Governors Island could soon be home to, well, homes. Or at least dormitories. The New York Harbor island could house the city’s newest innovation and education hub while maintaining its identity as a beloved recreational oasis. Crain’s New York reported that City Hall will hold a public hearing next month on its plans to rezone the island's former military base to make way for a proposed 4.5 million-square-foot, mixed-used development. Mayor de Blasio's office posted a notice last week about the hearing, which will be the first step in an environmental review process for the project. Aiming to attract a combination of tech and life-science firms, educational institutions, dormitories, as well as a convention center and hotel, the city wants to build out the development as a way to enhance exposure for Governors Island. The 172-acre landmass currently functions as a leisurely getaway for urbanites to enjoy during the summer. Though city-owned, it’s managed and maintained by the Trust for Governors Island. The new development, which would be constructed on the south side of the island, would help annually fund the costs of the island's 43-acre park. With this proposal, it seems the city wants to piggyback off the success of Roosevelt Island’s Cornell Tech campus and bring those small island–big money vibes south of Manhattan. Plus, space for ground-up construction in New York is limited and Governors Island remains one of the more barren sites in town. Any new facilities part of the proposal would be built on two plots of land currently zoned for residential development. The problem is that residential construction has long been prohibited on Governors Island, which is why the city wants to first rezone the land before bringing businesses on board. After an extensive public review process beginning with next month’s meeting, City Council is expected to vote on the proposal in fall 2019. If passed, the rezoning would allow low-rise commercial structures to be built on the site as well as proposed dorms and hotel properties that could potentially rise as high as 300 feet. Crain’s also noted that the city has already commissioned a second ferry to take construction workers out to the site. But that won’t be enough to transport future commuters to and from the development, even in combination with an expanded East River Ferry service. That’s why the Economic Development Corporation is in talks to put a gondola between Lower Manhattan and Governors Island, further mimicking the layout of Roosevelt Island, which is reachable via a gondola and the F train. The public hearing for the rezoning proposal is scheduled for September 26 at 6:00 p.m. at the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan.
Posts tagged with "City Hall":
This weekend, 256 public and privately-owned sites across New York City will open their doors to thousands of architecture and history nerds for the 13th annual Open House New York (OHNY) Weekend. All sites are free to visit, though some require registration in advance. Gregory Wessner, executive director of OHNY, said the event is an "opportunity to get an audience to look at the city through different disciplinary lenses." This year, 1,200 volunteers will staff 256 sites. Wessner explained the selection criteria: sites are evaluated for their architectural, cultural, and historical significance; location; proximity to public transportation; period, style, and typology. Last year, OHNY Weekend attracted approximately 75,000 visitors over two days. 80 percent of those visitors were New Yorkers. Given the depth and breadth of the offerings, it's impossible to privilege one site over another, though Wessner said he's particularly excited about City Hall. City Hall, he believes, "represents what's great about OHNY. It represents the seat of government, which most of us don't get to go into, and welcomes the public to go in and look around." New York's Beyer Blinder Belle renovated the palatial 1812 structure this year. A little-known architectural mecca is Bronx Community College. From 1959–1970, New York University (then owner of the campus) commissioned Marcel Breuer to design four buildings. DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State will lead tours of Breuer's buildings on Saturday and Sunday. Also on campus: the Beaux-Arts Gould Memorial Library and Hall of Fame (Stanford White, 1900) and North Hall and Library (Robert A.M. Stern, 2012). Though the weekend is the group's biggest event, OHNY operates throughout the year, organizing tours and talks to encourage dialogue around major issues affecting the city's built environment. The Final Mile is a yearlong exploration of the "challenges and choices for an equitable and resilient food system" in New York. Food manufacturing, Wessner stated, is the fastest growing manufacturing sector in the city, and drives real estate development (think Smorgasburg and Chelsea Market). Tomorrow, Friday, OHNY is leading tours of food manufacturing facilities as a lead-up to the weekend. Visitors should check the OHNY Weekend for updates ahead of their trip. See the gallery below for more images of featured sites.
A white elephant in Indiana's capital city may see new life after decades of decay—with a little help from modern art. When it opened in 1909, Indianapolis' old city hall building inspired the mayor, Charles A. Bookwalter, to remark: “I believe that in all the years to come no citizen, man, woman, or child, will pass this corner and read that motto without feeling responsibility for good citizenship in this city of ours.” By 1962 city and county government had outgrown the neoclassical building, designed by architects Rubush & Hunter, and it has served as temporary exhibition space ever since. Now the Louisville-based developers 21c Museum Hotels plans to redevelop Old City Hall along with an adjacent lot, pumping $55 million into a mixed-use development centered on a new museum of contemporary art. According to the project announcement, the property will feature “a boutique hotel with approximately 150 rooms, guest suites with private terraces on the rooftop, art-filled meeting and event spaces and a unique chef-driven food and beverage concept showcasing local and regional farmers and producers.” City Hall itself appears destined for an art museum that will feature rotating exhibitions and remain open to the public, free of charge. “Arts-related tenants” will occupy the second, third and fourth floors of Old City Hall. 21c has signed on frequent collaborator, New York City–based Deborah Berke Partners to design the project. Berke is also signed on to design a new building for Cummins in Indianapolis, proposing a glassy, bending form and extensively landscaped public spaces for the fuel systems manufacturer. A bit less than half of the project financing will be loans from the federal government and local officials, as well as historic tax credits, if the developers get their way. If that happens, city officials will be fulfilling a promise to redevelop the municipal building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and factors into Indianapolis' City 2020 masterplan. “When I became the director I felt a certain pull to do something,” said Adam Thies, Indy's director of metropolitan development. “Letting it sit vacant was akin to letting it slip away from the memory of civic consciousness,” Thies made the remarks in a video about the project for The Bicentennial Plan for Indianapolis. https://vimeo.com/98892394
Boise, Idaho–based architects CTY Studio and design company Ecosystems Sciences have won an RFP to design a new public sculpture for Boise's soon-to-be-renovated City Hall Plaza. Both the sculpture and the plaza are expected to be completed by fall 2015. The $200,000 sculpture, called Terrain, Civics, Ecology, will be made up of nine 20-foot-tall steel panels, arranged in a circle to create an enclosure that pedestrians can walk through. Abstracted silhouettes of the area's cottonwood trees and their leaves—Boise is known as the "City of Trees," and the most significant is the Cottonwood—will be cut into the slates, changing their profiles as people pass by and with the shifting sunlight. Integrated lighting will make the sculpture glow at night. "The longer I looked at it, the more I enjoyed it. It kept surprising me," was one of the public comments, according to Boise Weekly. City Hall Plaza is being renovated by local engineering firm CH2M Hill. Its public art has been a long time coming—almost four years in fact. Two previous RFQs failed to produce a winner, but this team's plan finally resonated with a jury made up of local officials and residents. "We wanted to not only incorporate an ecological consciousness, but establish a civic identity for the plaza," said CTY partner Dwaine Carver. "It's really about Boise," added Zach Hill, principal at Ecosystems Sciences. "The idea is to really showcase City Hall's importance to the city." Which is a good thing, considering City Hall and its plaza have never been the civic magnets that the city has wanted.
A bizarre parliamentary maneuver two weeks ago granted and subsequently revoked landmark status for Bertrand Goldberg’s embattled Old Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, leading some to speculate about legal recourse for a coalition of preservationists who have fought owner Northwestern University’s plans to demolish the building. Today members of that coalition took their battle to court, alleging the Commission on Chicago Landmarks “acted arbitrarily and exceeded its authority.” The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Landmarks Preservation Council, calls on the court to send the Prentice decision back to the commission for reconsideration. It echoes procedural complaints first made before the commission even met Nov. 1, when members of the Save Prentice Coalition decried a meeting agenda that apparently “pre-orchestrated” the failure of the proposal to protect Prentice. Commissioners first voted to recognize the building’s merits for preservation and granted it landmark protection; they then voted two hours later, during the same meeting, to revoke that protection. The basis of the second vote was an unusual presentation from the commission of Housing and Economic Development, which argued new construction would bring jobs and research dollars that supersede the importance of preserving Prentice. Today’s lawsuit alleges that the council was not permitted under its guiding ordinance to consider economic matters in it decision. A judge will consider the suit this afternoon. The Chicago Architecture Foundation today opens its Reconsidering an Icon show, which will feature 71 proposals for reuse of the building, compliant with Northwestern’s biomedical research requirements. The show will be open until February. UPDATE [3:58 p.m. CST]: Cook County Judge Neil Cohen granted Prentice temporary landmark status Thursday afternoon, preventing the city from issuing a demolition permit for now. “We’re going to do no harm to Prentice while this can be resolved," Cohen said. The next hearing is Dec. 7.
Maybe that headline is self-explanatory, even makes a good bit of sense. Or it did when Robert Steel's two predecessors took the job of Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. Dan Doctoroff and Robert Lieber, like Steel, used to work on Wall Street before joining the Bloomberg administration. But nowadays, appointing someone who spent three decades at Goldman Sachs (before heading to the Treasury Department earlier this decade and then on to unwinding Wachovia) is a bit of a head scratcher. This has nothing to do with populist fervor and Goldman still being more hated than BP despite the catastrophic oil spill. No, this is about the future direction of the city. Ever since the financial crisis hit two years ago, the mayor has been of two minds about Wall Street. On the one hand, he has defended the sector doggedly, more than most any politician in the country, though that makes sense not only because the Street is just down the street from City Hall (and also the source of his billions), but also because the financial sector makes up a vast swath of the city's economy. Which is precisely why selecting Steel, if not necessarily a bad decision, is a poor one, one that sends the wrong signal. In announcing Steel's appointment today, the Mayor Bloomberg said, "His time in the public and private sectors and academic world gives him a diversity of experience that will be invaluable to us as he takes on this new role. New York City is working through a difficult economic period, and now more than ever we need to find new ways to create jobs today and implement innovative measures to grow New York City's economy over the long-term." While there's no reason to believe Steel will not do a bang-up job, there's also no reason to believe that there were not equally qualified candidates out there who did not previously work in finance. Like maybe this guy. The thing is, the administration has done a good job of late pushing to diversify the city's economy, encouraging fashion incubators, fighting for industrial retention, and fostering artists-as-entrepreneurs, among numerous other programs. To go for yet another banker-in-chief just seems like more business as usual.