Posts tagged with "Redevelopment":

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Frank Gehry might design Facebook’s new London headquarters

Since 2017, Facebook has stated its intention to establish a new British headquarters within the ongoing redevelopment of King’s Cross Central in London. The London Times speculates that architect Frank Gehry is currently in talks with the social media giant to fit out two adjoining buildings, currently designated T2 and T3, as well as a stand-alone building on a separate plot. The buildings T2 and T3 are designed by the British firm Bennetts Associates and are slated for completion in early 2019. In total, Facebook looks to add three buildings totaling more than 700,000 square feet to its London footprint. According to the Architects’ Journal, Gehry has designed numerous buildings for Facebook in the past, including its campus in Menlo Park and a ‘fit-out’ of Rathbone Square. The larger development surrounding Facebook's potential new headquarters, King’s Cross Central, is a 67-acre mixed-use redevelopment site encompassing fifty new buildings, 1,900 homes, twenty new streets, and twenty-six acres of public space. British developer Argent is leading the project and the master planners are Allies & Morrison and Porphyrios Associates. The transformation of King’s Cross from decrepit industrial district to emerging tech hub is influenced by its proximity to King’s Cross Station and St. Pancras International. These stations provide unrivaled rail transport access to international, regional and local transport networks. According to the Urban Land Institute, over 63 million passengers will pass through King’s Cross–St. Pancras by 2022, and approximately 45,000 Londoners will directly live or work in the district. Facebook is not the only tech giant shifting personnel to King’s Cross Central. In 2017, Google submitted plans for a nearly one million square foot headquarters in the sprawling redevelopment site. Designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studios, the 11-story building will extend horizontally approximately one thousand feet, a distance roughly on par with the height of London’s tallest building, the Shard.
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Rockefeller Center plaza is transformed by circular portals and raised streetscape in a new plan

A 1960s-era sunken courtyard at the former McGraw-Hill Building is set to rise following a “sweeping transformation,” according to the New York Post. While the current plaza is half-buried and disconnected from the sidewalk, the Rockefeller Group and Italy-based Citterio-Viel & Partners architects have announced plans to raise the public clearing to ground level and knit the streetscape back together. Opened in 1969 as part of the Rockefeller Center complex expansion, the space sits between West 48th and West 49th streets and pays homage to the popular recessed design of the original Rockefeller Plaza. Designed by Wallace Harrison, the plaza currently cuts off retail access from the street. The redevelopment, estimated to cost in the “mid-to-high eight digits,” the Post reports, will fill in the below-ground public space with 2 levels of retail across 35,000 square feet, while turning the topside into a pedestrian-friendly plaza. The architects have chosen to reference the original design by including a large aperture in the center of the space, flanked by a set of descending staircases on each side that looks down on the businesses below. Citterio-Viel & Partners have also proposed updating the pavement to “reflect” the vertical facade of 1221 6th Avenue by extending lighter stone stripes from the base of the building. What’s unclear at this time is what will happen to the public art pieces currently on display. The 50 foot tall stainless steel “Sun Triangle,” designed by futurist Athelstan Spilhaus, has been in the courtyard since the building’s opening but is nowhere to be found in this new rendering. The abstract sculpture references the Earth’s position relative to the sun, with each leg pointed to the sun’s position during solar noon at the summer and winter solstice. One of the few elements of the plaza viewable from the street, the triangle cuts a sharp contrast against the McGraw-Hill Building behind it. Rockefeller Group Senior Vice President Bill Edwards has stated that construction will only begin after an anchor tenant for the retail space has been locked down, with construction estimated to finish in 2019.
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Amtrak and partners reveal massive redevelopment plan for Philly’s University City

