It is very clear that Governor Andrew Cuomo is fed up with the sorry condition of New York's infrastructure, particularly its airports.A barrage of recent projects suggests he is on a mission to restore infrastructure glory to the state. Over the past year, the governor has been spotted on top of the new Tappan Zee bridge, breathing fire down the neck of the MTA to finish the Second Avenue Subway on time, showcasing plans for a spiffy LaGuardia and a gussied-up Penn Station, and breaking ground on a new hotel attached to Saarinen's TWA terminal. To drive the need for better airports into the brains of constituents, there are not one, but three cartoon planes shooting off a logo for the state's new mantra: "Building today for a better tomorrow." Today the state, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and other agencies have revealed long-awaited $10 billion vision plan for a new-and-improved JFK International Airport. The many proposed changes, driven by $7 billion in private investment, have three common goals: Modernizing the terminals, improving road access to the airport, and expanding mass transit options to accommodate a projected increase in passengers. In a statement that channeled Rocky, Cuomo declared that “New York never backs down from a challenge, rather we step up to take on the ambitious projects that are often thought to be impossible. That’s exactly what transforming JFK International Airport is all about. Our vision plan calls for the creation of a unified, interconnected airport that changes the passenger experience and makes the airport much easier to access and navigate. We are New York, and we remember the bravado that built this State in the first place, and that is the attitude that will take JFK and turn it into the 21st-century airport that we deserve. I want to thank the panel, especially Chairman Dan Tishman, as well as all of our many partners who join us in this effort.” Tishman is the CEO of Tishman Construction Company and chair of the Governor’s airport master plan advisory panel. The video above features some project highlights, as well as renders for what we could see at the airport in the coming years. Right now, JFK may be ugly and dysfunctional, but it's busy: Last year the airport welcomed over 60 million passengers, and that number is expected to grow to 100 million by 2050. Plans call for the unification of terminals to provide passengers with a more coherent visitor experience; redesigned the ring roads to allow better car access; expanded parking lots and taxi access; added train service; more amenities like the Beyer Blinder Belle–designed hotel addition to the TWA Terminal; and of course, added privacy-slashing security features like facial recognition and video tracking software to ensure that no terrorists destroy the new airport and to prevent hapless travellers from endangering us all with carry-on batarangs and loaded guns. One of the biggest frustrations of traveling to JFK by car are the bottlenecks along the Kew Gardens Interchange between the Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike. Plans call for expanded lane capacity between the Grand Central and the Van Wyck, among other changes. In conjunction with today's announcement, the state unveiled a competition to design welcoming public art that will grace twenty new auto crossings over the Van Wyck. In all, New York will spend $1.5–$2 billion to improve roadway access to the airport, and is considering plans to increase mass transit capacity on the subway, LIRR, and AirTrain. Notably, the state is exploring the feasibility of a "one-seat" ride to JFK, which would mean no more getting off the A train to board the AirTrain only to find your MetroCard doesn't have enough cash so you have to wait behind 20 clueless tourists on line at the machine when your flight leaves in 30 minutes—amirite?
Posts tagged with "Andrew Cuomo":
Today elected officials, Port Authority higher-ups, and a whole cadre of former TWA pilots gathered in one of New York’s best buildings to break ground on the TWA Hotel, an extension of and homage to Eero Saarinen’s grand terminal at JFK.
The Beyer Blinder Belle–led (BBB) restoration of the existing TWA Flight Center and hotel extension is meant to bring back the ethos of Saarinen’s 1962 building, which has been closed to the public since 2001.
JFK is one of the country's busiest airports, and one of the only major international airports without an adjoining hotel. Today it accommodates 56 million travelers annually, but come 2050, 90 million passengers are projected to pass through its doors.
Like President-elect Donald Trump, Governor Andrew Cuomo fixated in his introductory remarks on the nation’s lackluster airports. Invoking halcyon days when big projects got done quickly, Cuomo lamented that New York is not keeping up with the Dubais and Shanghais of the world. Unlike thorn-in-his-side LaGuardia or the Second Avenue subway, the airport hotel is a bright spot: He praised MCR Development, the hospitality investment firm spearheading the project. “They have built a hotel for the future," Cuomo said. "They’re not building a museum, they’re building a business. They're banking on the future.”
