Posts tagged with "Mixed-Use":

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Historic Foreman & Clark in Downtown Los Angeles to become apartments

OKB Architecture has released renderings that depict planned renovations to the historic Foreman & Clark building in Downtown Los Angeles. The L.A.-based firm will convert the former department store and office building into a mixed-use apartment complex containing 125 units and 8,500 square feet of ground level retail. The building dates to 1928 and is organized along a series of double-loaded internal corridors, which, along with many of the building’s original decorative elements, will be retained through the conversion. The proposed apartments will ring the building’s exterior facades, with one set of units looking out over a large fifth floor courtyard and the others along the perimeter of the structure. The building will contain a collection of one- and two-bedroom units. New additions to the structure include renovations to the fifth floor terrace overlooking the street and the addition of a new rooftop penthouse level. The shared terrace will contain building amenities like integrated seating areas, shade pavilions, and modest plantings. Renderings for the project depict updated ground floor retail areas with double-height glass-clad storefronts buttressed by low walls. The renderings also depict a new, more prominent residential lobby entrance along 7th Street marked by an oversized awning.   The project joins a growing number of new developments within and around Downtown Los Angeles’s historic Broadway Theatre District, including a forthcoming 450-unit condominium tower inspired by the surrounding historic mercantile structures by architects Hanson LA. Because many of the area’s structures are historically significant, many of the new developments in the district consist of interior renovations and condominium and office conversions. A timeline for the Foreman & Clark project has not been announced.
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21-story tower coming to downtown Long Beach

Developers Ratkovich Company, Urbana LLC, and Owl Companies have unveiled the latest version of the so-called Broadway Block project, a new 375-unit mixed-use development in downtown Long Beach, California. The $154 million mixed-use project, Longbeachize reports, will bring a collection of housing, office, and creative spaces to the city’s growing downtown area. The two-building complex is made up of a 21-story tower joined to a seven-story apartment block by a wide pedestrian paseo. Aside from the 375 units, the complex will also contain 5,773 square feet of creative office space, 3,873 square feet of flex space and 6,012 square feet of loft space. The complex is being built with an eye toward local California State University Long Beach (CSULB) students, as well, and will contain 1,311 square feet of so-called “ArtExchange” space and 3,200 square feet of general purpose space that will be shared exclusively with the university. The complex is expected to contain a mix of market-rate and deed-restricted, affordable units, with previous reports showing that roughly ten percent of the overall units would be designated as affordable housing for Cal State Long Beach graduate students. Renderings for the development depict the seven-story structure as a stucco-clad apartment block with ground floor retail and arts spaces. The building mass features inset loggia, projecting balconies, and an array of gridded, punched openings. The accompanying 21-story tower is depicted with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and projecting floor plates while the paseo in between is shown containing trees, covered seating areas, and a collection of diminutive retail kiosks. The project comes as Downtown Long Beach undergoes a bit of a revival. Architects SOM are currently in the midst of redeveloping the city’s civic center while a slew of other mid- to high-rise apartment developments and pedestrian improvements come to the district. Gensler is also working on a $250 million redevelopment scheme for the aging Queen Mary complex. The Broadway Block project is expected to break ground in 2018.
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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s SOMA Towers

