After much backlash from New York City Councilmember Brad Lander and several community members in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Lightstone Group has decided to abandon its proposed “minor modification” in favor of keeping the as-of-right design for its Gowanus Canal-side development that is in compliance with the rezoning passed in 2009. Today the New York City Department of City Planning gave Lightstone the greenlight to move ahead with its 700-unit residential development on the Gowanus. The “Minor Modification” would have used a waiver to extend the depth in the rear yard. And while the design initially won the community board’s support, the damage and flooding from Hurricane Sandy in the area generated concern and protest among some residents. According to a statement released by Lightstone today, the design approved is “very similar to the Minor Modification design,” which includes the identical massing along Bond Street and along portions of First and Second Streets, the same floor area and uses of retail and residential space, and the same number of units and affordable apartments. But Lightstone did manage to deviate from the original design by Toll Brothers, the previous developer, by “gently stepping up" the building heights toward the canal and adding 2,955 square feet of open space to accommodate an expanded public walkway along the canal and pull the buildings away from the waterfront. The developers will also adhere to new FEMA maps and implement the required changes to protect the building from flooding such as raising the lowest occupied floors and moving all mechanical equipment to above grade. The blog Pardon Me For Asking reported that even though the Minor Modification is off the table, Brad Lander is not budging on his position. “In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I continue to believe it is a mistake to move forward with dense, high-rise, residential development without a comprehensive plan for infrastructure and land use regulations that Gowanus needs,” said Lander.
Posts tagged with "Hurricane Sandy":
The Rockaways was one of many waterfront communities that sustained serious damage from Hurricane Sandy, which makes it an appropriate site for MoMA PS1’s upcoming exhibit. But first, MoMA PS1 and MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design are reaching out to artists, architects, and designers to come up with ideas for creating a sustainable waterfront—whether that touches upon protection of the shoreline or alternative housing—to be presented at the show. Twenty-five proposals will be selected and presented online and at MoMA PS1’s temporary space, the VW Dome2 in Rockaway Beach during the month of April. But hurry, the deadline for proposals is tomorrow. Submissions should be in the format of a short video (under 3 minutes).
Construction on the two-track Gateway project, a new tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan, will commence this summer beneath Related Company’s Hudson Yards redevelopment site. Related Companies and Amtrak will build this 800-foot-long “box tunnel,” which will first serve as a shell for Amtrak’s rail connection linking the Hudson tunnel to Penn Station’s tracks, and, eventually, to the proposed Moynihan Station. The actual Amtrak Gateway Project is still years away, but construction on this first leg of the tunnel is happening now to coordinate with construction on Manhattan's West Side. The project will be funded by the federal government including some funding from the Hurricane Sandy relief package meant to help mitigate flooding during future storms. It's estimated to cost between $120 and $150 million.
For property owners of Hurricane Sandy-ravaged buildings, the road to recovery just got easier. Starting on Monday, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) will offer a new program that provides design consultations to property owners and design professionals who want to reconstruct their buildings. Department officials and technical experts will explain the building code and zoning requirements for properties in special flood hazard areas, as indicated on insurance rate maps or on updated Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maps. According to the announcement from the DOB: “This program is designed to accelerate the approval process for these projects, assist homeowners with their decisions on reconstruction and better ensure that new flood recommendations and standards are incorporated into the design and construction of these affected buildings." The consultations will be held at the Department’s NYC Development Hub at 80 Centre Street in Manhattan. Property owners will sit down with officials and compile a list of recommendations to apply to the construction plans that they intend on submitting to the DOB.
Last fall Hurricane Sandy swept through New York with a vengeance, knocking down more than 8,000 trees city-wide, and over 300 in Brooklyn's Olmsted-designed Prospect Park alone. But now, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has teamed up with tree house architect Roderick Wolgamott-Romero to give a hand full of these damaged trees a second chance at life. The New York Daily News reported that Wolgamott-Romero plans to build a 200-square-foot tree house, which he has dubbed the "Sandy Remix," out of 10 oak trees salvaged from the Botanic Garden grounds. Raised 5-feet off the ground, the tree house will be located in the southern area of the Garden. Wolgamott-Romero said they have already built the brackets and foundation, and expect to be finished by April. When completed, the tree house will serve as a classroom for schoolchildren for a period of 18 months. A number of celebrities have commissioned Wolgamott-Romero to build his sustainable tree houses including Sting, Julianne Moore, Darren Aronofsky, Val Kilmer, and Donna Karen.
While Hurricane Sandy hasn’t slowed development in some parts of Brooklyn, it has delayed the groundbreaking of the Roger Marvel Architects-designed hotel and residential complex at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park called the Pierhouse. The New York Post reported that the project was originally slated to begin construction this month, but Toll Brothers, the developer, said they will hold off until the redesign of the 159-apartment and 200-room hotel complex is updated with measures meant to protect against future storm surges. Changes include elevating the building three feet, adding steps and ramps to the lobby, and placing the mechanical systems on the roof. This development is paying for a considerable portion—about $3.3 million—of the park’s $16 million annual maintenance budget. Nearby, plans for a velodrome proposed for the park were scrapped in part due to potential flooding of the site.
