved by New York City officials, the first phase of construction would include the build-out of the 5-acre site into nine rinks, athletic facilities, and a 5,000-seat stadium. Construction for phase one would likely total $170 million in overall costs and Parker hopes to raise money for the remainder of the project in order to complete it by 2022. The Kingsbridge National Ice Center has been a six-year dream in the making for Parker and Messier. The city currently owns the armory and hasn’t given the pair a lease, telling the duo that the city would wait until further financing was secured. The new fundraising news presumably means that the city will be ready to greenlight the project. Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to give the project a $138 million loan to help it find long-term financing after phase one is done. Parker and Messier’s idea for an ice facility beat out other proposals that would have transformed the century-old red brick building into either a film and television complex, a mixed sports center, or a chess center. A highly-contested site, it was designated a New York City landmark in 1974 and was heralded as a leading example of military architecture. The armory originally housed the National Guard and features an 800-seat auditorium and a 180,000-square-foot drill hall. The nine-story structure includes an iconic, curved, sloping metal roof that can be seen from the Major Deegan Expressway and from the surrounding neighborhood near Fordham University.
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BIG Bronx Police Station
BIG’s Bronx police station breaks ground as crime rate spikes in area
The New York City Mayor’s Office canceled the scheduled public groundbreaking of the already-in-construction 40th Precinct Station and instead held a press conference addressing the recent spike in crime in the Bronx and how the new building might help create a more secure and equitable borough. “While crime is at a record low in New York City, there is still more work to do to ensure that every New Yorker feels safe in their neighborhood,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “This new precinct will strengthen the bond between community and police, which will ultimately help make the South Bronx and our City safer.” According to newly released crime statistics from the New York Police Department (NYPD), murders have nearly doubled in the borough in the first half of 2018. Already 51 people have been killed compared to 26 reported homicides in the first half of 2017. Eight of the recent homicides occurred in the 40th Precinct, whereas two happened in the district in 2017. Officials hope the new facility, which will serve the South Bronx neighborhoods of Mott Haven, Port Morris, and Melrose, will encourage local residents and the police to work together to bring down such crime in the community. The new Bjarke Ingels Group-designed station will sit at the corner of St. Ann’s Avenue at 547 East 148th Street, just two blocks from one of the most heavily foot-trafficked sites in the city. It will replace the precinct’s current home, a Renaissance Revival structure built in 1922, and move the squad closer to the center of activity in the South Bronx. During this morning’s press hearing, City Council member Rafael Salamanca Jr. noted that the location of the new facility will enhance police presence and oversight near The Hub, the aforementioned busy intersection stocked with retail, restaurants, and mass transit. “I’m thrilled that the new 40th Precinct will be housed in my district,” he said, “and that it will be a much-needed resource near The Hub, which is ground zero for the opioid crisis happening in our city.” The 42,000-square-foot station will feature three levels of space dedicated to officer training, physical fitness, storage, maintenance of gear and vehicles, and the first-ever community events space built in an NYPD facility. This addition to the structure is expected to enhance transparency and communication between the police and the local residents. “Our message to New York going forward is that this is your station house,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. “We were working in a century-old building that was designed for century-old policing methods. Now we're changing that with a modern facility made for modern, neighborhood policing. Everyone should take pride in not only the jobs they do but where they do them.” Initial plans to design the new building began 10 years ago when the city first tapped Alexander Gorlin Architects to envision the station. After BIG took over the project through the New York Department of Design and Construction's Design Excellence Program, plans to build were finally filed in 2017 to the buildings department. Partial approval was given as of May 1 this year and construction began a few weeks ago, according to the DDC. The $68 million station is expected to be complete in spring 2021.
After Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration announced that it would be replacing the notorious Rikers Island jail with four smaller sites spread across the city, the city pledged that it would move swiftly to begin the public review process before the end of the year. Now, the rush to actually secure the listed sites has hit a snag as residents and politicians in the Bronx are pushing back against the construction of a jail there. The move to close Rikers and spread inmates out across the city’s boroughs can only be accomplished by cutting the 9,000-inmate population in half, a target the administration is aiming for through bail and sentencing reform. Perkins Eastman, working with 17 subcontractors, has been tapped to master plan and maximize density at each of the new jails. By spreading the remaining 5,000 inmates out to local jails, the city wants to cut down on administrative costs and centralize their facilities. But as Crain’s reports, the proposal to build (or reactivating) new jails in dense neighborhoods isn’t going over well. In the Bronx, the city is angling to build a 25-story facility directly next to the Bronx Hall of Justice, which would put the prospective jail within walking distance of the B, D and 4 subway lines, and the Melrose Metro-North train station. As Crain’s notes, while the location makes sense for lawyers and those awaiting trial along with their visiting families, the political interests at play could derail building on that plot. One part of the 100,000-square-foot site is owned by the city, while the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York owns the other two plots. As the feud between Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo continues, it has become increasingly likely that the state government would initiate the required land transfer. City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson has also objected to building the jail in her district since the Hall of Justice is directly across the street from two public schools. In a bid to speed up the process, all four sites will move through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) together as one project. As the environmental review could take up to four months alone, the city would need to move fast to secure all of their desired sites before the end of the year. If the Hall of Justice doesn’t pan out, the city may fall back on the more politically expedient site it had originally selected; an NYPD-owned tow pound at 320 Concord Avenue.
Rafael Viñoly Architects is set to design New York City's first soccer stadium. Related is spearheading the 26,000-seat Bronx project, which will be the future home of the New York City Football Club. Similar to Hudson Yards, Related's mega-development on Manhattan's Far West Side, the stadium will be constructed over rail yards by the Harlem River in the South Bronx. While a deal for the site hasn't been finalized, YIMBY got its hands on the preliminary renderings for the RFP, which Related submitted with Somerset Partners. Somerset Partners is working on a major project on an adjacent lot, a development with nearly 1,300 units of market-rate housing along 1,200 feet of the river. Given soccer's popularity in the five boroughs, it's surprising that the Bronx stadium will be the city's first. The renderings right now make the toilet seat–shaped arena look more like a massing diagram than anything, but the design is sure to evolve if the city accepts the developers' proposal. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) reached out to Viñoly's firm and Related for comment, and both declined to share any more details on the project. The stadium will be joined by affordable housing in a project the developers are calling Harlem River Yards. The New York City Football Club's new home and the 550 units of housing will be joined by a medical facility, retail, and an 85,000-square-foot park. Related and Somerset would lease the 12.8 acre property for $500,000 annually for 99 years, and invest $125 million total in sitework and a planned waterfront park. Harlem River Yards is expected to cost $700 million in total, and it's slated for completion by 2022.
City Council approves major Bronx rezoning
The New York City Council has approved a major rezoning of the Bronx’s Jerome Avenue, a vital thoroughfare in the East Bronx that’s lined with auto body shops and crowned by the elevated 4 and 5 trains. The rezoning has been in the works since 2016 and is the first in the Bronx under Mayor Bill de Blasio. The 92-block-long rezoning of the North-South street is meant to encourage the construction of up to 4,600 new housing units in the area, 1,150 of which will fall under the city’s affordable housing programs. The city will subsidize new construction, because it says rents in the area are too low to lure market-rate developments. The rezoning unanimously passed votes by both the City Planning Commission in January and the City Council’s Land Use and Zoning and Franchises Subcommittees in March, and was again unanimously approved by the City Council yesterday. The basic outline of the rezoning follows that of East Harlem, which passed in December of last year; the city had initially wanted to rezone the major commercial spine of the Bronx to allow for the densest development possible under the zoning code (R7, R8, R9). Opponents who felt that the rezoning would displace local businesses and drive up rent costs throughout the area were opposed, as was Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who negotiated with the de Blasio administration to preserve more than 2,000 units of affordable housing. As part of the new conditions of the final deal, the city will include $189 million for improving the area’s parks and streetscapes, including pedestrian safety upgrades and lighting, cameras and crosswalks under the elevated subway tracks. The construction of two 458-seat elementary schools are also part of the package, as is an anti-harassment bill–to prevent landlords from pushing out tenants–and a $1.5 million grant for retraining and relocating displaced businesses. The Bronx rezoning, the fifth of 15 planned neighborhood rezonings under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, follows those in East New York, Far Rockaway, Midtown East, and East Harlem.
