Posts tagged with "Transit Oriented Development":

Placeholder Alt Text

L.A.’s expanding subway line spurs first crop of luxury towers

By the time currently planned extensions to Los Angeles’s Purple Line are completed in 2024, the subway line will run from Downtown L.A. to Westwood, roughly nine miles further than it does today. Work on the extension is well underway, and, not by coincidence, the first crop of Purple Line–adjacent luxury high-rise housing projects recently came online, providing a glimpse at what L.A.’s residents can look forward to as transit starts to rework surrounding neighborhoods. As speculative developments, the new crop of towers represents a sort of trial run for transit-oriented luxury housing in L.A. The new buildings are not innovative so much as they are novel, imported typologies for a city in which the wealthiest denizens typically occupy mountainside perches, not the tops of towers. These first projects share a few qualities—namely that several came into being as the worst of the Great Recession hit, products of not only hard work but also a litany of delays, project sales, and redesigns. Their final manifestations, hard-fought as they were, hint at some of the shortcomings the recession generated: generic podium-and-tower massing, use of conventional materials like smooth stucco and glass, and generous, if not overly fussy, shared amenity spaces.
Downtown, two projects—the TEN50 apartments by HansonLA and Atelier DTLA by San Francisco–based Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB)—will bring a combined 514 units to a dense neighborhood already connected to the existing transit network. The TEN50 condominium complex, which features an architecturally dynamic form despite its conventional construction systems and materials, was first approved over a decade ago, but did not enter construction until 2015. The 151-unit complex rises 24 stories and features 5,900 square feet of groundfloor retail. The tower is wrapped in expansive window assemblies and features projecting balconies. At one corner, planar massing shifts as multistory, undulating curtainwall-clad volumes jog in and out of the main building mass, creating a series of overhanging terraces. The building’s most striking amenity? A drone landing pad on the sixth floor designed in anticipation of robot-based on-demand delivery services. Two blocks closer to the subway line, SCB’s 33-story Atelier DTLA apartment building features 363 luxury rental units in a black glass-clad tower. The structure features an expansive fifth floor amenity level complete with swimming pool, planted terraces, bocce court, and a shared lounge carved out from the main building mass. The tower’s rooftop terrace has wraparound views and a second swimming pool. The apartments themselves feature generous interior designs by Rodrigo Vargas Design, with bedrooms and living areas oriented around the tower’s slightly canted and sometimes cantilevered exterior walls.
In Koreatown, the Purple Line’s current terminus, Steinberg Architect’s 190-unit 3033 Wilshire bolsters the “linear downtown” running along Wilshire Boulevard. The tower’s floor-to-ceiling curtain-wall facades are interrupted by vertical spandrels; along the tower’s most prominent corner, the walls gently angle inwardly, creating long, tapered balconies. The larger units are designed with bedrooms spaced far enough apart to accommodate shared living arrangements, according to the architects. A podium-level dog run is fronted by a series of private terraces adjacent to the space, while operable awning windows and inset balconies rhythmically interrupt the tower’s stucco-clad facade along this exposure. The 40-story Ten Thousand Santa Monica tower by Handel Architects is decidedly the most high-end of the bunch. The 283-unit tower was completed in 2016 and features canted exterior facades and a broken envelope that provides each of the six to eight units per floor focused views and variable outdoor patio spaces. The units feature interior design by Shamir Shah Design and include 10-foot-tall ceilings throughout, as well as fancy finishes like Italian titanium travertine, statuary marble, limestone, and walnut flooring. The higher-end units feature 16-foot-tall living areas. The complex also boasts water-wise landscaping by Meléndrez, including a two-acre private park that faces south and is lined with 12-foot-tall privacy hedges.
As these projects fill up with new tenants, eyes across the region will be turned toward how the completed towers interact with their surroundings and whether they facilitate pedestrian-oriented lifestyles. A big question moving forward will be whether developers and city agencies can forego their penchant for oversized parking podiums and whether, when faced with fewer budgetary and entitlement restrictions, architects and developers will begin to truly work toward a locally derived variant of the luxury tower typology.
Placeholder Alt Text

