In Mayor Bill de Blasio’s State of the City speech given last Thursday, a significant mixed-use development initiative was proposed that would transform Governors Island, which measures 172 acres in the Upper Bay just off the southern tip of Manhattan, into a year-round community. According to Politico New York, the car-free island has 900,000 square feet of development potential on 33 acres, and the mayor is seeking to utilize it to build cultural, educational, and commercial properties. The project will be handed over to the Trust For Governors Island and a Request for Proposals (RFP) should be launched later this year. Construction could begin as soon as 2019, although the Hills, a 10-acre man-made park designed by West 8, is slated to open this summer. The National Park Service oversees two 19th century forts (22 acres) on the island and roughly 92 acres on the historic northern end is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
The newly redesigned and constructed 215th Street staircase in Inwood – which connects pedestrians at Park Terrace East to Broadway and West 215th Street, sitting 50 feet below – is expected to open today after two years of construction. According to Curbed NY, WXY Studios designed the staircase, which is essentially being treated like public park space. The passageway features new vegetation, cobblestone paths, new stairs, and a bike channel. Two lampposts from the original staircase, built in 1911, were incorporated into the renovations since they’re designated city landmarks. The city’s Department of Design and Construction was behind the project.
The $34 million renovation and redesign of Fordham Plaza – bound by East 189th Street and East Fordham Road, and Park Avenue and Firefighters Boulevard in the West Bronx – has recently been completed, according to the Architect’s Newspaper. The plaza was designed by Grimshaw Architects and features a café, market canopies, public toilets, vegetation, and seating. It also serves 12 bus lines and is directly above the Fordham station on the Metro-North Railroad. The initiative behind the project was to reduce traffic accidents and to create a more pedestrian-friendly experience. The city’s Department of Design and Construction and Department of Transportation were behind the project.
During Hurricane Sandy, apartments at Redfern Houses – a nine-building, 604-unit housing development at 1456 Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway – were flooded and then left without power for weeks. The complex’s daycare was also destroyed, but the city’s Housing Authority looks to be making upgrades to its infrastructure in addition to building a new daycare center. The city filed permits to construct four single-story electrical power service buildings on the property, each of which would measure between 800 and 1,216 square feet in size. At 1490 Beach Channel Drive, a two-story, 14,295 square-foot community center was filed. That building would include a daycare center, offices, and storage on the ground floor and community space on the second floor. Michael Szerbaty’s MD Szerbaty Associates is the applicant of record.
YIMBY last reported on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub last July, when the ribbed structure’s exoskeleton was complete, the glass skylight was going in, and interior work was the focus. Now, the transit center, dubbed the Oculus, is expected to officially open in early March, Curbed NY reports. The $3.9 billion creation was designed by Santiago Calatrava and will serve as the terminus for World Trade Center-bound PATH trains, and connection points for the A, C, E, J, Z, R, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 subway lines, multiple MTA buses, and ferry service. In addition, 365,000 square feet of retail space, managed by Westfield Corp., is in the works within the transit hub alone.
The city is moving forward with plans to seize multiple Coney Island waterfront properties along the amusement park’s Boardwalk, New York Post reports. The properties will total 75,000 square feet. 60,000 square feet of vacant land will be acquired between West 15th and 16th streets, where the old Thunderbolt roller coaster once stood, another vacant tract of land between West 22nd and 23rd streets will change hands, and, finally, a 9,000-square-foot amusement shop at West 12th Street is targeted. The Parks Department will build a long-planned esplanade connecting the park’s existing attractions at the Thunderbolt site, in addition to building new attractions. In the process, infrastructure work will occur in order for mixed-use developments to rise within the surrounding neighborhood. The eminent domain actions are expected to take a year.