University City in central Philadelphia is in for some major changes in the coming decades thanks to a new redevelopment plan from Amtrak and partners SEPTA, Brandywine Realty Trust, and Drexel University. 30th Street Station will be the center point of the overhaul, which will see a new, dense urban neighborhood rise over a rail yard along the Schuylkill River. (Read our prior coverage of the SOM-led design of the plan here.) The ambitious plan will be put into place over the course of 35 years, starting with capping of the existing Amtrak rail yard to accommodate a proposed 10 million square feet of development. The total plan will consist of 18 million square feet of new development and will include housing for 10,000 residents. The development also offers 1.2 million square feet of commercial space to an individual corporate or institutional tenant. The project is expected to cost $6.5 billion, with $2 billion going to infrastructure investments and the other $4.5 billion coming from developers. Among the infrastructure improvements is a plan to relocate a ramp for the Schuylkill Expressway in favor of an intercity bus terminal. A new pedestrian plaza will surround the existing train station. The station itself will also receive a major renovation that will add retail space and a new concourse. The redevelopment site consists of a total of 175 acres in the University City neighborhood, 88 of which is occupied by the rail yard. This plan is the culmination of a two-year study of the site, which extends east of Drexel’s campus between Walnut and Spring Garden Streets and northeast from 30th Street Station. The official blueprint will be released on Thursday morning. Amtrak’s first steps in executing the plan are expected to be the planning of the pedestrian plaza and receiving permission from PennDOT to relocate the highway ramp.
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Groundbreaking at the hulking Divine Lorraine marks the end of blight at Philly’s towering landmark

Groundbreaking on the Divine Lorraine, Philadelphia's luxury hotel turned graffiti artist playground, begins this afternoon. Completed in 1894, Willis G. Hale's 10 story Lorraine Apartments featured state-of-the-art technology (electric lights), and bourgeois amenities (a kitchen staff that cooked for the tenants, eliminating the need for household servants).  At the beginning of the 20th century, the apartments were converted into a hotel. The Reverend Jealous Divine bought the structure in 1948, and opened the country's first integrated hotel. Abandoned in 1999, the structure steadily decayed, battered by urban explorers, graffiti artists, and sixteen Philadelphia winters. Last year, The Architect's Newspaper explored the property from the ground up with developer Eric Blumenfeld. Blumenfeld plans to turn the $44 million property into a hotel. If the hotel's capsule collection on Instagram is any indication, the Divine Lorraine should receive an extensive aesthetic makeover from the redevelopment team. Philadelphia firm Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) is spearheading the renovation.
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Unveiled> Columbus, Ohio redevelops site of dead downtown mall

The future came into focus last week for the site of a defunct mall in downtown Columbus, Ohio. By the time City Center mall closed in 2009, only its parking structure remained a popular destination. Columbus Downtown Development Corporation replaced the dead mall with Columbus Commons, a nine-acre park slated for mixed-use development over the coming years. Renderings from NBBJ, published March 25 in Columbus Underground, show the latest phase of that project: a modern, 17-story mixed-use tower that developers The Daimler Group and Kaufman Development are calling Two25 Commons. Another NBBJ tower dubbed 250 High is already under construction on the south end of the Commons site, set to rise 12 stories. The new building will have 20,000 square feet of ground floor retail, 125,000 square feet of office space across five floors, and 11 stories containing 170 apartment and condo units. It will have underground parking and a connection to the existing parking structure via a new pedestrian bridge over Rich Street.
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Deborah Berke uses modern design, modern art to revive Indianapolis’ Old City Hall

