The New York City Council approved plans yesterday for the 630-foot New York Wheel and Empire Outlets mall after an undisclosed agreement hashed out by the developer of the mall and the Building and Construction Trades Council earlier this week. Read More
The Howard Hughes Corporation launched the redevelopment of the South Street Seaport today with a groundbreaking ceremony for the Pier 17 building.
The $200 million project will yield 365,000 square feet of retail space — a mix of shops, dining and entertainment options — highlighted by a one and a half-acre rooftop and what the developer said will be a world-class Read More
Planes Trains & Automobiles
Nassau Events Center LLC, an affiliate of Forest City Enterprises, has been awarded the rights to develop the site of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, County Executive Edward Mangano announced today. The Forest City bid beat out a rival effort from the Madison Square Garden Company.
“I am pleased to announce that Nassau Events Center, LLC is the successful proposer to transform the 43-year old Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Plaza into an attractive, first class destination for family fun, sports and entertainment,” Mr. Mangano said in a prepared statement. “This is also the unanimous recommendation of the County’s RFP Committee.”
Planes Trains & Automobiles
Descending into Penn Station, it’s not hard to see why New York City’s civic fathers are so embarrassed by the nation’s busiest train station. The station sits bracketed by the Garment District and Chelsea, in the cheapest corner of Midtown, more than half a mile from the gleaming skyscrapers with triple-digit annual per-square-foot rents. The Read More
Earlier this month, the Municipal Art Society announced a “provocation” for Penn Station, challenging four architecture firms—Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SHoP Architects, SOM and Santiago Calatrava—to rethink the city’s most hated transit hub. The selection of Mr. Calatrava’s firm as a participant, shall we say, provoked some controversy, with blogger Ben Kabak at Second Avenue Sagas telling The Observer, “Even involving Calatrava underscores the utter contempt for transit improvements that some of the city’s leading institutions have.” At over $3.7 billion, the PATH terminal that Mr. Calatrava designed for the World Trade Center site will be far and away the most expensive subway station in world history.
So Mr. Kabak should be pleased to learn that Mr. Calatrava’s firm is not, in fact, participating in the effort. Santiago Calatrava’s firm sent the following statement to The Observer via email this afternoon:
Best Laid Plans
Bruce Ratner did not win out with the tax man this week, but he has secured an even bigger deal with another New York City institution that will be a linchpin for his Atlantic Yards project. Today, Forest City Ratner announced it is going forward with its long-planned intentions to build a modular apartment tower as part of the 22-acre arena-anchored mega-development. The project is made possible in large part through an agreement with the city’s labor unions to allow the 32-story prefab apartment building to proceed.
Modular construction has long been a dream of architects, for its efficiency and control, and now it could be a boon for New York City developers as well, since prefab methods can save 20 to 30 percent from traditional design methods. The only issue is for construction workers. Because the projects are built in factories, even when using union labor, the jobs tend to be less skilled and thus lower paying. Many labor unions had bridled at this, especially since Mr. Ratner had made extensive promises about the well-paying jobs Atlantic Yards would provide. But today the Building and Construction Trades Council announced its support for the development, saying that the prefab builders will get their own division within the labor group.
An Arena Grows in Brooklyn
In this week’s Observer, we take a look at two proposals to widen the Park Avenue median and turn it into a pedestrian promenade. One is from SHoP Architects, one SOM, both presented at last month’s MAS Summit. Part High Line, part art walk, the hope is it would create an entirely new destination on the East Side of Manhattan, providing much needed open space along the way. Take a stroll for yourself and decide.
Forest City’s Ratner’s Mary Anne Gilmartin praises “the democratic feel” during a recent tour of the nearly complete Barclay’s Center with Curbed, while SHoP’s Chris Sharples waxes about the urban appeal of the place. “Everyone is going to be able to feel the energy” from the cafe overlooking the arena floor. It is certainly a dynamic place, a great space to take in a show—it’s already been a circus for years—but democratic? When it took eminent domain to put this together? Not the first time we’ve heard such claims this week.
That’s what Gregg Pasquarelli, the SHoP principal told us last night, at a party on the pier, part ribbon cutting (even though the thing opened last fall) part book launch (even though that came out three months ago). Really, this is one of the hottest firms in town, so whenever an opportunity presents itself to drink and party, it is taken.
As The Observer was leaving, Mr. Pasquarelli grabbed our arm and pointed out to the FDR, the underside of which glowed a faint purple.
“You’ve got to take your wife out there, I promise she’s going to kiss you,” he said. “It happens to everyone.”
Yesterday, The Journal (rightly) complained the lack of progress at two major affordable housing projects, Hudson Yards and Willets Point. This got The Observer wondering about another, though: whatever happened to Hunters Point South, which was approved the same day almost four years ago as the Willets Point project.
Things are moving along quite nicely, it turns out.
It may seem as though there has been limited tangible progress since Related Companies was tapped to develop the project in February of last year, but that is because most of the work is being done below the surface—with on the banks of the East River and the banks of housing finance.