Gensler designs affordable housing TOD for Chicago’s South Side

While transit-oriented developments (TOD) have become ever more popular on the near Northwest side of Chicago, the latest such project is on the complete other side of town, and it offers something the others don’t. The Woodlawn Station development will be located at the 63rd and South Cottage Grove station of the CTA L Green Line, and will include 70 units of mixed-income housing, in three buildings. The main building of the development will have 55 market-rate and affordable housing units. The four-story building was designed by Gensler with Chicago-based Nia Architects as the architect of record. The base will include 15,000-square-feet of retail and commercial space, and other amenities include a rooftop deck, a play garden, and community room. As a transit-oriented development, it will have limited car parking, and extra bike storage space. A digital transit info screen will let residents know when trains are approaching, as they will only have a few steps to take to get to the station. The importance of the Woodlawn Station project is in the role it will play in the quickly revitalizing neighborhood. Earlier this year it was reported that, for the first time in 50 years, Woodlawn had seen an increase in population while simultaneously a decrease in crime. A great deal of emphasis is being put on the neighborhood by the city, as it will also soon be home to the Tod Williams Billy Tsien-Designed Obama Presidential Center. In recent years, other projects, from the Woodlawn Resource Center to University of Chicago student housing, have all added to the improvement of the neighborhood. The developers of the project, Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. (POAH), specifically focus on developing affordable housing. Along with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); City of Chicago; Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); JP Morgan Chase; BMO Harris Bank; and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) the project is an example of how multi-layered public/private financing is often used to build affordable housing in Chicago. Yet local officials are quick to point out that federal funding may soon be a smaller part of the equation. "The developers of this project were able to leverage more than $400 million in additional investments from the private sector after receiving $30 million in federal funding from the Choice Neighborhood Grant Fund—a HUD program that would be eliminated in President Trump’s budget blueprint," ‎said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) at the project's groundbreaking. "Programs designed to help revitalize struggling communities are smart investments that yield great benefits for the neighborhood and nation alike. They should receive more federal investment, not less.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Herzog & de Meuron unveils 58-story tower along future L.A. light rail line

  Irvine, California-based developer SunCal has released details for a Herzog & de Meuron-designed, $2 billion development plan that aims to jumpstart the creation of a new skyscraper district on a 14.5-acre site at the southern edge of Downtown Los Angeles. The project, dubbed 6AM after its location on 6th Street, between Alameda and Mill Streets, would bring roughly 2.8-million square feet of mixed-use development to rapidly growing corner of L.A.’s booming Arts District. According to The Downtown News and Urbanize LA, the proposed development would entail 1,305 apartments and 431 condominiums in an area rapidly transitioning from low-rise industrial and DIY art gallery functions to something much more akin to a traditionally-developed, contemporary urban area. The project, which would be located directly on a proposed light rail extension running along Alameda from Union Station in Downtown L.A. to the south Los Angeles County community of Artesia, would mirror the intense, high-rise growth currently ongoing in the areas surrounding Downtown L.A’s rapidly-growing transit system, like those along the Expo Line corridor and on the northern edge of South L.A. between the Expo and Blue Lines. The development of the Artesia line would be contingent on the passage of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Agency's Measure M ballot initiative this fall. Notable aspects of the project include a 430,000-square-foot hotel, 250,000 square feet of office space, a 29,000-square-foot school, 23,000 square feet of gallery space and 128,000 square feet of commercial space. Although the final configuration of the program and site are years away from being built, the addition of the educational and gallery components of the program mark a shift in tenor for the Downtown area, which has mostly seen an increase of luxury housing and associated commercial spaces in recent years. The addition of educational program could signal a transition toward a more holistic, neighborhood-style vision for the area separate from the consumption- and lifestyle-oriented developments that have marked Downtown L.A.’s recent development. Released information for the plan does not detail whether any of the housing units in the development will be affordable, however. The project itself is articulated as a grouping of parallel bars of mid-rise apartments, offices, and hotel blocks, much of which is lifted roughly forty feet above street level on a raised platform whose upper surface will be level with the cornice lines of nearby industrial buildings. Areas between the ground floor and this pedestal will contain commercial spaces services by exterior walking paths and leisure courts. The most daring aspect of the proposal entails a cluster of seven housing towers aligned along the length of Alameda, with the highest tower climbing to around 58-stories and a height of roughly 700 feet. Mia Lehrer & Associates will be providing landscape architecture services for the project, while AC Martin will serve as executive architect. 6AM is expected to be built in three phases starting around 2018. This story was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Placeholder Alt Text