A white elephant in Indiana's capital city may see new life after decades of decay—with a little help from modern art. When it opened in 1909, Indianapolis' old city hall building inspired the mayor, Charles A. Bookwalter, to remark: “I believe that in all the years to come no citizen, man, woman, or child, will pass this corner and read that motto without feeling responsibility for good citizenship in this city of ours.” By 1962 city and county government had outgrown the neoclassical building, designed by architects Rubush & Hunter, and it has served as temporary exhibition space ever since. Now the Louisville-based developers 21c Museum Hotels plans to redevelop Old City Hall along with an adjacent lot, pumping $55 million into a mixed-use development centered on a new museum of contemporary art. According to the project announcement, the property will feature “a boutique hotel with approximately 150 rooms, guest suites with private terraces on the rooftop, art-filled meeting and event spaces and a unique chef-driven food and beverage concept showcasing local and regional farmers and producers.” City Hall itself appears destined for an art museum that will feature rotating exhibitions and remain open to the public, free of charge. “Arts-related tenants” will occupy the second, third and fourth floors of Old City Hall. 21c has signed on frequent collaborator, New York City–based Deborah Berke Partners to design the project. Berke is also signed on to design a new building for Cummins in Indianapolis, proposing a glassy, bending form and extensively landscaped public spaces for the fuel systems manufacturer. A bit less than half of the project financing will be loans from the federal government and local officials, as well as historic tax credits, if the developers get their way. If that happens, city officials will be fulfilling a promise to redevelop the municipal building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and factors into Indianapolis' City 2020 masterplan. “When I became the director I felt a certain pull to do something,” said Adam Thies, Indy's director of metropolitan development. “Letting it sit vacant was akin to letting it slip away from the memory of civic consciousness,” Thies made the remarks in a video about the project for The Bicentennial Plan for Indianapolis. https://vimeo.com/98892394
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Indianapolis Gas Station Could Make Way for Mixed-Use Development

Some gas stations boast high-design and architectural bonafides, but usually they’re more significant for what comes in their wake. So it is for a closed gas station at Broad Ripple and College avenues in Indianapolis, along the city’s central canal. Browning Investments has plans [PDF] to turn the site into a $25 million mixed-use development, totaling up to 100 apartments and 32,500 square feet of retail space across five stories. The site currently contains a Shell station and a 40-unit apartment complex built in the 1930s. Browning is seeking TIF funds reportedly to help lure in Whole Foods as a retail tenant. UrbanIndy’s Curt Alles laid out some design concerns with the project, which drew “an uproar from residents and business owners” nearby when it was first publicized in April. Alles writes:

“Taken as a whole, residential density (over 50 units/acre) would see a vast increase with this development taking a step towards making Broad Ripple much more viable as a transit supportive village typology …  Sadly, another dominating structure solely dedicated to automobile parking will be some of the baggage this development will bring with it, but I suppose it is a trade off that Indianapolis will have to accept for the foreseeable future as robust rapid transit is not yet a reality.”

The project awaits a rezoning and variance hearing Aug. 15.
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Flint Public Art Project’s Free City Fest Reclaims Razed Chevy Site

The ongoing efforts of artists and designers to reignite the spark of downtown development in aging industrial cities face no simple task. But as architects and developers begin to put pencil to paper, the best public art projects draw on the spiritual side of that renewal. Flint, Michigan’s inaugural Free City Festival, held May 3-5, did just that when it revived a mile-long stretch of now-razed Chevrolet plants with public art, transformational lighting displays and a reverberating gospel choir. “There was a such a sense of heaviness about this space. It was a place where so many people worked,” said Stephen Zacks, executive director of the Flint Public Art Project. “It’s a kind of cleansing experience, for it to no longer be a blank space.” They installed more than 75 projects, including work by NAO, Srjdan Jovanovic Weiss's firm, Boston-based architect Jae K. Kim, Flint’s Freeman Greer, Ann Arbor-based architect Catie Newell of Alibi Studio, New York-based architects Matthias Neumann and Natalia Roumeliotian, and an inflatable shelter by Michael Flynn modeled after Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate in Chicago (above). The festival was produced with funding from ArtPlace, a consortium of national foundations in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The organizers are looking for sponsors to help repeat their success next year. It isn’t the only public art plot to rejuvenate the one-time home of General Motors. Recently London-based Two Islands took first place in the inaugural Flat Lot Competition, floating plans to erect a mirror-clad foreclosure icon that would douse a downtown public square with cool mists on hot summer days. “There are things people think they know about Flint, but aren’t really reflective of the city today,” Zacks said. “If we can create great spaces, we can start to consolidate a new image and identity of the place.”
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And They’re Off! Hollywood Park Race Track to Be Redeveloped as Neighborhood

