Eager to combat a serious housing shortage in Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood, State Senator Simcha Felder (D- Southern Brooklyn) announced Tuesday that the MTA would be opening a Request for Proposals (RFP) for developing a 3.8-acre stretch of rail bed that runs through the area. Decking over the site and building residences, similar to what’s happened in Hudson Yards and proposed for Sunnyside Yards, could bring thousands of units to an area of south Brooklyn that’s grown rapidly in recent years. The Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Bay Ridge Branch section cuts from 61st Street between Fort Hamilton Parkway, and 8th Avenue, and is seldom used apart from the freight trains that might pass through once or twice a day. Looking to create a long-term revenue stream from the site, the MTA released their RFP for developing the site’s airspace, at least 22 feet over the rail bed, on Thursday, available here. Calling for private developers to apply, the RFP demands that teams would not only be responsible for the architectural aspect of the residential buildings on the site, both market-rate and affordable, but also retail and office space as well as parking lots. Additionally, any scheme has to leave the rail track in place, and engineering solutions must be included for decking over a gap that ranges from 82 -feet wide in some places to 118 feet in others. This is no easy feat, especially as utilities must also be supplied to the site and would presumably run through the decking; it’s no wonder that the MTA is requiring the entire project to be privately financed. The cost of decking over the much larger, 180-acre Sunnyside Yards has been projected to cost up to $19 billion for similar reasons, though no cost estimates have been released for this stretch of the LIRR yet. The fight to build over this stretch of tracks has been going on for years, with local community groups only recently embracing the plan. Senator Felder stressed that any new construction would have to fit the character of the surrounding neighborhoods. “The vision is to create residential development that is consistent with the character of the neighborhood,” said Felder. “The location of this project presents a significant opportunity to create additional housing units on a gigantic parcel of land that covers a few city blocks.” Interested applicants have until April 27th, 2018, to submit a proposal.
Posts tagged with "Brooklyn":
New York-based ODA Architects and developer All Year Management have released renderings for their latest project in Brooklyn, a five-story, 100-key hotel already under construction in Crown Heights. Reminiscent of M.C. Escher’s Ascending and Descending, the hotel at 1550 Bedford Avenue will feature a looped, sloping roof that encircles a central courtyard at ground level. The most prominent feature of the 38,000-square-foot project, christened the Bedford Hotel, will likely be the ring of archways that completely wrap around the building’s base. In creating a porous entryway, ODA tried to encourage curious passerbys to enter and make use of the public plaza, as well as openly explore. Outside of the hotel portion of the building, a banquet hall, retail options, and restaurants will all be publicly accessible. A rooftop bar and several “floating gardens” are also planned for the cascading roof. While the hotel’s defining arches may seem out of place in a neighborhood filled mainly with brownstones, row houses, and historic brick apartment buildings, ODA has tried to nod towards the masonry-heavy vernacular of the surrounding area by cladding the building in dark stone. Inside, the suites are more in line with what might be expected of a trendy hotel, as lightly colored wood wraps the sinuous interiors of the seemingly smaller hotel rooms. ODA explained that this is to "hug residents and guests with curved edges that allude to the building’s bent shape." ODA is on a tear lately, and 1550 Bedford Avenue recalls their similarly shaped 10 Montieth Street project in Bushwick. Although the circuitous, tweaked roof is similar, the Bedford Hotel will hopefully prove more open to the rest of the neighborhood than its hulking predecessor. As CityRealty noted, this section of Brooklyn is lacking in hotel space, and the previously vacant plot that the hotel is rising on was only zoned for commercial development. Although permits for the project were initially filed in July of last year, construction has only recently begun. Owing to the area’s proximity to Prospect Park and several subway lines, the neighborhood has become a hotspot for development in recent years, and the Bedford Hotel will ultimately sit across the street from the controversial Bedford-Union Armory.
