Posts tagged with "Downtown Alliance":

New interactive 3-D map visualizes Downtown Manhattan’s future

Launched by the Alliance for Downtown New York, a free interactive 3-D map (dubbed LM3D) uses real-time data to show all current and development projects one-square-mile south of Chamber Street. Although it may seem very specific, Lower Manhattan is the third largest central business district in the United States. The map will display all residential, office, retail, and hospitality developments, as well as open space and transit. Users can view information on individual buildings, select specific areas to learn about land use, building and unit counts, identify key corridors, see upcoming developments, and sort between residential, hotel, office, transportation, institutional, retail, and restaurant services. By the end of the year, LM3D should also provide historic data on the area’s development. The map is in beta and currently accessible through the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browsers. Learn more by watching this how-to video:

Lower Manhattan’s public space under threat

Public space-fronting commercial buildings in New York City are under constant threat of privatization. The latest example: the public spaces along Water Street from Whitehall to Fulton Street. The area was heavily developed during the 1960s with a series of mostly bland towers (except 88 Pine by I.M. Pei Partners, 1968) that are noted more for their surrounding opens spaces than their corporate facades. Two towers in particular—77 and 200 Water Street, both developed by Melvyn Kaufman—have some of the most creative, playful, and useful public spaces in the city. Their designs were influenced by the writings of Holly Whyte and remain a testament to his belief in user-friendly public space. Back then, corporations were leaving the city in droves and New York developers fought back by creating useable, suburban mall-like public spaces. These Water Street plazas nearly all follow the same urban design pattern: a protected arcade just outside their lobby that works as a transition to a larger open plaza. In exchange for these public arcades, the owners and developers were given an extra 2.5 million square feet of floor space. Now the building owners, supported by the Downtown Alliance and an increasingly out-of-touch Department of City Planning (DCP)—led by former Downtown Alliance president Carl Weisbrod—are trying a land grab. They want to turn these spaces into rentable square footage. With the Downtown Alliance taking the lead, the DCP is seeking a zoning change that would allow more than 110,00 square feet of public space along the half-mile strip from Whitehall to Fulton Street to become rentable land. Jessica Lappin, the current Downtown Alliance president, claims these spaces are “uninviting and underutilized” and “serve little public purpose.” Downtown Express has reported that this would provide more than $250 million in annual rent for the building owners. This rezoning would set a dangerous precedent for all public space in New York. The plan labeled ‘The Water Street Text Amendment" has been presented to the members of Community Board 1, which turned it down on February 23, but has now been approved by a single vote in the March 22 board meeting. Its supporters continue to push for this problematic zoning change and it will receive a final vote by the New York City Council.

More Construction Canvases Downtown, Still No UrbanShed

The Downtown Alliance unveiled "Restore the View" today, the latest installation in its re:Construction program, which gussies up downtown construction fencing. The program began in 2007 and has gotten bigger each year, with five installations done earlier this summer and now three from Pasquarelli, the first artist to conceive of more than one. "Restore the View" just went up over the weekend at the site of Fitterman Hall, across from 7 WTC. "Secret Gardens" will mask road construction on Chambers Street and "Hours of the Day" is going up on a plaza across from the new W Hotel on Washington Street. Not only is it nice that the Alliance is concerned with how these sites look, but it means there is a lot of work still going on downtown. Still, one project is conspicuously missing, and that is the Urban Umbrella, the winner of last winter's UrbanShed competition. UrbanShed was launched by the DOB and the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects with the goal of redesigning those ubiquitous construction sheds that must be set up at even minor construction or renovation sites. The hope was to make something more transparent and accessible, something apparently achieved by the Urban Umbrella. Apparently because the new construction shed was to be installed some time this summer at one of Lower Manhattan's multiple construction sites. So far nothing. James Yolles of the Alliance said it should be up by October, DOB said year's end. Still no word on why there have been delays, but it's too bad because who is going to want to huddle together on a blustery fall day for the ribbon cutting?

Catalyze This

Last fall, the Downtown Alliance unveiled a plan by ARO and a dozen or so other designers aimed at reviving an area the civic group dubbed Greenwich South. Among the proposals was an iconic, place-defining tower designed by one of our favorite firms, San Francisco's IwamotoScott. While the Downtown Alliance's plan was largely speculative, the tower has, uh, popped up once again, with bountiful new renderings on Inhabitat. It's not entirely clear why the tower has been so thoroughly expanded upon, but we're guessing all this new snazz has something to do with the firm's upcoming appearance at the Design Triennial opening Friday, of which it's a part. We've posted a few of our favorite renderings here, with more than a dozen available at Inhabitat.