Posts tagged with "Midtown":

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Detroit breaks ground on Motor City’s first protected bike lanes

Work is underway on Detroit's first protected bike lanes, which will shelter cyclists with buffer zones and bollards along Jefferson Avenue in the historic Jefferson-Chalmers business district. According to Streetsblog the project will start with only seven blocks, but a second phase will extend it three miles to Grand Boulevard. Parked cars will block bike riders from traffic along the busy street, which is the target of a road diet funded with public money and led by Jefferson East, a neighborhood-based community development corporation. The city gathered money from the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, the Community Foundation for SE Michigan, the Kresge Foundation, and the DTE Energy Foundation. The project is part of broader plans to update to Detroit's transportation infrastructure, which include buffered bike lanes in Midtown and millions of dollars in non-car “enhancements” funded by Michigan's Department of Transportation. The Motor City added 50 miles of bike lanes in 2013.
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CetraRuddy’s latest New York City skyscraper goes curvy, slender, and cellular

The latest glassy residential tower to rise on Manhattan's West Midtown comes courtesy of Cetra RuddyCurbed spotted renderings of the 625-foot-tall condo tower that is slated to rise on the site of the Roseland Ballroom, a beloved New York City concert venue that shuttered in April. The glass structure is encased in a geometric grid that provides texture and some visual identity to the facade. Protruding, rounded balconies give the building a more fluid form. "[T]he building’s massing responds to various site and zoning constraints, revealing inventive solutions that maximize the residential adaptability of the building through increased floor area, direct outdoor access and amplified views," CetraRuddy said on its website. "Shaping of the form reflects changes in unit mixes, with larger units occupying the top of the building and smaller units occupying the bottom. Building amenities, located within the podium, take on a vertical hierarchy by locating the various amenities from short to tall around the tower, resulting in a series of cascading layers on the roofs above each space." Curbed reported that permits for the building have been filed with the Department of Buildings, but have not yet been approved. And drone footage of demolition work at the Roseland Ballroom site: http://youtu.be/xfbmm5AEgLE
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Pictorial> Inside the revamped UN Security Council Chamber

Wednesday afternoon, AN stepped inside the United Nations Security Council Chamber to see how the global institution had spruced the place up. No, we didn't just walk in there—you can't do that; it's the UN. We were invited by the Royal Norwegian Consulate. Anyway, after a six-year renovation, which was part of the UN's larger Capital Master Plan to renovate the entire East River campus, the truly awe-inspiring space has been returned to its original, mid-century glory. The chamber was gutted, upgraded, and then put back together with a few 21st Century bells and whistles thrown in—out with the ashtrays and in with the outlets! The Security Council Chamber was originally designed by Norwegian architect Arnstein Arneberg and given to the UN as a gift by the Norwegians in 1952. Every aspect of the Security Council Chamber reminds you that it is a Very Important Room. Let’s start with the iconic horseshoe table which is topped with placards and perfectly angled pencils at each seat. A gavel is positioned at the center of the table to mark the acting president's prime spot. Around the ambassadors' seats are the color-coded chairs: blue for advisors, red for member states, and green for visitors and members of the press. The chamber's high walls are covered in a wool Damask wallpaper. If that didn’t drive the point home that this is a Very Important Room, then direct your attention to the massive oil canvas where a phoenix is rising from the ashes. That mural is surrounded by marble. And that marble is bookended by heavy, detailed curtains. Originally, the curtains were left open to provide views of the East River, but since the table is shaped like a horseshoe, light was unevenly distributed on the Security Council members. “The people who were facing East got better seating because the sunlight would stream in and they would look happy,” said Michael Adlerstein, the Assistant Secretary General of the UN and Executive Director of its Capital Master plan. “The other people did not, they were in shadows and looked evil.” The natural light also started causing problems for this new-fangled technology called "television." Ultimately, it was decided to close the curtains and bring in more artificial light. With this recent renovation, the UN set out to make the chamber more energy efficient and increase security measures while not compromising any of the original design elements. To achieve that tricky goal, the space was reduced to its concrete shell, asbestos and contaminates were removed, new heating and cooling systems were installed, and measures were taken to fortify the space against a possible explosion. With all of those improvements in place, the room was reassembled with a few cosmetic changes—seats were reupholstered, marble was washed, the mural was cleaned, and tapestries and fabrics were scrubbed or recreated. Adlerstein said that, at the end of the renovation, the Security Council Chamber hadn't changed "by one iota.” Of course, a lot has changed in recent years, but all of it has been successfully hidden away in this Very Important Room. For more on the renovation, check out the video below the from the Royal Norwegian Consulate General New York
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Construction finally underway on Detroit’s 3.3-mile-long M-1 rail line