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In a unique collaborative partnership with Bellevue, Washington-based Su Development—who participated as client, developer, and contractor—Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ) has completed its second and final phase of development for the SOMA Towers project in Seattle. The team’s shared interest in pairing high design with efficiencies in construction sequencing has resulted in a unique mixed-use development involving two residential towers, a multilayered podium of tiered public plazas, and below-grade parking.
  • Facade Manufacturer Su Development; Northglass Industrial (glazing)
  • Architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  • Facade Installer 288 Soma LLC
  • Facade Consultants Morrison Hershfield (facade); KPFF + DCI (facade structure)
  • Location Bellevue, WA
  • Date of Completion Phase 1 (2014); Phase 2 (2017)
  • System Window Wall Modules
  • Products Slab Closure/Louver Extrusions: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (design); Su Development (procurement)
The facades of the towers are carefully composed of five-foot window wall modules that utilize a range of clear and frosted glazing. The outcome is a compositional strategy of varied mullion subdivision spacing within each stacked module, visually disrupting a repetitive modular system achieving what Robert Miller, principal at BCJ, called “a real trickery of the eye." The facade is shaped by post-tensioned concrete slab floor plates, whose curvature is a response to structural optimization of cantilevered distances. The architects worked with structural engineers and analysis software to evaluate stresses on the cantilevered slabs early in the design process. The project team would extend cantilever distances on under stressed areas of the slab and shorten distance or add back spans to areas of the slab that were over-stressed. This game of pushing and pulling yielded floor plates with a unique curvature optimized to a material and structural efficiency. Floor plates were further refined through repetition to allow formwork to be reused over many floor levels. Perimeter curvature was rationalized into a faceted geometry corresponding to the roughly five-foot-wide window wall units, which were designed to be installed from the interior side. This allowed for a safer and more cost-effective installation process. One of the challenges of the facade design was in the composition of the elevation, which sought a varied and dynamic grid at odds with the modularity of the construction assembly. The project was designed to prescriptive energy codes, which only allowed for a maximum open area of 40-percent at the time of Phase 1, and 30-percent by the time the second tower was under construction. In order to make the facade feel like it contained more glass, the architects created a matte black spandrel to simulate the aesthetic of glass. The change in energy code standards from Phase 1 and Phase 2 introduced another level of compositional rigor to the project, which sought aesthetic compatibility between the two towers. A horizontal wainscot band located 30-inches above the floor plate also helped to cut down op open glazing percentage. To avoid an unwanted horizontal aesthetic, the architects integrated full height spandrels to the window wall composition to break up the grid. The corners received full height glazing at a slightly wider width than the modular window wall units to accommodate tolerance in the floor slab perimeter geometry. One of the unique details of this project was Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s treatment of the slab edge. The detailing of the slab edge is a custom extrusion - a channel assembly with an infill panel on the face that performs as a louver composed of 90-degree angles to appear visually crisp. This detail allows a consistent aesthetic that integrates otherwise random vent openings into the compositional logic of the facade. Kirk Hostetter, Senior Associate at BCJ said the detail "articulates the top and bottom of the slab edge, and introduces a crispness to the edge that you don't typically see." Elsewhere, at the main entrance to the podium, a 70-foot circulation “cone” and 80-foot-long suspended leaf-shaped canopy of glass, aluminum, and steel, were also designed with the same approach to construction efficiency. These custom entry components were fabricated and pre-assembled in Taiwan, then disassembled and shipped to the site where they were reassembled. On the unique design process that marries development, client, contractor, and architectural thinking from day one, Miller said "Our buildings conceptually are strong enough that they can take a looser approach to the details. If some details get modified along the way, we can usually work together to make something that works for John Su's business plan and our design ambitions." He concluded, "Su Development has a keen interest in design. The fact that they value design allows us to do our job well. Shared admiration for skill sets and willingness to collaborate is what made this project possible."
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Johnson Fain unveils new rendering for 12-story tower Los Angeles’s Arts District

Los Angeles–based architects Johnson Fain have revealed a new rendering for 641, a proposed mixed-use tower in the Los Angeles Arts District. The tower, located at 641 South Imperial Avenue, is expected to rise a total of 12 stories and will become among the tallest buildings in the vicinity, upon completion. The tower complex will contain 140 live-work lofts, 7,000 square feet of ground floor retail, and 7,000 square feet of creative office space. The complex will also contain an arts-focused space, as well as four levels of subterranean parking that will house 162 automobile stalls. According to the rendering released by the firm, the rectangular tower will feature a gridded facade along at least one side populated by large, presumably unit-wide balcony spaces. These modules are repeated across the expanse and feature angled edges that will function as vertical louvers for the east-facing facade. The angled walls will follow an undulating pattern as they climb up the tower’s height and seem to be bounded by glass railings and floor-to-ceiling windows along the balcony spaces. The arrangement sits atop a two-story, brick-clad base containing the ground floor retail and creative office spaces along the second floor. Units in the development are expected to range between 600 and 1,300 square feet in size, according to Johnson Fain. The Arts District neighborhood is currently made up of one- and two-story warehouse and industrial buildings, but many large-scale projects are in the works. A recently-revealed complex by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) for a lot around the corner from 641 is due to rise approximately the same height. Architects Herzog & de Meuron have also proposed a large-scale project for Sixth and Alameda nearby. That project, dubbed 6AM, includes a pair of high-rise towers—one due to climb 732 feet high and the other, 710 feet—that will transform the neighborhood’s skyline. A timeline for the Johnson Fain project has not been released.
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Optimism fuels Miami’s mega-developments, but a denser Miami isn’t a sure thing

