Posts tagged with "Recession":

Placeholder Alt Text

UPDATE: Related wrests control of Chicago Spire site from Garrett Kelleher

spire UPDATE [3:00 P.M.]: Related now has control of the Spire site, after embattled developer Garrett Kelleher transferred the deed Monday night. Related withdrew their claim in U.S. Bankruptcy Court following the transfer, reported the Chicago Tribune. They haven't released plans for development or sale of the notorious site, but President Curt Bailey issued this statement:
We are pleased to have resolution on 400 N. Lake Shore Drive, the site of the former Chicago Spire project.  We recognize the importance of this site to the City of Chicago and look forward to creating an architecturally significant and thoughtful development befitting this premier location. We are proud to have a long track-record of developing landmark buildings with world-class architects like 840 N. Lake Shore Drive, 500 N. Lake Shore Drive, Park Tower, 340 on the Park and most recently, 111 W. Wacker Drive.  We look forward to continuing that legacy on this marquee site.
-- Halloween came and went last Friday, and with it so may have developer Garrett Kelleher's chance at reviving the Chicago Spire, an ambitious supertall project that faltered during the recession and left an empty cofferdam at 400 North Lake Shore Drive. Under the terms of an earlier settlement in bankruptcy court, Kelleher's company, Shelbourne North Water Street, was required to make a payment to Related Midwest by midnight Saturday. When it did not receive the payment, Related promptly filed papers with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago to wrest control of the prime real estate from Kelleher. Last year Related moved to buy the dormant project's mounting debt, but part of Related's development team later sued Kelleher for more than $95 million in guarantees for the project. Kelleher surprised many observers in February by offering bullish statements to the media and stirring rumors of a second chance for the Santiago Calatrava–designed skyscraper. Friday's missing payment undercuts those claims. As the Chicago Tribune's Mary Ellen Podmolik reported:
Related, arguing that Shelbourne breached an already approved settlement and the confirmed bankruptcy plan by not making a payment or handing over the deed, wants U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Janet Baer to order Shelbourne to relinquish the deed to the 2.2-acre site.
It looks increasingly unlikely that the Spire will rise again. Under Related's control, however, the downtown location could see some sort of development—if not the audacious starchitecture for which it was intended. A court hearing on the motion is scheduled for the morning of November 4.
Placeholder Alt Text

Pictorial> OneEleven, Chicago’s ritzy Loop residential with a rocky history

Developers Related completed its resurrection of 111 West Wacker Drive earlier this year, opening a luxury rental tower on the Chicago River where for years stood a ghostly concrete frame left over from a previous owner's attempt to build. The site was originally intended to house the first Shangri-La Hotel in the U.S. Four years after the recession halted construction with just 28 stories of structural skeleton complete, Related broke "ground" again, this time planning about 60 stories and about 500 luxury apartments. That redevelopment finished up this summer, opening in July. About 60 percent of the units have since been rented, said Related spokeswoman Tricia Van Horn. Renting is the only option for the 504 units, which range from 575-square-foot studios to three-bedroom, three-bath residences of 2,400 square feet. They cost anywhere from $2,395 to $11,500 a month for one of the four penthouses. OneEleven's segmented construction led to some interesting design adaptations. Having scaled back from pre-recession ambitions, the new owners stacked a smaller building on top of the 28-story base, bifurcating the floorplate and creating some interesting outdoor spaces where the Shangri-La plan juts out at the 28th floor. A recessed zig-zag in the facade references datum lines of nearby buildings and alludes to the unusual construction history while shielding the transition between its disjointed floorplans. Views from outdoor “Club OneEleven” down Clark Street are spectacular, if marred a bit by the building's neighbor to the south. But rather than cram lower south-facing floors with low-light apartments, Related conceded that space to back-of-house, building systems and some amenities. The luxury rentals are targeted to “people who are really interested in having an urban life,” Van Horn said, underscoring the building's singular position in this section of the Loop not typically known for residential developments. Take a look inside OneEleven with these photos by Scott Frances.
Placeholder Alt Text

Post-Recession, Las Vegas’ Builders are “Cautiously Aggressive”