Houses of Worship damaged by Hurricane Sandy were initially excluded from receiving federal aid based on the constitutional separation of church and state. But in an interesting turn of events, the House of Representatives has approved a bill that would provide grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to rebuild synagogues, mosques, and churches. The New York Times reported that FEMA has stipulated that, according to its rules and regulations, it can only allocate federal money to "repair and replace 'furnishings and equipment,'” which puts into question what items “are eligible.” It comes as no surprise that the American Civil Liberties Union and Congressman Jerrold Nadler oppose this legislation, calling it unconstitutional. (Photo: Loozrboy/Flickr)
It looks like construction of Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center PATH hub won't be wrapping up any time soon. Second Avenue Sagas reported that costs are mounting as the project deadline keeps getting extended. The project could now cost an additional $1.8 billion, and take another 18 months as a result of flooding from Hurricane Sandy, which would mean the station wouldn’t open until 2016. In an interview with The New York Times, Cheryl McKissack Daniel, president and chief executive of McKissack & McKissack, an architecture and construction management company specializing in infrastructure, discussed the cause of the delay. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Tishman Construction Corporation, however, insist that the transit hub will still be completed by 2015, according to the New York Observer.
After much silence, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman John Rhea revealed at a panel on Tuesday that the cash-strapped agency failed to adequately prepare for Hurricane Sandy. The super storm left 80,000 tenants without heat or power for several weeks, exposing the weak infrastructure and fragility of over 250 buildings, and also the agency’s disorganization. Crain's reported that Rhea outlined the three main lessons from the disaster, which boiled down to recognizing the magnitude of future storms and natural disasters, taking proper measures to protect vulnerable buildings, and accepting the reality that many residents will refuse to evacuate. Rhea admitted that NYCHA is under-staffed as a result of budget cuts over the years, which likely contributed to the agency’s poor response to the storm. On the upside, Mayor Bloomberg announced last week that the city will allocate $120 million to NYCHA to help in the recovery efforts. But Rhea said that will barely cover the $785 million in damage from Sandy. The agency is exploring other less conventional, and somewhat prickly, funding options such as leasing playgrounds and community centers in the middle of housing developments to private developers to build luxury high rises. Yesterday Rhea went in front of the City Council for the first time. According to NY1, he had to explain why NYCHA’s emergency response went awry. NYCHA is expected to present an action plan by next month.
Now that Congress has passed the $51 billion emergency aid package, Mayor Bloomberg is forging ahead with the recovery plans. The City will set aside $1.77 billion in federal funds dedicated to rebuilding homes, businesses, public housing and infrastructure that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Bloomberg did, however, warn that it could likely take a few months for the programs “to be approved and implemented.” Since the storm, the city, in conjunction with FEMA, has helped homeowners in New York through its Rapid Repairs Program. In a press conference last week, Bloomberg announced that the city will create a $350 grant program to help owners of single-family homes rebuild residences that bore the brunt of the storm, and another $250 million dedicated to “enhance the resiliency” of multi-family housing units. New York City’s public housing sustained considerable damage during the storm, which resulted in up to $785 million in damage to 257 buildings in 32 housing developments. NYCHA will receive $120 million in aid to repair and prepare buildings for future storms by taking measures such as purchasing permanent emergency generators. The city will also provide $100 million in grants to over 1,000 businesses affected by the storm. Businesses will be able to obtain loans of up to $150,000 and grants as large as $60,000. An additional $140 million will be spent on efforts to help build infrastructure for utilities and to jumpstart economic activity in the five business zones that are located in vulnerable areas.
Next week, the fifth iteration of the Times Square Alliance's Valentine Heart installation will officially open to the public. Brooklyn-based Situ Studio revealed their installation, Heartwalk, in January, which will be built with salvaged boardwalk boards from from the Hurricane Sandy-stricken Rockaways, Long Beach, Sea Girt, NJ, and Atlantic City. The Situ team has been busy removing hardware from the weathered planks and planing them for a smooth surface. The pre-assembled pieces will be taken to Times Square for assembly, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on February 12 at 11:00a.m. According to a statement from Situ Studio, "Visitors can enter the installation itself and literally stand in the heart of the world’s greatest city."
New York's Governor Cuomo is moving ahead with the buyout program he first introduced in his State of the State speech last month. The New York Times reported that Cuomo is proposing an ambitious plan to spend $400 million to purchase homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and clear the land for wetlands, dunes, and parkland that will “help protect coastal communities from ferocious storms” in the future. The buyout offer will also extend to homeowners who live in vulnerable areas at risk of flooding, but that were not affected by Sandy. Cuomo intends on paying for the program with part of the $51 Billion Emergency aid package passed by Congress, and then will look to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the remaining funding. In the meantime, Cuomo and his aids are waiting on the approval of federal officials. More details about the plan are expected in the next two weeks. (Photo: David Sundberg/ESTO)