L.A.’s expanding menu of transit options is challenging the city’s auto-urbanism

Los Angeles’s newly completed Expo Line extension creates the first rail connection between Downtown and the Pacific coast in almost 60 years. An east-west route linking residential and employment centers at either end, the line represents an opportunity to change the characteristically low-rise region by enabling a 15.2-mile-long spine of mixed-use development. In the four years since the first spur of the Expo opened, developers have begun to wake to the untapped market for transit-oriented development along the corridor, signaling a shift not only in the ways in which Angelenos get to and from work, but where and how they live their lives beyond business hours. Now that the line has been completed, development along the western length of the corridor has sped up. Because of the transit-oriented nature of Expo-adjacent sites, designers must juggle multiple urban considerations such as density, parking, and pedestrian access. The following projects, all still under design and permitting, emphasize mixed-use configurations, offer an array of unit types, including affordable apartments, and are connected by generous, public open spaces.

Our trip down the Expo begins in Culver City, the former terminus of the line, where developers Lowe Enterprises, AECOM, and Cunningham Group have designed the 5.2-acre Ivy Station complex. The new development will sit on a current park-and-ride lot for the Expo Line and contain 200 apartments, a 150-room hotel, 200,000 square feet of offices, 75,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, and 1,600 parking spaces, with 300 spots reserved for transit riders. The wedge-shaped site offers an office complex designed by Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects, who also serve as architects of record for that portion of the project, and a retail block along Venice Boulevard, with a multiarmed courtyard apartment complex sandwiched between it and the hotel at the eastern end of the site.

Since completion of the master plan by Cunningham Group, Killefer Flammang Architects has taken over the project’s design documentation through the development’s completion. Landscape architects Melendrez also provided site and landscape design services for the project.

On its southwest corner, the site hosts a transit stop as well as a paseo bounded along its perimeter by porous ground floor connections, including colonnades and heroic staircases. The buildings have stepped and sharply angled facades, with each of the glazed office and retail floors bound by terraces. Meanwhile, the apartments and hotel are clad in modular metal sheathing articulated as coursed masonry or geometric panels, for the apartments and hotel, respectively. Renderings showcase red floor plates and structural walls in the office and retail areas with carved out loggia and projecting balconies along the facades of the apartment blocks.

The 4.76-acre Martin Expo Town Center development at the Bundy Station further west is located on the current site of the Martin Automotive Group’s Cadillac dealership. Gensler, with landscape design by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, designed a terraced, 10-story, 160-foot tower containing 200,000 square feet of creative office spaces at the corner of the site, jaggedly staggering back and forth across its height, creating variable outdoor spaces accessible from the offices within. A mid-block paseo below is flanked by 99,000 square feet of commercial space, including a proposed 50,000-square-foot grocery store. The site’s 516 mixed-income residences are organized in a similarly terraced, seven-story perimeter block formation, with residences directly overlooking either the paseo or an interior courtyard. The complex will feature 192 studio, 181 one-bedroom, 137 two-bedroom, and six three-bedroom units. Of the total, 20 percent of residences will be affordable, with three-fourths of those affordable units operating as workforce housing and the remainder consisting of “very low income” units. “We wanted to design this project as a model transit development for L.A. by combining two things that have historically been perceived to be incompatible [here]: desirability and density,” Gensler’s design director for the project, Tom Perkins, said. “We are planning for multimodal access—including bus, metro, automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian—in order to connect with the neighborhood and create an active outdoor environment surrounded by new retail, residential, and office uses that attract local residents, office workers, and transit users.” As a part of this multimodal effort, the complex features parking stalls that are “decoupled” from the apartment units, allowing apartment dwellers to opt into renting a parking spot if they own an automobile while opening more parking spots for transit users. At the western terminus of the Expo Line in Santa Monica, two notable projects apiece by Koning Eizenberg Architects and Michael W. Folonis Architects aim to bring a variety of multifamily configurations to the coast. Koning Eizenberg Architects’ 84-foot-talldevelopment, 500 Broadway, features 249 market-rate residences and is organized as a bundled quartet of buildings connected by 35,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. The building features generously fenestrated and bifurcated facades, with louvered siding and simple, stucco walls alternating along courtyard faces. An unzipped, rumpled facade made up of extruded floor plates, canted walls, and corner windows marks the project’s northwest-facing front along Broadway. The development is notable for its commitment to exceeding the city’s affordable housing requirements, providing 64 deed-restricted affordable units around the corner at 1626 Lincoln Boulevard. This five-story structure will rent entirely to households earning 30 to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). Owners of the complex preferred an off-site location for affordable units to better provide support services for residents, like after-school tutoring and healthcare. Also, the off-site location allows for more affordable units to be built overall, since integrating as many affordable units within a market-rate complex would have been impeded by height limitations imposed on 500 Broadway’s site. 1626 Lincoln consists of 17 three-bedroom apartments, 18 two-bedroom apartments, and 29 one-bedroom apartments, and features simply rendered massing that incorporates a mix of punched windows and doors across expanses of stucco walls with storefront glazing along the ground floor. Michael W. Folonis Architects (MWFA) is working on two mixed-income projects that also push the envelope in terms of urban program and form. MWFA’s Lincoln Collection, a 90-unit, mixed-income complex featuring 13,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, is organized as a tight mass of apartment blocks connected by exterior circulation. The complex will have 18 affordable units, half of which will be set aside for households making 80 percent or less of the regional AMI, while the remaining nine affordable units are for those earning less than 50 percent of the AMI. The building’s white stucco facade is chopped up by inset, and sometimes interlocking, balconies. Walls along recessed areas are clad in blond wood or glass, as is the ceiling of a triple-height corner loggia space supported by a massive Y-column. The apartments themselves are organized around a central courtyard with a swimming pool and other leisure areas. This balcony-lined courtyard allows the building to utilize natural ventilation for individual units, while also providing an interior urban condition that is uncommon for L.A.