This article appears in The Architect’s Newspaper’s April 2017 issue, which takes a deep dive into Florida to coincide with the upcoming AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando (April 27 to 29). We’re publishing the issue online as the Conference approaches—click here to see the latest articles to be uploaded.

New York or Los Angeles?

These are the two contrasting models of urbanism that Raymond Fort, designer at Miami-based architecture firm Arquitectonica, cites when asked about Miami’s future. In New York, numerous walkable neighborhoods—whose density, convenience, and character are major assets—are connected by a robust public transportation system. In Los Angeles, low density and car-oriented urbanism is the norm outside the downtown core (though transit-oriented development has begun to spread in recent years). Many developers working in Miami are clearly enthusiastic about the New York model. However, that future isn’t guaranteed: The potential for car-dominated sprawl and other hybrid models still exist.

Arquitectonica is behind Brickell City Centre, a 5.4-million-square-foot complex of offices, luxury condos, a hotel, and ample retail south of Downtown Miami. Developed by Swire Group, Brickell is one of the many large, mixed-use developments in Miami that signals movement toward density. Phase one opened late last year, and phase two will entail an 80-story mixed-use tower.

Just north of downtown, there’s Miami Worldcenter, a 17-million-square-foot, 27-acre complex. It’s a joint venture by multiple developers, with Boston-based Elkus Manfredi leading the master plan and designing the center’s phase one, which is anchored by a 1-million-square-foot retail podium. Phase two is a $750 million convention center and hotel.

Development isn’t only concentrated in the urban core. About two miles north of Downtown in the Wynwood neighborhood, developer Moishe Mana and Miami-based Zyscovich Architects are poised to build a 9.72-million-square-foot, 23.5-acre development that will feature as many as 3,482 residential units, a mix of retail, office, and cultural programming, as well as an extensive public “Mana Commons” that will cut through the complex’s cluster of medium-rise towers. Dubbed Mana Wynwood, it won approvals last September. More like it may be on the way: In Little Haiti, the Eastside Ridge development will replace 500 townhouses with 7.2 million square feet of mixed-use development, and another project dubbed “Magic City(also located in Little Haiti) would see an innovation center, business incubator, housing, retail, and other art-entertainment facilities arise across a 15-acre campus.

What’s driving all of these major concentrations of development? In part, affluent young professionals across the U.S. are moving to cities seeking walkable, transit-connected neighborhoods, and developers are eager to meet that need. But there are factors unique to Miami. One is the city’s zoning: The Miami 21 code, implemented some six and half years ago, has significant parking requirements that incentivize large developments. For example, in dense high-rise areas, the code mandates 1.5 parking spaces per unit. Consequently, smaller projects struggle to meet the logistical and economic challenges of incorporating that much parking into their site. Bigger projects can more easily integrate a parking garage into their lower levels. Furthermore, if a development covers nine contiguous acres, it can qualify for a Special Area Plan, an arrangement that allows developers more flexibility in situating parking and negotiating the rules of Miami 21’s form-based code. This maximizes the development’s value. Brickell, Mana Wynwood, and the Worldcenter, as well as virtually all of Miami’s major developments, are (or have applied for) Special Area Plans.