2017 Best of Design Award for Young Architects: mcdowellespinosa architects Location: Charlottesville, Virginia and Brooklyn, New YorkThe central premise of Spiegel Aihara Workshop (SAW) is the productive tension between architecture and landscape architecture, and the ways in which their respective materials respond different to time. SAW pursues this work collaboratively, through built projects, theoretical design speculations, trans-disciplinary research, and teaching. Honorable Mention Architect: Hana Ishikawa Firm name: site design group Location: Chicago Trained as an architect, Hana Ishikawa serves as the design principal at an emerging landscape architecture and urban design practice in Chicago, leading the firm’s process with equal parts innovation and logic. Ishikawa’s design philosophy is rooted in contributing to the well-being of society. Notable projects range from affordable housing to rehabilitative open spaces.
mcdowellespinosa architects focuses on transforming waste, excess, and ordinary materials into new spatial and material realities. The firm functions more like an artist atelier than a professional office, interfacing with everything it designs. From self-built shacks made from reclaimed agrarian structures to objects made with chewing gum or human hair—the methodology is very tactile, very hands-on, and very DIY. At the core of the firm’s philosophy is a celebration of authenticity through object transformation. "mcdowellespinosa show an inventiveness about space and tectonics that roots their practice firmly in the real, event when it seems implausible." —Matt Shaw, Senior Editor, The Architect's Newspaper (juror) Honorable Mention Architect: Spiegel Aihara Workshop Location: San Francisco
2017 Best of Design Award for Unbuilt – Infrastructure: Maker Park Architect: STUDIO V Architecture Location: Brooklyn, New York Maker Park proposes a vision to address Brooklyn’s disappearing industrial waterfront—reimagining what a public park for the 21st century should be. The design pays homage to Williamsburg’s legacy of manufacturing and culture of collaboration. Ten oil tanks are redesigned as community gardens, performance venues, and art installations. Each tank houses groves of trees, reflecting pools, vines, a theater, or an adventure playground. The restored inlet supports wildlife and boating, and a sloped lawn promotes performances while protecting from floods. “So many people would just see this industrial site as an eyesore—if they saw it at all. The designers found the beauty in it. Better still, their scheme helps others see that beauty. Preservation isn’t always about quaint neighborhoods and ornate cornices; it’s about former manufacturing sites and old oil tanks too. It’s all part of our shared heritage.” —Morris Adjmi, principal, Morris Adjmi Architects (juror) Landscape Architect: Ken Smith Workshop Cofounders of Maker Park: Stacey Anderson Zac Waldman Karen Zabarsky Honorable Mention Project: The Statue of Liberty Museum Architect: FXFOWLE Location: Liberty Island, New York The Statue of Liberty Museum is an extension of Liberty Park, which merges architecture with landscape. Monumental steps activate the large circular plaza by providing sitting, climbing, and viewing spaces for more than four million annual visitors. The 26,000-square-foot museum will include visitor services, a theater, and support spaces, and will feature Lady Liberty’s original torch. Honorable Mention Project: Pier 55 Architect: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects Location: New York Within the cancelled Pier 55 project is a story that never received its due: the landscape. Elevations 40 to 60 feet above the water treat the visitor to views which encompass the grandeur of the river and focus the eye on the delicate plants at one’s feet. Microclimates mitigate winter winds, buffer highway noise, and allow sunlight to reach marine life. Structural, Civil, & MEP Engineering, Events: Arup Designer: Heatherwick Studio Executive Architect: Standard Architects
Today the city and the MTA released a long-awaited plan to get riders to Manhattan during the L train shutdown. Among the many proposed transit tweaks, Manhattan's 14th Street will be transformed into a bus-only thoroughfare to keep rush hour running smoothy. In both boroughs, new bus routes and bike lanes will help ferry 225,000 daily would-be L train commuters to their destinations. The MTA is also beefing up service on L-adjacent lines, in part by opening up disused subway entrances in Brooklyn and running longer trains on the G line. There will also be new high-occupancy vehicle rules for those driving over the Williamsburg Bride, AMNY reported. The L train's Canarsie tunnel was badly damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy and has to be closed for 15 months so the MTA can perform extensive repairs. The closure, which will suspend Manhattan-to-Brooklyn service, is expected to commence in April 2019 and last through June 2020. During the shutdown, the L will run mostly normally though Brooklyn until it reaches Bedford Avenue, the final station before the tunnel. The MTA will increase service on the J, M and Z lines, and bus service along new routes will pick up riders at subway stations to carry them over the Williamsburg Bridge and through lower Manhattan. To carry an estimated 3,800 bus riders per peak hour, the lanes will be restricted to trucks and vehicles with three-plus passengers. The plan should alleviate residents' and business owners' fears over the effects of the shutdown. In Manhattan, a multilane crosstown busway on 14th Street between Third and Ninth avenues will supersede all regular traffic except local deliveries, while 13th Street will get a dedicated two-way cycling lane.