This “rear window” quality is better exhibited in MWFA’s 1415 5th Street project, an 84-foot tall mixed-use block that experiments with the city’s setback requirements by utilizing a mid-building doughnut hole to maintain a monolithic cornice line. MWFA’s stocky and pixelated apartment is carved into

by the designers, who, by removing more building mass than typical step-backs require, have arrived at a provocative method for embedding traditionally urban frontage in a community where development is highly contentious. “We thought we were going to have a huge fight on our hands,but [city officials] were very enthusiastic about it and encouraged us,” Folonis said. The project contains 64 units, 13 of which are affordable, and includes a mix of unit types that look out onto the complexly articulated, carved-out courtyard. These projects are among the first to make their way through planning and permitting phases since the Expo opened. Though with early ridership estimates already surpassing projections, it is likely that L.A.’s new transit corridor will soon be home to many more residents and workers.
Placeholder Alt Text

New study: trail-oriented development improves public health and property values

We all know there's value in transit-oriented-development, but what about trail-oriented development? The nonprofit Urban Land Institute (ULI) released a study that examines how active transportation—biking and walking infrastructure—can work in urban planning, development, and land-use projects. The report highlights ten case studies (a blend of mixed-use, multi-family, and residential projects) in cities across the the world, from Des Moines, Iowa, to Singapore. European cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam have some of the highest percentages of people who commute by bike. Therefore, they've long factored this type of design into their urban development. In the U.S., cities like New York, Seattle, Portland, and Washington D.C. are investing in bike lanes. What happens when officials, urban planners, and developers, and other professionals involved in the built environment put a premium on safe sidewalks, cycle paths, the pedestrian, and the cyclist? Trail-oriented development can create major savings in health costs. “In terms of health and wellness benefits, the report points to savings of $103 million (US dollars) in Sydney due to the increase in bike trips and reduced traffic congestion,” writes the ULI in a release. “Also, in Philadelphia, a 2011 study found that residents’ use of biking trail system avoids $199 million per year in direct medical costs and $596 million in indirect costs.” The ULI report looks at global active transportation infrastructure from multiple perspectives: highways for bicycles in Copenhagen, bike sharing in Paris and China, and The Circuit Trails bike paths in Philadelphia. Real estate also figures prominently in the report. In addition to supporting health and wellness, urban and suburban trail systems help spur real estate development and increase property values. You can read the full report here.
Placeholder Alt Text

Contrary to popular belief, the sacred “T” in TOD may not be necessary for reduced car dependence

Urban planning credo states that, through design and policy interventions that improve access to public transportation, Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) reduces car dependency and encourages individuals to walk, bike, bus, or take the train to their destination. Well, maybe. A University of California, Berkley study suggest that, for rail, the T in TOD may not be necessary to reduce car travel in neighborhoods that are dense and walkable, with scarce parking. fig1 In a study of rail transit's impact on travel patterns, Daniel Chatman, associate professor in the Department of City & Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, challenged the assumption that easy access to rail leads to less reliance on cars (and subsequently lower rates of car ownership). Were there other factors at play, like narrower streets, good parking, wider sidewalks, and nearby destinations? Chatman received over 1,100 responses to a survey he sent to households living within a two-mile radius of ten New Jersey train stations, within commuting distance to Manhattan. Chatman asked residents about what type of house they lived in, on- and off-street parking availability, travel for work and leisure, residential location preferences, and household demographics. 30 percent of respondents lived in housing that was less than seven years old. Half lived within walking distance (0.4 miles) to rail, in TOD-designated and non-designated developments. Controlling for housing type, bus access, amount of parking, and population density, among other markers, the availability of on- and off-street parking, not rail access, was the key determinate in auto ownership and car dependence. The study asserts that "households with fewer than one off-street parking space per adult had 0.16 fewer vehicles per adult. Households with both low on- and off-street parking availability had 0.29 fewer vehicles per adult." Living in a new house near a train station, moreover, was correlated with a 27 percent lower rate of car ownership compared to residents further afield. Bus access was also key in determining car use. The number of bus stops within one mile of a residence is a good indicator of public transit accessibility, and there are usually more bus stops in denser areas. The study found that "doubling the number of bus stops within a mile radius around the average home was associated with 0.08 fewer vehicles per adult." Compared to areas with poor bus access and plentiful parking, car ownership was reduced by 44 percent when strong bus access converged with poor parking availability. To reduce car ownership and use, municipalities don't necessarily have to invest in rail. Reducing the availability of parking, providing better bus service, developing smaller houses (and more rentals), and creating employment centers in walkable, densely populated downtowns may accomplish the same objective, at considerably less expense.
Placeholder Alt Text

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel floats ordinance to fast-track transit-oriented development, reduce parking minimums

This week Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will push a plan to expand transit-oriented development (TOD) by easing zoning restrictions and releasing certain projects from parking requirements altogether. The city already has an ordinance providing for transit-oriented development and, as AN has previously reported, several projects have rushed to take advantage of it. Mixed-use developments with dozens of new housing units have slashed their parking lots, avoiding a longstanding code requirement that they provide one spot for every unit by building near transit stations. Chicago's Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) gave the proposed changes a favorable preliminary analysis, building off its own “TOD calculator” which the agency released recently in order to spur private developers into building on dozens of properties it labeled “ready for TOD.” Emanuel's new ordinance would give developers of such projects more opportunities to reduce their investment in parking. Here are the changes City Council members will vote on Wednesday, according to the mayor's press office:
• TOD incentives will be available within an expanded radius from a transit station: up to 1,320 feet (1/4 mile) or 2,640 feet (1/2 mile) on a Pedestrian-designated street. • A 100 percent reduction from residential parking requirements if replaced with alternative transportation options, such as a car sharing station on site, or bike parking. • A streamlined process for accessing the minimum lot area, floor area ratio (FAR), and building height incentives by allowing developers to secure these benefits through an Administrative Adjustment from the Zoning Administrator, as opposed to a zoning map amendment by City Council under current law. • For projects that trigger the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO), an additional 0.25 FAR increase (to 3.75) if the development includes half of any required affordable housing units on site, plus an additional 0.25 FAR increase (to 4.0) if the development includes all required affordable housing units on site.
(Metropolitan Planning Council) image-full
Placeholder Alt Text

Development ramps up in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, provokes class tensions

Bigger developments are targeting Logan Square lately, sparking local debates about what direction is best for the majority Latino neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side. Over at Curbed Chicago, Logan Square resident AJ LaTrace has been hitting the hyperlocal beat hard. Lately he scooped renderings from the online forum Skyscraper page that were later confirmed to be proposals for the redevelopment of the Discount Mega Mall on Milwaukee Avenue into a glassy 2.55-acre shopping center. As Curbed reported, Cushman & Wakefield have previously listed the property on their website, but now developers Terraco are apparently eyeing the 130,680-square-foot space, formerly home to a year-round flea market and two small surface parking lots. The new development is dubbed "Logan's Crossing," according to Curbed, and documents from Terraco and Sierra U.S. Commercial Real Estate advertise it as being "In Chicago's Hottest Neighborhood." That boast is no surprise to those who have followed the accelerating pace of new developments in the neighborhood lately. But some neighbors are wary of that trend. We reported in the August issue of AN’s Midwest Edition that plans for an urban orchard and new public plaza are moving forward after years of delays. Other developments include new condos that are under construction a few blocks south, and plans to revamp the park around the Illinois Centennial Monument—the neighborhood’s focal point, which links Logan and Kedzie Boulevards. Two projects under the city’s new transit-oriented development ordinance (also covered in our August issue) are meeting resistance from some neighborhood residents, who argue the new towers are out of scale with two- and three-story buildings nearby. Those projects include a nascent proposal for an empty lot near the California Blue Line stop from the team that built 1611 W. Division—a low-parking apartment tower in West Town designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects—and a Brininstool+Lynch project just north of the vacant Congress Theater. Both projects are several stories above the current neighborhood scale, but supporters have argued increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic along Milwaukee Avenue merit upzoning. Neighbors are not just concerned about height issues, however. Though still predominantly Latino, the area’s white population has grown in recent years, enflaming tensions over gentrification and soaring rents that are familiar to residents of neighboring Wicker Park and Humboldt Park. Anxieties about the neighborhood's quickly changing character came to a head over the Milshire Hotel, a local SRO residence that was facing closure earlier this year. A city-wide moratorium on shutting down or demolishing SROs saved the building, some of whose residents may have gone homeless if it had been suddenly shuttered.
Placeholder Alt Text

Unveiled> bKL Architecture cooks up a replacement for Chicago’s Howard Johnson Motel

bKL Architecture is going as bullish as any Chicago-based firm in this start-and-stop economy, embarking on big commissions in Beijing and Toronto while committing to more and more work at home. The firm bunks with Magellan Development in ground floor offices at Aqua Tower and has partnered with the Lakeshore East progenitor on a number of buildings including two phases of the new GEMS Academy private school. And now that kinship is extending into River North. Fresh off the drafting table is a 38-story rental tower slated for 720 North LaSalle Street (at Superior) on the present site of a Howard Johnson Inn, one of downtown Chicago’s last remaining suburban-style motels—and a relic of affordability. From a distance, the tower’s sharply defined levels appear as slat balconies in the mode of Coast tower. They aren’t balconies, but rather tan brick delineations. Balconies are present, though, as unevenly spaced insets with belly-height glass rails. “Context was very important [in the design process],” said bKL principal Thomas Kerwin. “River North is rooted in masonry and we looked into the idea of doing something sympathetic to that.” Indeed, there’s quite a colorful mix of masonry in the neighborhood, and so bKL chose three brick tones to work with—mostly lighter brick grounded by darker lines. The brickwork helps to accentuate the tower’s gridlines, which “breaks down and becomes more porous” as one moves from the Wells (west) facade toward LaSalle. The east facade is far glassier than any other, noted Kerwin, in order to maximize lake and skyline views. Parking is fairly minimal for a 298-unit luxury apartment building, with just 118 garage spaces. This is elective—the parcel falls just outside the range of Chicago’s new transit-oriented development ordinance, which permits a halving of off-street parking requirements for new residential developments within 600 feet of a rail station (1200 feet on designated ‘pedestrian streets’). The Chicago Ave Brown Line is a hair too far. Allotted bicycle parking, meanwhile, is nearly twice car parking. That might be a first for the Windy City. Buffering the public from one-and-a-half levels of parking is a band of units that “wrap the perimeter of the podium, creating a zone of actively used space,” according to bKL’s official project description. Retail will also help cloak the podium’s most obvious function, with scattered frontage on LaSalle and Superior. Compare this to Hubbard Place a few blocks away, where developers are trying to disguise a conspicuously huge parking garage with a gaudy paint job. The amenity package is astonishing, even by today’s heightened luxury standards. An 80-foot deep public park will introduce the tower at Wells and Superior, with a dog run and yet-to-be finalized landscape concept. Residents get a podium-top pool and sun deck all to themselves. Apartment layouts are “unique” and “on the smaller side”, said Kerwin, stressing the developer’s desire to balance quality and a modicum of affordability. The vast majority of the units will be studios, convertibles, and one-bedrooms, with a smattering of two-bedroom units. Next up, the project must meet the public at a series of forums, starting with a 42nd Ward development meeting at 6 p.m. on May 19, at Gino’s East, 633 North Wells Street. And, of course, final purchase of the Howard Johnson Inn parcel.
Placeholder Alt Text