“It’s a fun time in Vegas right now, with the economy up,” said Beth Campbell, principal and managing director of Gensler’s Las Vegas office. Downtown is being reborn, thanks in no small part to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s multi-million dollar investment. The Strip, too, is booming—see the High Roller observation wheel, which opened on March 31. At the same time, the spendthrift breeziness of the pre-recession years is gone. “Everyone is coming back to life, but with a refined focus and purpose,” said Campbell. “I would say the clients and developers are cautiously aggressive...they still want to grow, still want to reach for the sky...But they’re really focused on how they’re applying [their money] to make these projects happen.” Campbell described the change as a “big shift to experiential design.” In most cases, property owners elect to pour most of their money into key client areas, keeping behind-the-scenes spaces simple. “It’s the peanut butter concept,” said Campbell. “You can spread it thin across the whole piece [of bread] or just put it all in one corner.” As an example, Campbell cited Gensler’s renovation of an existing office campus for budget airline Allegiant Air’s new headquarters. Construction on the five-building, 120,000 square-foot complex began last month. “It’s been a very measured approach to this new facility for them, keeping in line with their corporate values and their low-cost approach,” said Campbell. “But they put their people first, and they’re doing the same thing in their office space.” To accommodate multiple work modes, Gensler created a variety of spaces, including open office space, individual work stations, and collaboration zones. Flexibility was the keynote. “Although we’re doing drywall partitions, we’re doing it in such a manner that if they want to move these boxes they can,” said Campbell. Gensler also recently renovated The AXIS Theater inside Planet Hollywood, home to Britney Spears’s “A Piece of Me” show. The clients “had one mission in mind and that was to create a great experience for the people who are coming,” said Campbell. As with Allegiant Air, the theater’s owners “were very measured, they were very methodical about how they wanted to apply their money.” The theater’s lobby is outfitted in shades of grey and black, the sharp lines of the asymmetrical portal balanced by a massive LED sculpture spiraling from the ceiling. In keeping with the nightclub theme, the auditorium’s walls are also black, as is its domed ceiling. Rows of purple seats hug a half-ring of VIP tables and, against the stage, two standing areas. Campbell sees last month’s RFP for a Downtown Master Plan as further evidence of the new zeitgeist, which couples renewed optimism with careful planning. “It’s a mechanism for the city to evaluate what’s in place, what do we really have,” she said. “It’s going to take a look at, are they spending their money in the right places?” Timed to coincide with the completion of a new form-based code for downtown, the master plan will define an overall strategy for the city’s revitalization. “It’s really interesting to watch,” said Campbell. “It’s measured. It’s not just a shotgun approach.”
Placeholder Alt Text

University of Michigan plans $28 million architecture building expansion

Five years ago, the University of Michigan shelved its plans to expand its Art and Architecture Building. Now, a bit further along on the country’s economic recovery, the University said this week it would build a $28 million addition. University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning will be the primary tenants of the building, which U-M has tapped Integrated Design Solutions and Preston Scott Cohen to design. Located on U-M’s North Campus, it will also house the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design. The new wing will be named for Alfred Taubman, the architecture college’s namesake, who donated $12.5 million toward the addition. Plans for a $13 million, 16,300-square-feet addition were originally drawn up in 2007, but administrators scuttled that project after the financial crisis. Now with twice the budget, the design is hotly anticipated on campus.
Placeholder Alt Text