Miami’s geography is also part of the equation. John Stuart, professor of architecture at Florida International University and executive director of its Miami Beach Urban Studios, explained how wealth from the Caribbean and Central and South America has historically flowed into Miami. “We have this gravitational pull from the south,” he said. Affluent people from Chile, Venezuela, and elsewhere come to Miami seeking “these kinds of urban experiences where they’re safe, their products are confirmed as authentic, but they’re close to their own countries….”

But the city’s geography turns from an asset to a risk when one considers the threat of extreme weather and sea-level rise. Miami Beach, which sits a mere four feet above sea level (compared to Miami’s six feet), is regularly inundated during king (high) tides and is spending nearly half a billion dollars to raise streets, install pumps, and push back the waters. Faced with such uncertainty, Stuart sees mega-developments as “just overflowing with optimism” and the belief that climate change will be remedied, ameliorated, or far enough away to not warrant significant concern in the near future.

In the shorter term, how Miami 21 and public transportation evolve may be deciding factors in shaping the city. In Wynwood, the City of Miami Planning Department is testing out a new zoning overlay that alleviates parking requirements for developments with smaller units. If Wynwood ceases to become the exception, then dense growth may not be restricted to Special Area Plan developments and the downtown urban core.

This leads to the issue of public transportation. “That’s at the core of much of what’s fragmenting the city, holding it back economically, socially, culturally,” said Stuart. “There’s very little opportunity for people who live in a neighborhood they can afford to access other neighborhoods for employment, artistic production, or other means.” Miami is in the process of funding and planning an expansion of the Metrorail, the city’s above ground heavy-rail rapid transit system. Eighty-two miles of new rail and six new lines—costing $3.6 billion—would connect the city’s burgeoning neighborhoods with each other and downtown. Complicating the situation are Uber and Lyft, whose low rates can be competitive with public transportation. Moreover, according to Fort, the prospect of driverless cars adds a new level of uncertainty to major public transportation investment.

A conversation about public transportation and mega-developments must also include the question of affordability. According to a 2016 study from the New York University Furman Center, in Miami “85 percent of recently available rental units were unaffordable to the typical renter household,” making the city the least affordable for renters among the country’s top 11 metro areas. But there are glimmers of hope: As development moves from the urban core and the waterfront to places like Wynwood, more non-luxury units may come online. Additionally, the city is already taking steps to increase affordable housing stock: A measure passed in late February would reward residential projects that feature affordable units with greater density and less required parking. However, while the downtown core and Wynwood don’t have large existing communities facing gentrification, that challenge may arise elsewhere. In other instances, density alone may deter development: Earlier this year, local opposition stopped a 1.2-million-square-foot Special Area Plan development east of Little Haiti.

For a firsthand experience, Fort recommends riding the Metrorail to survey the city—from there, you can see pockets of development (Coconut Grove, Little Havana, Brickell, Downtown) that he thinks could become medium-density nodes in a new polycentric city. He also cites neighborhoods like Edgewater, Wynwood, and the Design District that aren’t on the Metrorail but are still growing. “That’s what I think the next phase of development in Miami is,” he said, “where we look at neighborhoods and understand what’s missing” to make them mixed-use, denser, and affordable. Optimism for density, however, is just one of many factors—climate change, transportation technology, affordability, and zoning codes, to name a few—that will shape Miami in the years to come.

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17-story tower in Ann Arbor, Michigan gets air rights approval

The City Council of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has voted in favor of selling air rights to a project that is set to become one of the tallest in the city. The Collective is proposed to be a 17-story mixed-use development designed by Evanston, Illinois–based Myefski Architects and developed by Chicago-based Core Spaces. The 352,000-square-foot development will include 360 residential units, 131 hotel rooms, 20,000 square feet of office space, and 3,000 square feet of retail space. At its base, a designed streetscape and 12,000-square-foot public plaza will interact with the building's structure. Located in the busy Midtown District, the tower will also include terraces and balconies overlooking the public space. The .8-acre site where The Collective will stand is above a city-owned underground parking garage. In 2015 the city requested proposals for the site, signaling that it wanted to sell the air rights for a development. The Core/Myefski team was one of nine to submit, and one of the two shortlisted. After a series of public input meetings, the current proposal was picked in early 2016. It took another 15 months of negotiations between the team and the city to arrive at this week’s vote. The approval means the city is willing to sell the air rights for $10 million. Five million dollars of that money is already earmarked for affordable housing in the city. “The City and residents of Ann Arbor put this in motion many years ago. They had a vision for this dynamic downtown location that involved addressing the needs of the community,” said President and Principal John Myefski. “In addition to a placemaking, landmark building, this development is going to boost the quality of life for many Ann Arbor residents.”
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Jeanne Gang is designing her first project in Canada, a mixed-use tower in Toronto’s Yonge + St. Clair