This week the New York City Council's land use committee okayed the redevelopment of Spofford Juvenile Detention Center, a vacant former jail complex in the South Bronx's Hunts Point neighborhood. The committee's approval marks one of the final hurdles in a long-sought transformation of the site into a mini-village of affordable housing, stores, restaurants, and plenty of outdoor space. The development, officially known as The Peninsula, is being designed by New York's WXY and Body Lawson Associates. The city-led project will feature 740 units of 100 percent affordable housing surrounded by 52,000 square feet of open space, around 18,000 square feet of health and wellness services, ground floor retail, 48,000 square feet of space for co-working spaces and a small business incubator, and almost 50,000 square feet set aside for light industrial uses. The $300 million project was first revealed in late 2016, and since then, it's acquired a fresh set of renderings, some of which are pictured here. It will be built in four stages: Phase 1A, YIMBY reported, will break ground this spring, and is scheduled for completion by 2019. Phase IB will be complete by the first quarter of 2021, while phases II and III will be done by 2022 and 2024, respectively. Later this month, the full City Council will vote on the project.
Today the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) unveiled preliminary designs for a new YMCA in Edenwald, a north Bronx neighborhood that borders Westchester County. The 50,000-square-foot community and recreation facility will be designed by local firm Marvel Architects. The city selected the YMCA to develop and run the facility back in August 2016. In addition to the all-ages programming the Y is known for, the building will feature two pools, a gym, and a full-size basketball court. It will be located on the eastern side of what's known as the Edenwald site (1250 East 229th Street), a property that's owned by the city's child welfare agency and includes the Christopher School, a residential institution for students with developmental disabilities. “For more than 40 years, we’ve been trying to establish a recreational center of this magnitude. Our district is one of the few districts without one," said City Council Member Andy King, in a prepared statement. "I am grateful that a brand-new YMCA is coming to our community. It will serve thousands of residents in the 12th Council District as well as create jobs and eventually bring much needed activity and meeting space in our community.” The preliminary design of the $58 million project is subject to the Public Design Commission's approval. Construction is expected to begin this fall, and the project should be completed by 2020. Before shovels can hit the ground, however, the planned YMCA has to go through Uniform Land-Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the city's public review process.
Subterranean Homesick Alien
Gordon Matta-Clark’s legacy comes home to roost in the Bronx
Disclaimer: AN is the media partner for Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect is sprawling, playfully curated, free to enter, and well suited for display in the borough that inspired so much of the artist’s work. Showcasing over one hundred of Matta-Clark’s pieces, the exhibition features films, prints, sculptures, and a series of interactive dialogues. Matta-Clark’s art, centered on a ravaged New York City in the 1970s, gains power when viewed in the proper historical context. As abandoned properties were torn down across the Bronx and crime rates soared, residents felt disempowered; Jonathan Mahler famously wrote that the city was in the middle of "fiscal and spiritual crisis." Trained as an architect, Matta-Clark lashed out at gentrification, economic stratification, and the physical divisions caused by capitalism in the ways that he knew best. A founding member of Anarchitecture, a group that criticized the excesses of architecture, Matta-Clark’s work frequently critiqued the historical destruction caused by modernist architecture as an outgrowth of capitalism. The show’s organizers are no strangers to the material. Antonio Sergio Bessa, writer, poet, curator, and the Bronx Museum’s director of curatorial and educational programs, partnered with Jessamyn Fiore, the co-director of the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark and frequent exhibitor of his work, for Anarchitect. Anarchitect may be a linear show, but that only enhances the experience. Each room progressively builds upon the last, and the importance of Matta-Clark’s reverence for cuts, holes, and site-specific installations and his focus on exposing the hidden reveals itself over time. Following a gradual introduction to the artist’s fascination with negative space, spontaneity, and the emergence of chaos from ordered systems, the show’s layout pushes viewers along an entwined timeline of Matta-Clark’s work and the evolution of his political views. Perhaps the best primer on Matta-Clark’s worldview is the film that visitors must pass through before reaching the main gallery. Substrait, a 1976 consolidation of shorter works, follows the artist and collaborators as they spelunk below the Croton