As New York City’s federally mandated cleanup of the toxic Gowanus Canal continues to ramp up, efforts to install sewage tanks at the head of the canal could end up destroying several buildings that would help the neighborhood qualify for a national historic district designation. The decision to buy out three private parcels along the canal comes after local community pushback canceled the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) initial plans to install the 8-million-gallon detention tank under the nearby Double D Pool and Thomas Greene Park. Instead, the DEP will now buy out the three parcels for a cost of up to $70 million. If the owners refuse to sell their land, the city will begin a lengthy eminent domain process to seize them. Apart from the monetary costs, leveling the existing buildings at 234 Butler Street, 242 Nevins Street and 270 Nevins St. for use as a staging area during the construction could damage the neighborhood’s standing in the eyes of the National Register of Historic Places. If local officials were to submit Gowanus’s low-lying, historically industrial waterfront for preservation, it’s likely that the construction of the tank would affect the area’s eligibility. The 100-year-old 234 Butler St. in particular stands out for its terra cotta and brick façade, with the Gowanus name emblazoned in brick on the building’s cornice. Residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood rallied to protect the former Gowanus Station upon learning that the EPA and DEP would be tearing it down. In a press release to the borough president, Linda Mariano of Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, said, "Its design and sculptural elements tie directly into the history of the Gowanus neighborhood's relationship with water. It can and should be saved." In a letter to the EPA, Olivia Brazee, Historic Site Restoration Coordinator with State Historic Preservation Office, wrote that “Its demolition would adversely affect both the building and the National Register eligible Gowanus Canal Historic District.” While an attempt was made to have the neighborhood officially realized as a state and national historic place in 2014, community intervention ultimately led to the plan being shelved. The DEP and EPA will need to come to an agreement on the location of the detention tank before the canal’s dredging finishes in 2027, but if installed, would reduce wastewater runoff into the canal by up to 91 percent.
Today the New York City Council voted to approve a controversial redevelopment plan for Brooklyn's Bedford-Union Armory. The plan, Bedford Courts, proposes revamping the vacant, city-owned armory with a 67,000-square-foot recreation hall, 330 rental apartments and 60 condominiums. The recreational facilities would include multi-purpose courts, a swimming pool, and an indoor turf field.The project still must be approved by the Mayor's Office before it can begin development. The project is designed by Marvel Architects, with Bedford Courts LLC and BFC Partners as the plan developers. CAMBA, a local non-profit, will manage the recreational facility and administer the initial affordable housing program. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will administer leases and provide project oversight. The New York City Housing Preservation and Development agency (NYCPHD) will serve as an advisor to NYCEDC and Bedford Courts on affordable housing and regulate the affordable housing program after construction, taking over CAMBA's responsibilities. Although 50 percent of the rental units and 20 percent of condos would be made affordable, the plan's opponents have argued it does not include nearly enough affordable housing, given rising rents and the potential for displacement as Crown Heights gentrifies. City Planning Commission member Michelle de la Uz told DNAinfo, "Given that this is publicly owned land, the community has come to expect more." When the City Planning Commission greenlit the plan on Monday, de la Uz was the only Commission member to vote against it. Monday's decision was also met with public opposition, with protesters gathered outside and within City Hall. Two demonstrators were arrested at the meeting.