5-OH Rising Out of Park Fifth’s Ashes in Los Angeles

At long last, the recession-doomed site of the high-rise condo complex known as Park Fifth is seeing some action. This particular patch of ground, across the street from Pershing Square near downtown Los Angeles, has been the subject of a tug-of-war between would-be investors and market forces for at least seven years. Park Fifth, a pair of 76- and 41-story towers designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, went down with the real estate bubble in 2008. Even the current project, dubbed 5-OH, has seen a lot of uncertainty during its relatively short life. “We went through a lot of studies and a lot of different client groups,” said Harley Ellis Devereaux’s Daniel Gehman. “[There were] a lot of shifting sands.” Today things look more certain. MacFarlane Partners bought the site in October of last year, and are moving ahead with a pair of residential towers Gehman estimates will cost (very roughly) $260 million. 5-OH has already cruised through its zoning administrator hearing. If all goes well, construction crews will break ground in early 2015. Though smaller than Park Fifth would have been, 5-OH’s 615 residential units—split between a 24-story high-rise and its seven-story companion—dwarf what earlier plans envisioned. Several previous clients “tried to get it approved as a seven-story building, [but] it became evident in working with the council office that that wasn’t going to fly,” said Gehman. Harley Ellis Deveraux looked at the site and found that “there was a very evident place to put a tower.” From there, said Gehman, the high-rise practically planned itself, with the space in back reserved for the smaller building. In terms of aesthetics, the architects had two options. They could design a contemporary complex within the strict parameters of downtown design guidelines. Or they could draw on the existing historic building stock for inspiration. “We decided to be as contextual as possible,” Gehman explained. “We wanted the buildings to feel like they’re playing nice with their neighbors rather than getting into their face.” On its street sides, the mid-rise is clad in cement-fiber and metal panels. In the courtyards, the architects opted for plaster and other traditional residential materials. The courtyard balconies’ metal railings mimic the fire escapes of the older buildings nearby. The 24-story tower is much more glassy, but in a way that pays homage to its neighbors, particularly the Title Guarantee Building. “There’s a motif of trying to get the windows to look like they’re recessed in a thicker wall. It’s not a glass box, but glass strategically placed,” said Gehman. The cream-colored panelized metal skin creates “sort of abstracted traditional forms rendered in contemporary materials.” A community room and pool deck on top of the taller structure will provide views of both the historic core and the taller contemporary towers to the west. “One of the reasons I like the site so much is it’s extremely transit-rich,” said Gehman. There are bus stops at every corner, plus the Pershing Square subway stop within a stone’s throw. “It would be very, very easy to reduce auto dependency if you lived on the site,” Gehman concluded.
Placeholder Alt Text

Related Eyes Chicago Spire Debt as Speculation On New Life Swirls

The Chicago Spire site, currently the city’s most-watched hole in the ground, has had false starts before. This week The Wall Street Journal reported that Related Cos. of New York signed on to buy the stalled project's debt, raising suspicions that development might proceed on the riverfront site. Santiago Calatrava’s twisting tower design was to stand 2,000 feet high and house condos, but the $64 million land bordering Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville sat idle after the recession hit in 2008. The troubled project has been tangled up in litigation ever since. Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency put the project's $93 million in debt on the market earlier this year. While Irish developer Garett Kelleher’s firm still holds title to the parcel, and Related’s reported deal remains up in the air, speculation swirls around the site which not long ago was prepared to house the nation’s tallest building.
Placeholder Alt Text