Aqueduct, Grand Central Terminal, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and other New York landmarks. Despite the crushing darkness and massive, alien scale of the infrastructure surrounding them, the film emphasizes the essential nature of these spaces. New York, so frequently thought of as a “vertical” city, relies on the horizontal voids below; one guest describes them as the hot arteries of the city, delivering life. Without the foundations, steam systems, and tunnels that deliver clean water, upward expansion would be impossible, much in the same way that the rich rely on the working class “beneath” them. Inside the main gallery space, Bronx Floors sees Matta-Clark’s usage of geometric holes cut in the floors or walls of condemned Bronx buildings to examine the building from angles unintended by their designers. In altering the “ideal” form of the building, Matta-Clark attempted to show Bronx residents that they could reclaim some form of control over the built environment, even as the city was indifferently tearing it down around them. The contrast of horizontal and vertical is repeated here, as holes intersect with “established” doorways and windows, giving viewers the impression of seeing from a mystical, impossible viewpoint. Wrapping the edges of the exhibit are rarely seen black-and-white prints of the artist’s graffiti photography, many of which he colored by hand after developing. The placement is a neat trick, and creates an interior-exterior contrast that enhances the message; the graffiti, like the voids they surround, were used to reclaim slivers of a city that seemed actively hostile to its poorest residents. The most monumental of Matta-Clark’s work is saved for last, as the final room contains photos, diagrams and large-scale projections of both Conical Intersect and Day’s End, presented back to back with emphasis on the connection between both projects. Conical Intersect, one of Matta-Clark’s most famous works, saw Anarchitecture carving a conical hole through a pair of abandoned 17th-century buildings in Paris, with the rising Centre Georges Pompidou as a backdrop. Through stitched-together panoramic photos, viewers are able to understand both the massive scale of the carvings, as well as the specifically constructed views they afforded. This protest against historical destruction in light of France’s drive for “urban renewal” drew obvious parallels with development in New York. Realized the same year as Conical Intersect (and part of the reason Matta-Clark fled to France in the first place) and placed next to it, Day’s End saw the artist cutting massive holes in an abandoned warehouse on the Hudson pier. Envisioned as a “sun-and-water temple,” Matta-Clark’s attempt at reclaiming an unused plot of land as a public park was adaptive reuse before the term went mainstream, guerrilla urbanism done literally under threat of arrest, meant to expose the hypocrisy of keeping the waterfront inaccessible to the public. Now, over 40 years later, the Whitney Museum is resurrecting an ethereal version of the project to float over the Hudson River. At the end of Anarchitect, one faces a troubling truth. Although the Bronx’s fortunes have improved since the 1970s, artists and politicians are still debating how to address the same issues of inequality and urban policy failures that Matta-Clark sought to highlight. As New York enacts urban renewal programs in an effort to curb an affordable housing crisis, and homelessness rises to historic levels, Anarchitect’s look back at the city’s troubled past is startlingly relevant. Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect The Bronx Museum of the Arts 1040 Grand Concourse Through April 8, 2018
This week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the location of New York City's newest animal shelter. The 47,000-square-foot Bronx home for rescued, missing, and abandoned creatures will be designed by global firm Mott MacDonald.Last year, city shelters placed 93 percent of its dogs and cats with pet parents through public adoption or through the city's adoption partner program. The shelter system, which contracts with nonprofit Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) to provide services, takes in an average of 30,000 animals across in all five boroughs annually. With space for 70 dogs, 140 cats, 30 rabbits, and 20 other animals, plus ACC offices, this will be the Bronx's first full-service shelter. "We are a completely different organization than we were even five years ago. We have become the go-to resource for NYC animal related issues—from pet adoption to rescue to help with keeping pets and families together," said ACC President and CEO Risa Weinstock, in a prepared statement. "We are excited to bring that level of service to the Bronx, with the addition of a new facility." The East Bronx facility, pictured above, will cost $60 million to build. The city is also renovating an existing shelter in East New York, Brooklyn, to meet demand for animal care services. Pending a successful Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the Bronx building is slated to open in 2024, while renovations on the Brooklyn building will be complete in 2022.
