Despite NYC's recent bout with nature, Mayor Bloomberg is undeterred from developing housing along NYC's long stretch of waterfront, taking into account that proper measures are taken for storm and flooding mitigation. The latest in large scale developments comes to Hunter's Point South in the neighborhood of Long Island City in Queens. The first of such a scale since the 1970s development of Co-Op City in the Bronx, plans will include two phases of design and construction. The first phase, designed by SHoP Architects with Ismael Leyva Architects will bring two residential towers with 925 permanently affordable apartments, 17,000 square feet of retail space, infrastructural installations, a five-acre waterfront park, and a 1,100-seat school.
Join us after the break for more on this large scale development in Long Island City.
Over the past two decades, high rise towers have been accumulating on the Queens shore of the East River, South of the Queensborough Bridge. Long Island City, the westernmost neighborhood of Queens, bound by the East River to the West, New Calvary Cemetery to the East, Astoria to the North and Newtown Creek to the South - has had numerous transformations in its development.
The western stretch of the neighborhood, along the main thoroughfare of Vernon Boulevard, includes a slew of manufacturing and industrial buildings - some having closed down, others still operating. Gantry State Park, a 10-acre waterfront park that opened in 1998, is a testament to the history of the neighborhood. Two long-disused gantries feature prominently in their original positions facing Midtown Manhattan. They served to unload boat shipments that came into New York Harbor along the East River and transferred them to the Long Island Rail Road that ran through what is now Hunter's Point Park.
Closer to the Pulaski Bridge that connects Greenpoint, Brooklyn and LIC, Queens is a large development of commercial and business buildings that feature prominently over the skyline, the most notable of which is SOM's CitiGroup Tower, opened in 1990. It spearheaded the redevelopment of LIC as an extension of Midtown Manhattan just across the river. The waterfront was redeveloped for recreational uses, and luxury residential towers began to spring up over the East River, capturing sweeping views of Manhattan. A large art culture took root with venues like the outdoor Socrates Sculpture Garden, MoMA's P.S.1 and numerous other galleries dotting central parts of Long Island City.
The new development that broke ground last week is an opportunity to bring middle-income families into the growing neighborhood, bringing economic diversity into the area. At the ground-breaking, Mayor Bloomberg said, "In just a few years, Hunter's Point South will have all the makings of a great community - affordable homes, new transportation links, beautiful parks with sweeping views, and a brand-new school." The two 30-story towers will be expected to achieve a LEED Silver Rating and comply with affordable housing energy criteria, the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. The buildings will feature a variety of amenities including public terraces, a fitness centers, children's playroom, bike storage and party rooms, and a community garden.
The affects of Hurricane Sandy inspired the architects to redesign some components of the original plans which included relocated mechanical systems, choosing natural gas to power boilers, installing a back-up generator on the roof, designing exterior ground level doors to receive flood gates, and including a concrete base up to the flood plan elevation at the building frontage to act as a flood wall.
"Today's announcement marks a critical step forward in the transformation of this underutilized area into a vibrant waterfront neighborhood for middle-class New York families, featuring open space, a new school, and accessible public transportation," said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. "Thanks to the City's investment in innovative infrastructure as a key component of this project, the site withstood the effects of Hurricane Sandy largely unscathed, making Hunter's Point South an international model for resilient waterfront development."
NYC's industrial waterfront areas are receiving a lot of attention lately. Check out this other development project by ShOp Architects at the long-defunct Domino Sugar Factory in Willliamsburg, Brooklyn just a few miles south along the East River.