Chicago architect Jeanne Gang has been hired to design her first project in Canada, a residential tower in Toronto’s Yonge + St. Clair neighborhood, with retail space at street level.
The client is Slate Asset Management, which owns ten properties in the neighborhood and is working to rejuvenate it with public art, vibrant streetscapes, and first-rate design. Slate and Gang’s office, Studio Gang, announced this month that the residential tower will be at the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Delisle Avenue. The project is the latest in a series of high-profile commissions by Slate, including an eight-story mural by international street artist Phlegm. The tower will be Studio Gang’s first building in Canada, and it’s part an effort by Slate to reimagine Yonge + St. Clair. Known for her Aqua Tower in Chicago, one of the world’s tallest buildings by a woman-led design team, Gang received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award in 2011. She has been named to receive an honorary fellowship from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in May. The ceremony will be part of the Institute’s Festival of Architecture in Ottawa from May 24 to 27, and Gang will give the festival’s keynote address. “Yonge + St. Clair is on its way back. Having occasion to bring Studio Gang’s first project in Toronto to the neighborhood signals to the rest of the city that we would like to create something special here,” said Brandon Donnelly, Vice President of Development at Slate Asset Management, in a statement.
“As our practice’s relationship with Canada grows, we’re excited to explore Toronto and to understand the unique DNA of the Yonge + St. Clair neighborhood,” said Gang. “We hope to design a building that will strengthen relationships within the neighborhood and the city.”According to the development team’s announcement, Studio Gang will work with Slate to organize a “public consultation” this spring to gather community input before making a design submission to the city. According to the developers, the final building will be primarily rental, with retail space at grade, in keeping with Slate’s long-term vision for the area. While the design for the building has not been finalized, Donnelly said, a couple of decisions have already been made.“It’s not going to be a typical all-glass tower,” he said, citing a need to introduce material variety into Toronto’s skyline. “We want to push boundaries in terms of sustainability and building efficiency, which means we are thinking carefully about the building envelope and its materials.” The Studio Gang commission will be the first ground-up tower in the area by Slate, which controls all four corners of the intersection of Yonge and St. Clair.The decision to commission Studio Gang was made after a selection process that emphasized design methodology, site context, and Slate’s aspirations for world-class architecture and a fresh vision.
Yonge + St. Clair is a transit-rich area with a subway and dedicated streetcar tracks, but it is also a short walk from some of the city’s most admired neighborhoods and a ravine system that offers direct access to quiet green space. The juxtaposition of natural and built environments is expected to serve as inspiration for the project. “There is a hill that crests at Yonge + St. Clair, which means the... site acts as both a pedestal and a view terminus from way uptown,” said Donnelly “The challenge will be to develop a building worthy of being showcased, but we feel confident that we have the right team in place to do just that.”
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Richard Meier’s new project is for students and teachers in Newark

Who could possibly make Richard Meier work in anything but white? Someone with a good plan and a strong vision (well, also this guy). Deep in downtown Newark, New Jersey, Richard Meier & Partners, working for developer RBH Group, has put another round of finishing touches on a multi-building development called Teachers Village. Though technically "mixed-use," the Teachers Village spirit is more in line with a cheery contemporary mill town, or a little Columbus, Indiana. In a postindustrial twist, the project's affordable and market-rate residences were marketed first towards teachers and their families (though other workers are welcome, too). The complex's three apartment buildings by Meier feature 123 residential units. Each unit is sunny, owing to the ring of (to-be-developed) surface parking surrounding much of the Village and to the floor-to-ceiling windows in the common spaces. The scheme has proved popular so far—as of mid-February, the buildings are almost fully leased. Some of the residents teach at the development's three charter schools (two designed by Meier). On a recent tour, reporters ascended an outdoor stair on a skywalk between the two schools, topped by a few circular skylights, and filed along a catwalk above the spacious gymnasium. After school hours, residents can play basketball on the indoor courts, which barely need overhead lighting thanks to ecclesiastic south-facing windows. RBH Group wanted the project to integrate with Newark's beautiful but worn streets nearby. The design team worked with the city's Landmarks & Historic Preservation Commission to envision structures that would reflect Newark's scale and vernacular. The result: Meier used red brick for the first time since the 1960s. Well, not true red brick. The material, used on one of the schools, is inflected with iron, projecting a soft metallic glow in the right light, a still-earthy foil to white aluminum panel– and stucco-clad buildings nearby. Some of the window-adjacent brick is arranged in a sawtooth pattern, establishing visual continuity with the low-slung commercial storefronts nearby detailed with decorative brick and terra-cotta tiles. This is deeply intentional. Teachers Village harmonizes with the surrounding city, but it's more than a patch in the urban fabric. The project on target to receive LEED Neighborhood Development certification, a hard-to-get designation awarded to community-scale projects that evince sustainable design and smart urban development. Lined with street-level retail, buildings along the Halsey Street corridor are not more than four stories tall, in keeping with Newark's low-rise character and growth goals outlined in the latest master plan. Teachers are less than a 15-minute walk to the nearest PATH and NJ Transit stations, near the Prudential Center and three city parks. All told, the six buildings of Teachers Village's first phase include three schools, 65,000 square feet of retail, and residential programs spread out over 23 acres south of Market Street and west of Broad Street. The development is part of what could be, by 2050, a 15 million-square-foot development with a 200-room hotel, 550,000 square feet of retail and cultural programming, 4.75 million square feet of office space, and up to 8,000 residential units. The project broke ground in 2012, and buildings have been coming online for the past four years. A mix of residential and retail, Building VI (243 Halsey Street) has just recently opened its doors to new tenants. "Newark doesn't have the best reputation," said Meier, who was born in the city. "It needs this kind of development to help others realize that Newark's an important city. Any project we can do to help the whole city—we're proud to do it." Editor's Note: This article initially stated that 206 units were constructed in Phase One. There are 123. In addition, the article was updated to include the project's overall development capacity.  
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Controversial OMA development in Santa Monica scaled down

Plans for a long-delayed and controversial mixed-use project by OMA in Santa Monica, California have changed once again. OMA’s Plaza at Santa Monica development—a project that, if built, would be the firm’s largest work in Los Angeles to date—is to be located on city-owned land and will contain a flurry of programming, including a hotel, affordable housing, creative office, and retail spaces. The mixed-use project, originally pitched in 2014, has been dogged by outcry from anti-growth community activists who take issue with the project’s size and density and would rather see the 2.57-acre site used to house a neighborhood park. According to information presented on the project website, the development—as newly proposed—will contain 280 hotel rooms, 48 units of affordable housing, 106,000-square-feet of creative offices, and 12,000-square-feet of cultural space. Santa Monica Lookout reports that the project is also designed to contain a grand plaza facing the ocean, two street-level pocket parks along its perimeter, and an elevated terrace park. One of those pocket parks is being designed to contain an ice skating rink. In total, the newly re-proposed project will bring roughly 2.86-acres of open space to the area, including the elevated terrace. The new changes represent a modest downsizing for the project: While previous iterations had risen up to 148-feet in height, the new proposals bring the tallest point of the project to 129 feet. The project also includes 200,000 fewer square feet of retail space and more hotel rooms than it did prior to the changes, up from 225 rooms initially. Renderings for the project depict a staggered stack of rectilinear building blocks that rise in height from a single story alongside the grand plaza to roughly 12-stories high toward the back of the site. The shifting building masses create roof terraces and covered outdoor loggia as they rise and are wrapped in glass curtain walls on all sides. Community members have until March 2 to review new renderings of the project. See the City of Santa Monica’s website for more information on the project.
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Brooks+Scarpa proposes mixed-use building clad in corrugated aluminum screens for North Hollywood