This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. Today, Archtober went on a hard hat tour of Bronx River House designed by Kiss + Cathcart with landscape design by Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners. Situated on the Bronx River, access to the site is currently from a service road; when the project is completed, it will open into Starlight Park on the Bronx River Greenway. Though the project has been in the works for over ten years, it is expected to officially open in January 2018, with a full program activating the site sometime after that. The Bronx River House is the result of a public-private partnership between the Bronx River Alliance and numerous government agencies, primarily the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Since 2001, the Bronx River Alliance has been bringing attention to the recreational possibilities of the Bronx River and working to make the Bronx River Greenway a reality through educational and recreational programs. When Bronx River House opens, it will serve as the headquarters for the offices of the Bronx River Alliance, as well as a community space for locals and park visitors. The Bronx River House is a single-story structure, approximately 7,000 square feet in area, that will contain multiple programs. Surrounding the main structure, a metal mesh screen wall will serve as a security measure and support greenery. Within the building, the Alliance will have space for around 25 desks in addition to a boathouse, which has room for 20 or more canoes. These are used for river restoration, clean-up, and recreational tours. Public spaces will include a multipurpose room and a classroom that will face onto a public plaza that directly connects to Starlight Park. Our tour was led by Gregory Kiss of Kiss + Cathcart, who highlighted the design decisions they made to integrate the building into its setting. Less visible decisions include rainwater collection through the structure’s roof and plazas, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and solar energy panels that will allow the building to run on nearly 100% solar energy on a net basis. Perhaps most exciting are the plans to integrate plants and other greenery into the design of the building. The metal screen surrounding the building will be planted with an array of vines that will provide shade in the summer and allow light through in the winter. Kiss explained that the hope is that the main building will eventually be covered in moss. Because the cultivation of moss on vertical surfaces is still experimental, they will start with a 300-square-foot area. A drip irrigation system using collected rainwater will be added to the shingles on the façade to support the moss. Kiss stated that his intention with the vines and moss is to create a forest-like micro-climate that further integrates the building into the surrounding park. We definitely look forward to visiting again when the building opens to the public. Claudia Ibaven of the Bronx River Alliance, who joined us on our tour, reminded us to keep an eye on the Alliance’s website for announcements on when that will be. Join us tomorrow at ISSUE Project Room. By Berit Hoff
This Wednesday, an affordable housing development in the the Bronx designed by COOKFOX Architects will hold its long-anticipated ribbon-cutting. The developments are dubbed Park House and Webster Residence, the former house containing 248 units and opening this week, the latter containing an additional 170 units and opening in 2018. Both are intended for low-income and formerly homeless households. The complex was topped off in May of last year. The complex has been built on what was formerly a vacant industrial plot. Its facade is set in a combination of brick tones, stratified and layered to produce a "biomimetic surface reminiscent of ocean sand or tree bark patterns," as the firm writes. The 12-story buildings also incorporate sustainable design techniques, utilizing green roofs, natural light, recessed green spaces, and a central garden and courtyard shared by tenants. As the firm's founding principal told AN last year, the materials and layout of the complex are meant to instill “a sense of permanence, a sense of belonging to the streetscape” – a motivation which seems especially apt when designing for the recently homeless. The project was completed through a partnership between COOKFOX Architects and the nonprofit Breaking Ground (formerly Common Ground), the city's largest housing provider for the homeless. Breaking Ground currently manages over 3,500 units of supportive and affordable housing largely within the New York metropolitan area, and have set a goal of building an additional 1,500 units for low-income and homeless families within the next five years – no small task. But with three more residences already planned in the Bronx, their target is well within reach.
Last Friday, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), along with the Departments of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Parks and Recreation (DPR), announced a massive new project in the South Bronx spearheaded by L+M Development Partners. Dubbed Bronx Point, the project is located on city-owned land on the waterfront of the Harlem River, and will include about 600 units of affordable housing in phase one (1,045 units total) as well as the nation's first brick-and-mortar hip-hop museum, officially called the Universal Hip Hop Museum. Among the founding members of the museum are recording legends Kurtis Blow and Rocky Bucano; its cultural ambassadors include Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, LL Cool J, and many other recognizable names. Law and Order: SVU's Ice T is on the board of directors. Executive Director Rocky Bucano said the museum's goal was to bring "hip-hop back to the Bronx where it originated from [...] it's gonna be a complete history of hip-hop." The site of Bronx Point is located adjacent to the 149th Street corridor, making it very transit-accessible. Additional plans for the property include a public multiplex theater, a waterfront esplanade extending to Mill Pond Park, an outdoor performance space, an incubator for small food vendors, and educational spaces in partnership with established organizations like Billion Oyster Project, City Science, and BronxWorks. The project is projected to produce over 100 new jobs (and 915 temporary jobs during its construction) during phase one alone. It also aims to incorporate sustainable building practices for LEED Gold certification. Once approved, phase one is slated for completion in 2022. The proposal for Bronx Point has entered the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) with the support of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Community Board 4 District Manager Paul A. Philps, and the City Planning Commission ... not to mention Detective Tutuola.