Miami’s development booming: Top 11 starchitect-designs remaking the Magic City

After a tumultuous few years, Miami’s real estate market is on the rise once again. When the recession hit the city in 2007, new developments came to a dramatic halt and abandoned construction sites became ubiquitous. But now, a surge of new projects—running the gamut from residential and retail to hotels and cultural institutions—are cropping up around Miami with many more slated for construction in the next few years. And some heavy hitters, such as Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Herzog and de Meuron, and Bjarke Ingels, have signed up to lend their design sensibility to Miami's changing landscape. The Miami Herald reported that the city now boasts 20 new condo towers with an additional five towers in the works for neighborhoods just north and south of downtown Miami. AN has compiled a list of the most significant projects taking shape in the Magic City. Collins Park Garage by Zaha Hadid Your typical parking garage is usually a utilitarian, aesthetically bland structure that falls short on imagination. The city of Miami, however, has been reversing this trend and has commissioned architects to elevate the run-of-the-mill car park into a one-of-a-kind piece of architecture that draws visitors. Zaha Hadid is the latest architect to put her spin on the parking garage. For Collins Park, she has designed a sleek, curving structure that offers 400 parking spaces and retail on the ground level. The car park is in the process of being built. 1000 Museum by Zaha Hadid Zaha Hadid is leaving her imprint on Miami. Next up, she'll design a high-end residential tower, One Thousand Museum, for local developers Gregg Covin and Louis Birdman, that will be located on Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown Miami across from what will be Museum Park. According to Miami Condo Investments, the luxury high-rise will consist of 83 units and will run from $4 million up $12 million. Jade Signature by Herzog & De Meuron It seems like Herzog & De Meuron always have something brewing in Miami. The firm just released renderings of their new luxury condo, Jade Signature, located right on the ocean in Sunny Isles Beach. The planned 650-foot-tall, 55-story tower, though, might be over the Federal Aviation Administration’s height limit since any building over 499-feet at that location is considered dangerous. Asi Cymbal Building by TEN Arquitectos Developer Asi Cymbal has selected Enrique Norten and TEN Arquitectos to design a new mid-rise commercial building in Miami’s Design District. The development will consists of high-end retail, parking, offices, event space, and rooftop restaurant. The developer and Curbed Miami are currently holding a competition to name the new building. Portside Miami PortMiami launched a competition in 2011 commissioning plans for a new commercial district, dubbed the World Trade Center, and just recently revealed finalist PlusUrbia’s designs, which consists of a mix of infrastructure updates and major commercial and residential development. PlusUrbia’s plan includes new cruise-ship terminals and berths, and according to Curbed, skyscrapers, an expanded marina, hotels, retail, and luxury towers. SLS Hotel by Arquitectonica and Philippe Starck The chatter in Miami is that local developer Jorge Perez of the Related Group plans on building a 132-room SLS hotel designed by Arquitectonics with interiors by Philippe Starck, in addition to 450 condos ranging in size from 720 to 1,500 square feet, in the Brickell area. The 51-story tower is currently under pre-construction and is expected to be complete in 2015. The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science by Grimshaw The new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science (formally the Miami Science Museum), designed by Grimshaw Architects, is a $273 million complex that will house galleries, a planetarium, and wildlife center. This 250,000-square-foot building, located in Museum Park, will function like a “living building” with a vegetated roof and neighboring wetlands. The project is expected to be completed by 2014. Miami Marine Stadium This modernist 6,566-seat stadium perched on the Virginia Key has been abandoned for over twenty years, but now, steps are being taken to bring it back to life. Cuban-American architect Hilario Candela’s concrete modernist stadium is the first purpose-built venue for powerboat racing in the US. A few years ago, the stadium, now listed as a National Treasure, received $3 million in funding from Miami-Dade County Commissioners to preserve the modernist stadium and also turn it back into a water sports venue with concerts. At the end of last year, the Marine Stadium site plan, which includes a “Flex Space Park” and “Maritime Center” for operations and amenities, won the city’s approval, and next it goes in front of the Miami City Commission and the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority. Once the plan gets the green light, Friends of Miami Marine Stadium will focus their efforts on fundraising for the stadium. The Grove at Grand Bay by Bjarke Ingels Group The once popular celebrity-frequented Grand Bay Hotel will become the site of Bjarke Ingels’ two new twisting residential towers in Coconut Grove. The 20-story luxurious high-rises will feature terraces, wraparound balconies, and a roof deck with private and communal pools. The $400 million project is slated for completion in 2014. Miami Beach Convention Center The competition is heating up in Miami between two developments teams vying for the massive Miami Beach Convention Center project. According to Curbed, Rem Koolhaas, the architect on the South Beach ACE team (with developers Robert Wennett and Tishman and landscape architect Raymond Jungles), went head to head with Bjarke Ingels of the Portman-CMC team (with developr Ugo Columbo and landscape architects West 8) at a public meeting a few weeks ago to show off their designs. Both teams propose new landscaping and parks, retail space, and residential developments for the 52-acre site in addition to plans for the convention center and updating the area around City Hall. Pérez Art Museum Miami Just as Herzog & de Meuron embarks on the Jade Signature tower, the firm is nearing completion of its 200,000 square-foot Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM and formally know as  the Miami Art Museum). The new three-story building will house interior and exterior programming space for the museum’s collections and special exhibitions; an educational complex with classrooms, auditorium, and digital workspaces; and a restaurant and store. Shaded by a canopy, the museum will sit on an elevated platform and open to a veranda and plazas. If all goes as planned, the new building will be open to the public by fall of 2013.
Placeholder Alt Text