Less than two weeks ago, the "Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" sent 20 thoroughbreds racing around the track at the Kentucky Derby, but across the country, Inglewood's Hollywood Park race track has announced that it will be ceasing all races at the end of this year. Forever. The race track is set to be replaced by about 3,000 homes, more than 600,000 square feet of retail space, 75,000 square feet of commercial space, a renovated casino, about 25 acres of parks, and and a 300-room hotel. The 238-acre master plan, overseen by Wilson Meany and designed by a team including Cooper Robertson, AECOM, and Mia Lehrer and Associates, was actually approved by Inglewood City Council back in 2009, but because of the recession work had been put on hold until now. Most housing will be single family, organized around curving, tree-lined streets. The track, which opened in June 1938, will run its final races from Nov. 7 through Dec. 22. It joins Bay Meadows in Silicon Valley's San Mateao as a recent California racetrack to be replaced by a mixed use community.
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Coming Soon To Vacant Lots in St. Louis: Chess, Farming, Sunflower Rehab

The winners of St. Louis’ first-ever “Sustainable Land Lab” competition, put on by Washington University and city officials, attempted to make the most of a regrettably abundant resource: vacant lots. Local architects took top honors in a competition that garnered some four dozen submissions. Each winner gets a two-year lease on a North St. Louis vacant lot and $5,000 in seed money to realize their ideas. Five winning projects will share four lots (two finalist teams combined their proposals into one new plan) across the city. 1. Bistro Box  / Renewing Roots Urban Farm (now called Our Farm) — Repurposed shipping containers comprise a small, unpretentious restaurant attached to an urban farm. 2. Chess Pocket Park — Just what it sounds like.  A small park meant to build community around outdoor chess tables. 3. Mighty Mississippians — A "modern agricultural model" would combine farming, recreation and environmental remediation in a permacultural park. 4.Sunflower+ Project — A test plot for environmental remediation via sunflower and winter wheat farming. The plants will be encouraged through electroculture, an experimental farming technique that uses electricity to encourage plant growth. St. Louis, like many cities pock-marked with vacant land, spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year just mowing vacant parcels. The land lab competition follows other innovative design competitions, like Flint, Michigan's Flat Lot and the Cleveland Design Competition, that encourage adaptive reuse and creative public projects throughout the Midwest. A ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled for April 27.
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Massive Post Office Development in Chicago Moves Forward

International Property Developers (IPD) has renewed plans for massive developments around Chicago’s Old Main Post Office. IPD bought the structure in 2009 for $40 million and has been working with Chicago-based architects Antunovich Associates on a plan to surround the massive building, which has almost as much interior space as Willis Tower, with three new towers. The first phase, expected to take 5-7 years, would be a 100-story tower with 800,000 square feet of retail, 2,900 residential units, and 525,000 square feet of office space. Following that, a second 2,000-foot-tall tower would go up, adding 3,500 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of office space, and 920 hotel rooms. The project’s 5,700-space parking garage, rising six stories, would be built during the first phase, project representatives said at a public meeting Tuesday. Those numbers are daunting, but so is the original acquisition, after all. They would need a sizable anchor tenant to lend the proposal some economic legitimacy. A casino, perhaps? Aldermanic support for the $3.5 billion development has apparently not waned, nor has scrutiny of its decidedly suburban sensibility and so-far uninspiring design.
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Dan Gilbert Adds Two Towers to Detroit Real Estate Portfolio

1001 Woodward, on right Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans founder and perennial champion of Detroit’s downtown real estate market, recently added two skyscrapers to his collection. The two towers are on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue. He acquired the 1916 Albert Kahn-designed Vinton Building (left) in December and scooper up the 1001 Woodward tower (right), built in 1965, this month. For more insight on the company’s real estate enterprise, which now totals 2.8 million square feet of commercial and residential space in Detroit, read our Q&A with Gilbert's real estate partner Jim Ketai here.