Filings with the Los Angeles Department of City Planning (LADCP) indicate that Los Angeles-based architects Brooks+Scarpa are working on a new, 60-unit mixed-use project in the city’s North Hollywood neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. The LADCP documents indicate that the new five-story, mixed-use project will contain six units dedicated to Very Low Income Households and 2,826 square feet of ground floor commercial space. The complex will also contain one level of underground parking with 90 parking stalls. The building is being designed to a maximum height of 60 feet and will contain 44 one-bedroom units, 12 studio units, and 4 two-bedroom units. It will also feature a collection of shared leisure spaces, including a central courtyard, outdoor deck area, and a community room. The complex is articulated as a building mass extruded from the footprint of the building. That mass is carved away in certain areas, particularly along southern and northern exposures—Camarillo and Bakman Streets, respectively—where the facade gives way to generous, interior courtyard areas. The Camarillo Street frontage contains the largest openings, creating a street-fronting, three-story plaza located above the building’s retail level. Distinctively, the building’s fifth level caps the front facade, creating a large entry portal to the building’s interior. The complex features tall and narrow bands of casement windows and sliding doors and is clad throughout in a white, corrugated aluminum screen wall system. The San Fernando Valley, a densely-populated and diverse region north of Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood, is currently seeing a boom in the construction of mid-rise, mixed-use projects, including the conversion of an outdated Westfield Corporation shopping mall by HKS Architects, Johnson Fain, and Togawa Smith Martin Architects and the development of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals by the Skid Row Housing Trust and Michael Maltzan Architects. This Brooks+Scarpa project is located adjacent to the Red Line subway line and Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit line. Developers HL Capital Holdings II have not released a construction timeline for the project.
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New 42-story tower signals burst of development coming to San Francisco’s Rincon Hill neighborhood

399 Fremont tower in San Francisco was first pitched in 2006. Delayed for nearly a decade due to the Great Recession, the tower was finally completed this year under the auspices of architects SCB and developer UDR, as a 42-story, 470-unit luxury apartment tower.

And in the years since it was first envisioned (by a design and development team no longer involved with the project), the neighborhood around the site—Rincon Hill, south of downtown San Francisco—has blossomed with urban activity. Plans are currently in the works for up to 20,000 new housing units between Rincon Hill and the adjacent Transbay area, where a new $2.25 billion multimodal transportation terminal by Pelli Clarke Pelli will open in late 2017. Through technical precision and determination, SCB has managed to turn a once-stalled project into one of the first to be completed in the area, creating a handsome tower smack in the middle of San Francisco’s newest residential enclave in the process.

The architects did so while adhering rather strictly to the tenants of the Rincon Hill Plan, a document set in motion in 2005 that calls for “retail shops and neighborhood services along Folsom Boulevard” and the transformation of surrounding streets into “traffic-calmed, landscaped residential streets lined with townhouses and front doors.” The future neighborhood is envisioned as a mixed-use enclave made up of mostly low-rise apartment blocks punctuated by “slender residential towers interspersed at heights ranging from 250 to 550 feet.”

Managing principal at SCB, Chris Pemberton, and design principal Strachan Forgan described the success of the project as hinging on the designs for each unit, an aspect that was perhaps underdeveloped in the earlier schemes. Forgan explained, “Units really do make the home; they’re an essential part of the project,” adding that “Multifamily residential is our expertise—the firm has designed over 25,000 units across the country. Thus, we were able to design this building to offer a variety of unit types, many more than a typical development would offer.”