Chicago’s ‘Green Healthy Neighborhoods’ plan moves forward

Chicago’s plan to revitalize troubled South Side neighborhoods with green infrastructure, urban farming and transit-friendly development is moving ahead. The city’s Plan Commission heard a presentation last week on the Green Healthy Neighborhoods program, which in 2011 announced its attention to lure investment to the Englewood, Woodlawn and Washington Park neighborhoods (read AN’s coverage here). While the urban agriculture component initially grabbed headlines—renderings show an old rail line repurposed as the “New Era Trail,” which would link urban farms and community gardens with a park-like promenade—the wide-ranging proposals also include developing retail clusters around transit nodes and street improvements for bikers and pedestrians. Funding is still up in the air, but the project will seek financing through the department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Initiative. You can see the full plan here.
Placeholder Alt Text

TransformKC Celebrates Public Transit with International Exhibition

TransformKC is underway in Kansas City, and the dozens of projects on display are provoking discussion on topics from public transit to energy infrastructure. A joint effort between the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance (KCRTA) and the American Institute of Architects Kansas City (AIA KC) Young Architects Forum (YAF), TransformKC curated built and unbuilt work around the topic of “regional mobility” in an attempt to “inspire the public’s imagination.” Explore all of the submissions here. Categories include architecture, infrastructure, planning, transit stations and urban design. The exhibition is on display in the East Hall of Kansas City, Missouri’s Union Station through October 25. Some work is local, like BNIM’s Better Block KC. Part of the 2011 Grand Boulevard Streetscape Plan, Better Block KC “envisions a safe, livable and walkable downtown” that uses complete street concepts. Disclosure: The Architect’s Newspaper is a media sponsor, and AN contributor Gunnar Hand served as the exhibition’s co-chair. Here are a few of the high-profile projects from outside Kansas City: BIG: Loop City Bjarke Ingels Group looks to a new light rail loop connecting 20 development zones around the 4-square-mile inner city of Copenhagen. They propose tying energy and water infrastructure into the rail line, creating “an artery of true urbanity pumping life into the heart of the suburbs.” KPF: Hudson Yards See AN's coverage of Kohn Pedersen Fox’s Hudson Yards towers here. SOM: Denver Union Station Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's plan calls for turning the historic Denver station into a multi-modal transportation network. John Gendall looked into the project for AN's feature on master planning.
Placeholder Alt Text

St. Louis Plan Calls for Form-Based Code to Push Transit-Oriented Development

stl-tod-01 For nextSTL, Richard Bose takes a close look at what's next for St. Louis' transit-oriented neighborhood. The Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood and the area near the Delmar and Forest Park MetroLink stations (both Red and Blue lines) have six bus routes. They’re near the forthcoming Loop Trolley line. A Department of Housing and Urban Development–funded sustainability plan, called OneSTL is examining opportunities for transit-oriented development near MetroLink stops. stl-tod-05 AN surveyed transit-spurred development around the Midwest in our August issue, focusing on St. Louis’ Delmar Loop Trolley. “Developers really trust the fixed-track nature of this kind of public transit,” area entrepreneur Joe Edwards told Ian Fullerton. “It’s happening in cities around the country—it’s not unique to St. Louis, but it’s time that we bring it back.” Led by H3 Studio, St. Louis’ plans for the Skinker-DeBaliviere area include streetscape improvements, parking and development to varying degrees (see nextSTL for more), but critically they call for a form-based code for the area’s buildings. Eliminating parking minimums and rolling back regulations that make transit-oriented development more difficult, the plan would make the Central West End the first area in the city to implement such a code.