Will the President of the United States make up to $14 million from the sale of the largest federally-subsidized public housing development in the country? This is an unfortunate question to pose in an era where affordable housing seems increasingly scarce. Starrett City, also known as Spring Creek Towers, is an extensive housing complex situated between the Brooklyn neighborhoods of East New York and Canarsie overlooking Jamaica Bay. This summer, it will be sold for an estimated $850 million, and President Donald J. Trump's family business collectively owns about 16% of the development, so they stand to profit a hefty sum. As The New York Times reported, Trump himself could reap up to $14 million from the sale. Now that Trump manages the federal agency involved in its sale – Ben Carson's Department of Housing and Urban Development – concerns about potential conflicts of interest have understandably bubbled up among both the public and Congress members. In early July, two congressional Democrats – Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland and Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York – requested extensive records from the Trump family regarding their organization's communications with the development's owners, banks, and federal officials after the 2017 election. The potential conflicts of interest raise larger concerns about the operation of HUD in general, with massive budget cuts perhaps leaving "the type of federal aid that flows to the owners of Starrett City mostly intact" while cutting off support for others, as the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Trump, Carson, and others on July 7. Starrett City is being bought by a partnership between a real estate firm, Brooksville Company, and a private equity firm, Rockpoint Group, with the official announcement released Wednesday. Both firms are restricted from rent gauging and potentially forcing out long-time residents by rent regulations effective for another twenty-two years, and both have expressed their intention to keep in line with the site's original purpose as affordable housing for low- to middle-income tenants. Donald Trump's father acquired up to a 20% stake in the development when its construction was handed over to a private real estate company in the early 1970s, and it has since functioned as a convenient tax shelter for the family. The sale is the end of a long and involved succession of failed deals, with the development's residents hoping for a fate different than those of comparable Manhattan complexes like Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village and Riverton Houses – i.e., bought up piecemeal and rented out at market value during the real estate boom of the early 2000s. What Trump's individual profit margins will look like is still a matter of speculation, however – and lawmakers retain a healthy skepticism while awaiting the more thorough background on the sale.
After the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved Brooklyn's first supertall skyscraper, construction teams wasted no time springing to action. Designed by New York firm SHoP Architects the 1,000-foot-tall tower is going up on 9 Dekalb Avenue. A recent scout out by New York YIMBY, found that the site behind the old Dime Savings Bank is now clear and the structure is going up. The former bank is in fact being incorporated into SHoP's design and this is where the LPC came in. The commissioned praised SHoP's work, describing the project as “flawless” and “enlightened urbanism at its best.” Others are not so impressed. Gina Pollara, former president of the preservation advocacy organization Municipal Art Society (MAS) told The Architect's Newspaper (AN) earlier this year that supertalls like the one scheduled for Dekalb Avenue are out of context and out of scale with the neighborhood. The building will house 417 units and offers a bronze, stainless-steel, and stone skin. As the tower stretches upward, bronze ribbons will join gray spandrel and vision glass panelling. Here, black metal is to employed in a similar, linear fashion running up the building’s facade, being joined by interlocking hexagon that facilitate views out. Also speaking to AN this year, Gregg Pasquarelli, founding principal of SHoP, said that the facade detailing is such so that when two sides of the hexagon are viewed from an oblique angle, it will resemble one face, a sleeker reference to the grand old New York skyscrapers like Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building. Brooklyn's first supertall was initially due for completion in 2019, however, YIMBY estimates the completion date to be a couple of years later.
Real estate developer Jared Kushner, a senior advisor to President Donald Trump, has filed permits for a Morris Adjmi–designed tower in DUMBO, Brooklyn. The 21-story residential high rise is backed by Kushner's development firm, Kushner Companies, as well as CIM Group and LIVWRK. The building is planned for 85 Jay Street. Rising to 250 feet, the 874,149-square-foot development will offer 737 apartments, while allocating just over 60,000 square feet for commercial purposes. According to The Real Deal, the developers bought the $345 million,135,000-square-foot plot from Jehovah's Witnesses in December 2016. Those tracking Brooklyn development will know that the same team also purchased the religious organization's Watchtower offices that same year, shelling out $340 million for the DUMBO property. New York–based Morris Adjmi has worked with Kushner in the past. Adjmi designed 30 Journal Square complex in Jersey City for Kushner Companies this year, a project that will be Adjmi's largest in the New York metro area. Another one of Kushner's properties in the vicinity, however, is not fairing quite so well. One Journal Square, a mixed-used project designed by Woods Bagot is looking for funding via the controversial EB-5 investor visa program. Kushner reportedly looked to Chinese investors to plug the gap left by prospective tenants, WeWork, who took several million dollars of investment and tax breaks with them on their departure. Despite the funding setback, One Journal Square is still on course to start construction early next year.