Actually, there will be a museum. It's devoted to New York's role in the Jet Age, that hopeful time when people thought science and technology could resolve the profound contradictions of the human condition, and when women picked shoes to match their handbags. As befits the setting, there will also be exhibits devoted to midcentury modern design.
For travelers, the soon-to-be 500-room TWA Hotel will try to infuse some glamour into the New York airport hotel landscape, now thoroughly dominated by budget inns with gross carpeting. The new structure will sit behind the original terminal and flank its wings on either side: The landmarked flight terminal will be a lobby, and patrons will be able to access the structure via Saarinen's red passenger tubes that connect to Terminal 5. In that same vein, BBB's work will revive original interiors by Charles Eames, Raymond Loewy, and Warren Platner.
A 40,000-square-foot events space will accommodate up to 1,600 people, and attendees can access a 10,000-square-foot observation deck to see planes take off. If hungry, visitors can dine in eight restaurants and six bars, one situated prominently behind Saarinen’s terminal, or patronize a food-hall-cum-incubator that features Queens- and Brooklyn-based vendors. When it's complete in fall 2018, the building will have its own power plant, totally off the grid.
No need to worry about another Calatrava mall (uh, transit center): The $265 million project is being executed with the Port Authority and other agencies, but it is privately funded.
Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration is working to revive 421-a with a novel idea: Wage subsidies for non-union construction workers.
The program that saved land owners millions in taxes and created thousands of apartments for low- and middle-income New York City residents expired in January of this year. Without the program, industry insiders feared that, with high land costs, rental housing construction would grind to a standstill.
Cuomo's one-page proposal would set wages for projects that use non-union labor and receive government assistance in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan with some caveats, the New York Times reports. There would be a two levels of minimum wage for projects with 300 or more units in desirable areas—in this case, on the Brooklyn/Queens waterfront and in Manhattan. On the outer-borough waterfront, projects would pay $50 per hour, benefits included, with 30 percent ($15) of that hourly wage reimbursed by the state. In Manhattan, any project south of 96th Street looking for an abatement would pay no less than $65 per hour, benefits included. In return, developers would set aside 25 to 30 percent of units for below market rents.
It's not clear from the memo how the state will subsidize the wages, or what form the new program will take. 421-a lapsed when real estate industry leaders and union officials could not compromise on the balance of union and non-union labor for residential construction projects. In June, the two groups debated wage rates, but again couldn't agree on a plan. Unions leaders have criticized developers who reaped generous public subsidies but avoided union labor. The program used to offer a 20-year tax abatement for developers who offered one-fifth of units at below-market rates. In 2014, 150,000 apartments qualified for 421-a tax abatements, for a tax jubilee of $1.06 billion.
The memo emphasized that residential projects in these areas would not have to pay prevailing wage, and was sent to leaders in the building trades and construction industry, including Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council, and John H. Banks, president of the real estate industry's lobby and advocacy group Rebny. Bringing back 421-a would allow the governor's $2 billion housing plan to move forward.
A spokesperson for the governor made a statement last week on the negotiations: “It is clear through ongoing discussions with Rebny and the labor unions that the city’s original proposal does not provide the economics that would allow for union labor, and that it is unacceptable to the governor and Legislature. We are working on and considering new and various proposals with all stakeholders, but at this point there is no agreement on anything.”
Mindful of that criticism, Mayor de Blasio proposed several reforms in 2015 designed to extract more affordable housing for taxpayer subsidies. That proposal—made in coordination with the real estate board—would have made condominiums ineligible, while requiring developers to devote up to 30 percent of the units in a project for poor and working-class tenants, in return for a longer tax abatement. But that proposal was rebuffed by the governor.
A spokeswoman for the governor made a statement last week on the negotiations: “It is clear through ongoing discussions with Rebny and the labor unions that the city’s original proposal does not provide the economics that would allow for union labor, and that it is unacceptable to the governor and Legislature. We are working on and considering new and various proposals with all stakeholders, but at this point there is no agreement on anything.”