In total, the tower has approximately 30 unit types and is shaped like a parallelogram in plan. Inscribed within that parallelogram is a “rugby-ball-shaped” section of the building that, according to Forgan, rises out of the principal mass and becomes the tower’s crown. The maneuver results in two sets of units, with one grouping facing northwest toward the business district and another looking southeast over the San Francisco Bay. The steeply angled south-facing roof crown contains a “sky lounge” and terrace, a programmatic component provided by the neighborhood plan that allowed the designers to give the tower a more striking silhouette. The sloping surface was originally designed to cant in the opposite direction, but the firm proposed a last-minute change in orientation to better complement the tower’s placement along the skyline and, conveniently, to create a broad southern exposure perfect for hosting a solar water-heating installation. The move helped the tower reduce power consumption by some 30 percent. As a result, 399 Fremont will be LEED Silver certified.

Otherwise, the project is made up of a standard mixed-use development vocabulary, with activated ground-floor areas, below-grade parking, and a slew of rooftop amenities. To control for seismic events, the project also features a pair of isolated mat slabs under both the podium and tower that each sit directly on the bedrock. Structural engineering on the project was done by MKA, who designed the two halves of the building to move independently of one another via a large seismic joint. Facade engineering was done by Arup. Arup also carried out thermal comfort analysis to ensure thermal comfort within the units throughout the daily solar cycle. The curtain walls, by manufacturer Yuanda, are designed to pop open during seismic events to relieve lateral pressure. Ground-floor spaces feature retail at the uphill side of Rincon Hill as well as a grand lobby for the apartment tower and a collection of landscaped entryways that mark the thresholds to townhouse units along Fremont Street, part of what Pemberton described as an “eyes on the street” approach to city planning contained within the Rincon Hill master plan.

Pemberton added that SCB developed the interior architecture as well as the physical form of the tower, saying “[399 Fremont] was a great collaboration between the architecture and interior design studios of the firm” and that there was a “holistic sense to the design, an understanding of the impact that the exterior has on the interior experience—and likewise, how the interior spaces influence the building’s exterior architecture.”

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The St. Louis Cardinals begin ambitious second phase of mixed-use development

The St. Louis Cardinals National League baseball team is leading the way in reimagining the sporting-event experience. Phase one of Ballpark Village, completed spring 2014, was the mixed-use development surrounding the team’s Busch Stadium called Ballpark Village. After the success of this $100-million project, the team and the city are preparing to begin the second, more ambitious phase of the plan.

With planning and design led by Denver-based architecture firm Hord Coplan Macht, Ballpark Village II will include residential, retail, hospitality, and office spaces. The development will consist of a pavilion with a 10,000-square-foot public market; a 29-story residential high-rise with 300 units looking directly into the stadium; 15,000 square feet of retail at its base; and a 10-story mixed-use building on the westernmost portion with 100,000 square feet of office space, 200 hotel rooms, and ground floor retail. The office space will be the first new Class A office tower to be built in St. Louis since 1989.

The development team plans to use the taxes generated by the phase one Ballpark Village project itself, in addition to private equity and debt investments, to finance $220-million Ballpark Village II.

Currently, the project is waiting for the city to review a bill that would amend the existing development agreement, allowing the developers to pursue their latest, more ambitious plan, which includes the new residential and office towers.

Mixed-use projects around new and old stadiums have become popular in cities hoping to attract year-round attendance to areas formerly used only for sporting events. Development of new offices, hotels, residential, and entertainment venues around the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field is well underway. Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena, currently under construction, will be part of the redeveloping 50-block District Detroit. The arena will be the centerpiece of planned neighborhoods that will include six theaters; retail, residential, and office spaces; and three sports venues. A similar development and stadium for the Texas Rangers has been approved in a ballot initiative and will cost an estimated $1 billion.

Though these more recent projects may be more ambitious in scale, there is no doubt that phase one of Ballpark Village is being used as a model—with an estimated $50 million in revenue in 2015, it has been deemed a major success. The next phase hopes to continue this success with the expanding of programs on the site. While the initial phase included mostly sports-related spaces, the new development will bring the Ballpark Village closer to being an actual village, and soon enough, Cardinals fans will be able to watch live games from their living rooms, maybe even in their bathrobes.

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