After years of planning, Detroit's M-1 Rail Line took an important step into physical reality this week, as piles of 80-foot-long, 3,000-pound rails arrived on construction sites that will build the 3.3 mile streetcar line by the end of 2016. Streetcars in Detroit made their final run in 1956, but the new $140 million public-private infrastructure project could renew public transit in the Motor City. It's a small stretch of rail in the context of Detroit's massive urban footprint and widespread depopulation, but despite the system's shortcomings, some see M-1 as a reason to be optimistic about the city's future. Others say it's a boondoggle. At 3.3 miles long, the line will include 12 stops along Woodward Avenue, connecting pockets of development in Downtown and Midtown. It was originally intended to be almost 10 miles long. If the M-1 catalyzes development in the area, as its supporters predict, it's possible there would be an extension of the rail line. Rides are expected to begin by late 2016, around the same time as portions of an ambitious plan to attract development with cultural destinations and a new Red Wings arena. Meanwhile Detroit-based construction firm Farrow Group is already at work laying the rails, which arrived earlier this week from an Indiana factory of L.B. Foster Co.
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Detroit doubles down on startups and young creatives with new “innovation district”

As Detroit nears the one year anniversary of the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, creative professionals in a busy downtown corridor are the target of a Washington, D.C.–funded “innovation district" that hopes startups will rev Detroit's stalled economic engine. Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley's book for the Brookings Institution, The Metropolitan Revolution argued that since Congress is frozen, cities must save themselves. In a follow up report, the authors argued for the creation of “innovation districts” to encourage startups and business incubators. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan last month announced the city’s first such district would comprise a stretch of Woodward Avenue from the riverfront to New Center. The area has previously been branded a “creative corridor,” and already enjoys a growing startup culture—most of it formed organically. So what will the new designation change? Perhaps nothing by itself. But as Crain's Detroit Business reported, clusters of young professionals are happy to have the spotlight:
"The thing we have realized is that we actually have districts within this creative corridor geography," said Matt Clayson, director of DC3, a partnership between the College of Creative Studies and Business Leaders for Michigan. "There is a certain density of creative practioners [sic] that we did not have four years ago. That's a good 1,100 creative workers. Four years ago, no." … When Patrick Thompson was looking to open his interior design studio — which is well known for designing the Detroit Institute of Arts' Kresge Court — he was interested in being in Midtown. He didn't realize there was a creative cluster forming, but he liked the activity on the street and wanted to be around other design businesses. So when a first floor retail spot in The Auburn building opened, he moved in last summer. "As a landmark alone, it's been great," he said. "Everyone is starting to know this area. It's a pretty high-profile area, so it's been beneficial for our business being there."
The three clusters with the most activity at the moment, writes Amy Haimerl for Crain's, are around Grand Circus Park, near Cass and Canfield Streets, and near DC3 and TechTown Detroit in the city’s New Center neighborhood. Mayor Duggan convened a 17-person panel to chart more innovation clusters around the future and help guide growth in existing creative communities. As must be noted with any story of rebirth in Detroit, the city’s challenges are beyond the ability of any one intervention to overcome. But “innovation districts” are far from the only solution proposed for Detroit’s problems. Immigration reform, perhaps tied to a special city-specific Visa, has been touted as a potential shot in the arm for the struggling city. And transit improvements, especially along Woodward Avenue—which now has national attention—are a long time coming.
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Kohn Pedersen Fox Sprouting Glass Superlatives Around New York City

Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) is racking up an impressive collection of superlatives with a host of new glass towers in New York City. Of course there is Hudson Yards where a glossy KPF-designed building will become the tallest tower at the country's largest private development site, but that is just the start of it. In April, renderings appeared for the firm’s 64-story, cantilevering glass tower in Gramercy. The structure, which has a multi-story masonry facade, reaches 777 feet, making it the tallest residential building between Midtown and Downtown. Unsurprisingly, 45 East 22nd Street is going condo. Moving right along to 101 Tribeca, another all-glass condo building. NY YIMBY reported that this tower, which houses 129 units, rises from a more narrow base and then curves its way up to a pinnacle at 950 feet. At that height, 101 becomes the tallest residential building in Lower Manhattan...for now. Now back to Hudson Yards for a moment. As KPF's 30 Hudson Yards rises to 1,227 feet  and its more modest sibling, 10 Hudson Yards, climbs to a respectable 895, new renderings surfaced for 55 Hudson Yards. This tower, designed by KPF and Kevin Roche, is still glassy, but slightly less so thanks to a metallic grid that frames its 900 feet. According to the developer, Related, the 1.3-million-square-foot structure is inspired by early modernism and Soho commercial buildings. And then there is One Vanderbilt in Midtown. According to NY YIMBY, this glass giant reaches a pinnacle at 1,450 feet making it the second tallest tower in New York. But why stop there? If One Vandy gets approved to go just one foot higher it gains yet another superlative—topping Chicago's Willis Tower. And that, folks, makes it the second tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere. While not officially approved, the building has already become the glossy symbol of Midtown East Rezoning—a plan to upzone the area around Grand Central Terminal. That proposal died under Mayor Bloomberg, but has found new life under his successor. If the controversial rezoning ultimately does move forward, it likely won't take effect until 2016. Fear not One Vanderbilt, the city is expected to give this 1.6-million-square-foot tower a special permit to kick things off ahead of schedule.
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Nine-Story Woolworth Building Penthouse To Be Listed for $110 Million

At this point, the record breaking sales of luxury apartments in Midtown are not really news. As the towers rise higher, so do the prices. This has been the trend for quite some time and it shows no signs of slowing down. With that said, did you hear about the one Downtown? Bloomberg reported that the nine-story penthouse at Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building is expected to be listed for $110 million. The top 30 floors of the tower are currently being converted into luxury apartments, but the penthouse is quite literally Woolworth's crown jewel—and it is priced as such. If the penthouse sells anywhere near its asking price, it will essentially double the current sales record for a downtown apartment. That record was set in January by a penthouse in the Walker Tower in Chelsea, which sold for $50.9 million. Obviously, the Woolworth penthouse is exceedingly expensive, but the space is about more than its nine-floors, 8,975-square-feet of living space, 584-square-foot terrace, and its views from some  50 stories up. The unit is about living inside the Woolworth’s iconic copper cupola. According to Bloomberg, "a great room and wine cellar make up the 53rd floor, and the 55th through 58th levels in the cupola include a library or media room and an observation deck at the top, the plan shows.” Despite the penthouse’s uniqueness, $110 million is still an undeniably ambitious price point for a building in Lower Manhattan—iconic or not. For those looking to spend a few million less, they can always pick up a unit a few levels down. CBS Sunday Morning recently got a look inside those under construction apartments (above video), and they don't look too bad either.
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Explore Grand Central’s History With Fun, New Website

Grand Central has always been more than a train station. It’s an architectural and cultural touchstone for New York City. Even the most hurried commuter will stop to admire the building’s impressive scale and immaculate detail, before making their next transfer or stepping onto the crowded Midtown streets. The iconic building celebrated its Centennial last year, and it's looking pretty good for 100. But, to be fair, it has had some cosmetic work done over the years. Either way, to honor that milestone, the New York Transit Museum hosted an exhibit called Grand By Design, which explored the station’s storied history. And now, a year later, that exhibit has a fun, new website. With some drawings, photos and videos, the site tells the captivating story of how the “Grand Central Depot” of the 1800’s became the Grand Central Terminal of today. Turns out, a lot happened before the Apple Store showed up. As these things go, the story is full of greed, politics, threats of destruction, and what's described as a “stormy partnership.” It's like one of today's development battles, but with more provocative facial hair. Check out the new website here. [via Gizmodo]
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Keeping Up With the Super-Tall Joneses: SHoP Designs Another Manhattan Skyscraper