Smaller Airports Struggle with Vacant Space

The airline industry was hit hard by the recession—2011 had fewer takeoffs than any year since 2002. Airports in cities like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Oakland are feeling the effects of that contraction, leaving one-time regional hubs and smaller airports with vacant and underused terminals. A report on airport building reuse commissioned last year by the Transportation Research Board found enplanements were down more than 60 percent in St. Louis over the last decade. Growing interest in regional rail transit could place further pressure on smaller airports to get creative with their extra space, especially as they face costly demolition bills and shrinking revenue.
Placeholder Alt Text

California: From Bad To Worse

Just when it looked like things might be getting better, the California construction outlook for the year, it appears, has gone from bad to worse. According to McGraw-Hill Construction’s 2009 California Construction Outlook: Mid-Summer Update, the state’s budget crisis has had a nasty effect on our industry, “reducing state tax revenues and worsening the state’s construction declines.” The report says that construction starts for the state are expected to drop 22% in 2009 to $36.5 billion. Here are some of the sobering figures in the report:•Single family starts are expected to fall 31% and multifamily starts will decline 39% in 2009. •Commercial and industrial construction is set to drop 37% this year, a consequence of the weak California economy and continuing budget crisis. •Institutional building project starts are expected to slip 23% in 2009, due to pressures on federal, state and local tax revenues from the budget crisis. •Public works projects, despite the legislature’s inability to balance the state budget, are expected to benefit from the federal stimulus package and 2006’s Proposition 1 bond referenda, so this sector will slip only 5% in 2009. Utility construction, given the focus on alternative energy, will gain 4% over the year.
Placeholder Alt Text

Lessons From The Past

We just came across a story (above) by David Dunlap in the New York Times whose headline reads: Recession Is Ravaging Architectural Firms. In it architects bemoan the state of the industry and make claims like "it will never be the same again," and "I've had the chance to see a lot of ups and downs. This one, to me, is without a doubt the worst." Dunlap suggests that 'Now, having shrunk, firms may decide to stay smaller.' And one architect thinks this is the next Great Depression: "We don't see a way out, a real turning point, until the end of the decade. If you're talking about no significant work until the latter half of the decade, you're talking about a situation that is somewhat similar to the 1930's." Surprise! This isn't a recent story. It's dated May 17, 1992. So apparently people always think their recession is the worst, and that things will never get back to the way they were. But so far they've always been wrong. So don't listen to people like this guy, who back then claimed, "We are never going to reach the employment levels we demanded in the 80's... "We are never going to be fully employed at the level we've been turning out students." Not that looking at the past doesn't teach valuable lessons. Said one wise architect, "There's been a realization on a lot of firms' parts that they need to begin adjusting the focus of their practice.They will also be competing for work farther and farther afield." Others were more specific: "It's high time," said David M. Childs, the chairman of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. "We've cleaned house and it's been extremely healthy. We've been forced to make decisions we knew we had to make five or six years ago that we didn't want to make or didn't have time to make." The recession, said Eugene Kohn, prompted Kohn Pedersen Fox to explore new kinds of buildings and technology, overseas ventures and smaller but architecturally challenging commissions. "The negative is obviously the sadness of letting go of very good people you care about," he said. "But the chance to rethink the structure and the philosophical approach of your firm is a good thing." We're in a new business," said Richard Roth Jr., chairman of Emery Roth & Sons, a 94-year-old firm. "We saw the handwriting on the wall that architecture is not going to be the bread and butter of the 1990's, so we formed an interiors company" -- Emery Roth & Sons Interior Design/Facilities Management. The new company will probably generate 35 to 40 percent of all income for Emery Roth this year. "A lot of commercially oriented firms are now trying to scramble around to develop an understanding and expertise in the institutional market -- health care and criminal justice buildings," said  Jerry A. Davis, managing principal in the New York office of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum.