The Walt Disney Company is moving its long-time New York headquarters to Hudson Square, a move that solidifies the up-and-coming area’s position as a hub for creative companies. Disney acquired the rights to develop 4 Hudson Square, a Trinity Church Real Estate-owned site, with a 99-year lease, as reported by The Real Deal. The site offers 1.2 million buildable square feet, however, the site is only zoned for 800,000 square feet. The site consists of a full city block, bordered by Hudson, Varick, Vandam, and Spring streets. The new building is aiming for LEED certification and “will also incorporate the latest technology as well as the ability to adapt to the next generation of technological advances,” according to Disney chair Robert Iger in a statement released on Monday. “The Hudson Square district is rapidly becoming a dynamic, innovative hub for media, technology and other creative businesses.” The Hudson Square headquarters will consolidate most of Disney New York’s operations, including offices and production spaces for WABC-TV, ABC NEWS, “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” “The View,” and other Disney Streaming Services. Morning talk show “Good Morning America” will continue to operate out of ABC’s Times Square studio. Separately, Disney is closing in on a deal to sell its existing properties to developer Larry Silverstein for $1.55 billion. Trinity Church's real estate portfolio dates back to a land grant of 215 acres given by Queen Anne to the church in 1705. Although much of the land from the royal grant has been sold, Trinity Church continues to be one of New York City’s largest landowners, still owning 14 of its original 215 acres across Manhattan, most of which are in the Hudson Square area. Hudson Square, once known as the printing district in the 1900s, is quickly rebranding as a hub for creative industries and businesses. The area has attracted companies in the media, tech, internet, and creative industries, which was fueled by Trinity’s investment into the area and the 2013 rezoning that allows for new residential development and modern office space.
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The Walt Disney Company has revealed renderings of a gondola system that's slated to connect its Florida theme parks and resorts. With stations custom-designed around the theme of each property, the Disney Skyliner will connect Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, and Pop Century resorts to the International Gateway at Epcot and Hollywood Studios. The Epcot station design, for example, will draw on the art nouveau style of the park's nearby pavilions, while the art deco–revival Hollywood Studios station will align with that park's main entrance and bus stations. According to the company, some cabin exteriors will be covered in Disney characters "to give the appearance that a Disney pal is riding along with guests." The project was announced back in July, although the construction timeline has not been announced yet. This is not the only gondola project sweeping onto the boards right now. New York– and Oslo-based Snøhetta is designing a cable car that will ferry riders to the top of Italy's Virgolo Mountain, while London's Marks Barfield Architects and New York's Davis Brody Bond are behind a Chicago gondola proposal that would show off the city's architectural heritage.
It is not likely that anyone has first-hand memories of the Willis Wood Theatre. Designed by noted Kansas City architect Louis Curtiss, and built in 1902, the impressive Beaux Arts theater burned to the ground in 1917. One hundred years later, as part of a major announcement at the D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced it will be building a replica of the long-gone theater at near Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom. The choice of a theater that no one has seen in a century is not random. Kansas City was the boyhood home of Walt Disney. Disney moved to Kansas City at the age of nine from Marceline, Missouri. While the small town of Marceline is the basis for the Main Street U.S.A. area at Magic Kingdom, there are also many references to Kansas City in the middle America–themed amusement park. In particular, signs from Kansas City's Laugh-O-Gram Studio, the studio in which Walt Disney invented Mickey Mouse, can be found throughout. While it is not known whether Disney ever attended shows at the Willis Wood Theatre, historians think it is likely. It is known that 33rd President Harry S. Truman frequented the theater to see Shakespeare plays performed. Built by Colonel Willis Wood, a successful dry goods merchant, the theater hosted live performances until being converted into a movie theater. Today the site of the block-and-half-long theater is home to the Mark Twain tower, a historic landmark in its own right. With no chance of the theater every being rebuilt in its original location, it would seem central Florida will be the place for those looking for turn-of-the-century Kansas City. The real question is whether the new theater's interior will match the reds, greens, blues, and gold that reportedly adorned the original, and whether the large nude caryatids will once again fill the main theater space.
Anonymous street artist Banksy’s top-secret amusement park has opened at an abandoned British seaside resort at Weston-super-Mare, UK. Billed a “bemusement park,” and designed to drip with irony, the pop-up exhibition is built by a lido that has been derelict since 2000. https://youtu.be/V2NG-MgHqEk An austere, weatherbeaten castle straddles a green, overgrown moat, from which emerges a half-sunken police car transformed into a children’s slide. The glum employees wear hot pink jackets stamped with ‘Dismal’ on the back, with apathetic – even insolent – attitudes to match. “Dismaland is a festival of art, amusement, and entry-level anarchism,” declares the website, which bears a strikingly Disney-like logo. The 10,200 square foot park features the work of 58 artists handpicked for their black humor by Banksy himself. The artist’s customary anti-consumerist and anti-authoritarian jibes run throughout the artwork, from the Grim Reaper steering a too-small bumper car to a terrifying carousel featuring skinned horses. A masked butcher in bloodied work clothes wields a machete while sitting on cardboard boxes marked ‘Lasagne.’ Most bone-chilling is Cinderella’s overturned chariot surrounded by flashbulb-wielding paparazzi, a scene recalling Princess Diana’s death by car crash. Contrary to speculation, Banksy insists that the amusement park is not a lampooning of Disneyland. “I banned any imagery of Mickey Mouse from the site,” he told The Guardian. “It’s a showcase for the best artists I could imagine, apart from the two who turned me down.” Nevertheless, all staff are kitted in Mickey Mouse ears. A mural suspended precariously above the polluted lagoon features a corpulent man sitting at one end of a heaving banquet table, a poor family at the other. Meanwhile, a smiley face-bearing loan office lends money to children at a 5000 percent interest rate. A gallery showcases more of this sarcastic morosity, such as a depiction of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster aboard a car full of insurgents brandishing guns. A bad-tempered Star Wars storm trooper skulks around the exhibitions. Meanwhile, a cloud sculpture with a rope ladder presents an intriguing commentary on mortality. With admissions priced at just £3 ($4.73), Dismaland, on view until September 27, promises to be “cheaper” than “the average family day out." https://instagram.com/p/6nEw_5iLNK/?taken-by=dismaland_park https://instagram.com/p/6m2Vc5CLO_/?taken-by=dismaland_park UPDATE: Dismaland has since been dismantled and sent to Calais in the wake of the ongoing European refugee crisis. Currently 100's of migrants are stuck at the border of Calais as they hope to get into England. In its brief tenure, Dismaland attracted 150,000 visitors, selling out each day, to the run down site of Weston Super-Mare despite Banksy himself describing it as "crap". “It’s ambitious, but it’s also crap. I think there’s something very poetic and British about all that.” Banksy said speaking to the Sunday Times.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles County's Board of Supervisors voted to approve Disney's huge new TV and film production facility on the Golden Oak Ranch near Santa Clarita. The project is being master planned by LA-based firm, Johnson Fain, and the 58-acre "Studios at the Ranch" will include more than 500,000 square feet of studios, sound stages, offices, writers and producers "bungalows" and other developments. According to site plans submitted to the county the project's sound stages will be located on its southern side, with offices to the north. It will be completed in seven phases. According to the LA Times, the area, nicknamed "Hollywood North" and "Hollywood's Backlot," is becoming increasingly popular for filming because of its low costs and open, diverse spaces. More than half a dozen local ranches now serve as popular filming locations. More pictures and documents for the newest kid on the block below.