Manhattan's 57th Street continues its ascent as New York City's new gold coast with a skinny skyscraper unveiled by SHoP Architects and JDS Development today. SHoP most recently celebrated the groundbreaking of another skyscraper for JDS along the East River, but has now been tapped to build a lean, luxury high-rise on West 57th Street that could climb to a whopping 1,350 feet tall. If built, the condo tower would stand 100 feet taller than the Empire State Building. The Wall Street Journal reported that while developers JDS Development and Property Markets Group will not comment on whether financing has been secured, they have already presented plans to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Stepping back from the street as it rises, the quarter-mile-high skyscraper will emulate steps and be clad in bronze-and-white terra-cotta stripes. SHoP partner, Vishaan Chakrabarti, told the WSJ the materials would create an effect that "sparkles during the day and has a soft glow at night." The developers were able to add height to the building by purchasing air rights from other properties in the vicinity. Elsewhere on 57th Street, BIG is building a pyramidal "court-scraper," Raphael Viñoly has designed the 1,380-foot-tall 432 Park Tower, Christian de Portzamparc's One57 tower is nearing completion, Cetra Ruddy has designed an ultra-skinny 51 story tower, and SOM's Roger Duffy is planning a prismatic, 57-story tower. Chicago's skyscraper experts, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, have also been tapped to design a skyscraper near 57th and Broadway, but no design has been released. The developers said they hope to break ground by 2014.
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New York City Tweaks Midtown East Rezoning Plan to Allow More Residences

Since Mayor Bloomberg's plan to rezone midtown east was first announced, it has stirred debate among local stakeholders, preservationists, and advocacy groups. Now Department of City Planning has offered up a set of new amendments—in the "A Text" section of the proposal—that responds to some of these key concerns expressed by New Yorkers while also serving the primary goal of the rezoning:  To support and boost the growth of midtown's competitive office district. The most notable change is an added residential component. In the initial proposal, the zoning incentives were reserved for office, hotel, and retail, but now DCP will allow up to 20 percent of a new development's floor area to be occupied by residential as-of-right. A developer can bump up the percentage of residential up to 40 percent by undergoing the full Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). The same rules still apply to these mixed-use developments—in order to attain extra building height, developers are required to contribute to the District Improvement Fund. The exact rate for the contribution for residential will be set by a different criteria from that of commercial use. Hotels in new developments would also be limited to 20 percent of the floor area as-of-right. Through the ULURP process developers could turn the remainder of the building into a hotel. This rule wouldn't apply to existing hotels, however, which could be rebuilt fully on the site.
Some of New York City's critical historic landmarks—such St. Patrick’s cathedral, St. Bartholomew’s Church Central Synagogue, and Lever House—will also benefit from these amendment changes. The DCP has recommended establishing a Northern Landmark Transfer Area that would extend from 48th and 49th streets to 57th Street, and from Third Avenue to Fifth Avenue. Modeled after the Grand Central Subarea, this new district would allow landmarks to transfer unused air rights to adjacent sites. With this amended proposal, new rooftop restaurants or gardens could crop up around the area. One modification would alter the "stacking rules" to allow for top floors of mixed-use buildings to be activated by commercial use.
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Boulevard 41 Could Provide Pedestrian-Friendly Connection Between Broadway and Bryant Park

In New York these days, pedestrian plazas keep sprouting up in different pockets around Midtown Manhattan, an area known more for its heavily trafficked avenues and streets than its pedestrian-friendly corridors. And now, The New York Times reported that business owners along West 41st Street are pushing for their block, stretching from Broadway to Bryant Park, to be transformed into a tree-lined plaza, dotted with tables and seats. The street will stay open to traffic, but parking would be eliminated to make room for the promenade connecting Bryant Park with Snøhetta's now-under-construction revamp of the Times Square pedestrian plaza. Wally Rubin, District Manager of Community Board 5, told AN that the transportation and environment committee voted last Thursday to recommend approval of the plan, dubbed “Boulevard 41,” which will then go in front of the full board for a final vote on April 11th. If the Department of Transportation then green lights the proposal, the plaza could open as soon as this summer.
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A Worm in the Big Apple

It's not all glitz in Midtown Manhattan.  One block of 35th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues was awarded the pernicious title of Midtown's ugliest stretch on the appropriately named "Ugly Streets" walking tour, headed up last Friday by the Municipal Art Society's Frank Addeo. Addeo points to an abundance of blank walls and scaffolding that contributes to the street's generally boring and dark demeanor. The Daily News was on hand to take in the sights along the "Ugly Streets" tour, put on as part of MAS's Summit for New York City:
People who walk the block every day were far from surprised at its dubious distinction, although a homeless man wearing underwear on his head seemed to find it an ideal spot to spend the afternoon.
Although one bystander found the silver lining of the sooty street:
"There should be more lights in here; it's really creepy at night," she said, but added that there is a plus side: "There's no tourists who walk here, so at least you don't have to push through a crowd."
Via New York Daily News.