Prospect Park will be celebrating its 150th anniversary tomorrow as the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) and Prospect Park Alliance put on a special exhibition that will take visitors through the park's history. Titled The Means of a Ready Escape: Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, the show will present panels of information that detail all 585 acres of the park's land. In addition, more than 150 artifacts will be on display including historical scrapbooks, photographs, panels, posters, and postcards. These will include Frederick Law Olmsted's and Calvert B. Vaux's original vision for the park, hand-drawn renderings from the 1990s of the park’s woodlands restoration, and a model of the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects, which opened in 2013. Running alongside these artifacts will be a selection of pieces from the Prospect Park Alliance, Brooklyn College Library archives, Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Collection, as well as the private collection of Brooklyn resident, Bob Levine. Visitors to The Means of a Ready Escape can learn about how sheep once used to graze on the site and how, after that, swan boats, carriage rides, lawn tennis courts, and Robert Moses' modernist plans took their place. Now, Prospect Park is much different, as Brooklynites can testify, but this era of in-line skaters, birders, and dog-walkers is just another chapter in the park's storied history. The Means of a Ready Escape: Brooklyn's Prospect Park runs through July 13, 2018. It's located at 128 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn, New York. For more, visit the Brooklyn Historical Society's website. If you plan to visit the park soon, don't miss this striking 7,000-pinwheel installation designed by Suchi Reddy.
In Brooklyn's Prospect Park, 7,000 pinwheels are spinning life into a previously underused enclave. This Monday morning, children and families could be found enjoying the Rose Garden (not to be confused with the Cranford Rose Garden) by the Grand Army Plaza where a temporary installation by New York–based architect Suchi Reddy is celebrating the park's 150 anniversary. Known as The Connective Project, the work has been open to the public since Friday, though, thanks to inclement weather, Reddy's work has only truly been enjoyed from the weekend onwards. But perhaps the rain was helpful. Reddy, speaking to The Architect's Newspaper (AN) yesterday morning, said how she had initially wanted to fill the three pools to reflect the brightly-colored installation; the sight of whirring yellow pinwheels augmented by the rippling water would have been a small spectacle to behold. Unfortunately, this couldn't happen as fixing the pools' to make the hold water was too costly. Now some rainwater remains and children can be found playing in the pits that have been turned into mini amphitheaters. "We initially started with orange, though my preference was white as it stands out against the green" Reddy continued, speaking of the pinwheel's color. Instead, the firm settled on yellow, producing what Reddy describes as a "wonderful golden wave." The Indian-born architect has been practicing for 15 years and her firm, Reddymade Design, now works out of Greenwich Village. Reddy added how she was fascinated by pinwheels as a child (and still evidently is) and also chose the shape because she wanted to use an object that would be relatable for all. The pinwheels can be found in three sizes and reside at four different heights; all are perched atop stainless steel rods placed ten inches into the ground. Their orientation and spacing were worked out by Reddy's entire office to produce an undulating mirage of yellow and—thanks to the site's topography—partial views through the installation as well. "I didn't want it to be a static installation just about one thing," explained Reddy. "We wanted to introduce a layer of complexity and create a scene that you can see through." Up close, one can find that some pinwheels are unique and made from rain-proof dust stone paper. After a weekend workshop run by the park, visitors have added their own designs by drawing onto the pinwheels. Some were also printed with artwork already on them; AREA4, the events management group consulted by the Prospect Park Alliance who hired Reddy, facilitated pre-submitted designs. Though only having been open for three days, pathways etched into the grass around The Connective Project indicate the installation is drawing the attention of many, despite its difficulty to find. (Do not, as this author can testify, use Google Maps to locate the installation. Enter by the Grand Army Plaza and follow the yellow pinwheels painted on the ground.) Reddy's work is only on view until July 17th, so hurry before the pinwheels go.